chapter  9
Representational Competence: Another Type?
ByIrving Sigel
Pages 20

The purpose of this chapter is to focus attention on what is termed representational competence and to argue that such competence is necessary, but not sufficient, for effective cognitive functioning . To foreshadow the discussion, I provide a brief definition of representational competence. It refers to the understanding and utilization of a fundamental rule to the effect that knowledge presented in various forms (e.g., pictures, words, signs) still retains its intrinsic meaning in spite of variations in form of presentation . For example a cup, whether presented in pictorial form or as a three-dimensional item, still retains its intrinsic identity as a "cup." A picture of a person retains the intrinsic identity of the person even if the person is presented only in the picture. Representational competence is a form of conservation, in which the meaning of an instance is retained in spite of change in form or symbolic level. I offer the term conservation oj meaning to be added to the lexicon of conservation types .