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Horizons of Psychology :: Psihološka obzorja

Scientific and Professional Psychological Journal of the Slovenian Psychologists' Association

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Why Plato needs psychology. Proposal for a theoretical framework underpinning research on the cognitive transfer effects of studying classical languages

Alexandra Vereeck, Mark Janse, Katja De Herdt, Arnaud Szmalec, Cathy Hauspie & Wouter Duyck

pdf Full text (pdf)  |  Views: 58  |  flagWritten in English.  |  Published: December 3, 2023

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Abstract: Psychology is one of the seven hub sciences, which involves great responsibility for psychologists but also great opportunities for both psychologists and other scholars; that was the theme of the 17th European Congress of Psychology organized by the Slovenian Psychologists’ Association. This article contains a detailed example of how psychology functions as a hub science today. The research topic finds its origin in the seemingly unrelated discipline of classics. Latin and Ancient Greek have been taught in Europe for centuries, and even today there are many pupils in secondary education who study them. This custom does not go uncriticized, as the classical languages are often perceived as irrelevant in the modern world. Classicists have therefore been forced, and continue to be forced, to defend the very existence of their discipline. One of the arguments they have adduced, is that the study of classical languages has a beneficial impact on pupils’ linguistic and general cognitive abilities. This claim is closely related to the general issue of transfer of learning which has long preoccupied philosophers and psychologists. The only way to verify such a claim, is to resort to a psychological approach. This article presents the first fully elaborated theoretical framework for the cognitive impact of classical language education, which paves the way for sound and rigorous research on this topic. The framework starts from cognitive transfer as a central construct and goes on to combine insights from various psychological and non-psychological literatures. As such, a fruitful interaction comes about: Not only does psychology contribute to classical language impact research, the latter will also enrich cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics by broaching new terrain.

Keywords: hub science, cognitive transfer, transfer of learning, classical language education

Vereeck, A., Janse, M., De Herdt, K., Szmalec, A., Hauspie, C., & Duyck, W. (2023). Why Plato needs psychology. Proposal for a theoretical framework underpinning research on the cognitive transfer effects of studying classical languages. Psihološka obzorja, 121–130.

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