Core D - Epistemology and Methodology

Core D - Epistemology and Methodology

Core D - Epistemology and Methodology

This core integrates the work of all other cores by providing them with appropriate ways to link the empirical evidence with adequate generalization that fits the scientific goals of the Niels Bohr Professorship. The basis for this core is the general Methodology Cycle that was developed by Jaan Valsiner together with his Brazilian colleague Angela Branco, as well as the qualitative stance developed over years by Steinar Kvale at Aarhus and well established at Aalborg University at this time, which includes ideas about research as craftsmanship, theoretical readings of empirical materials and analytic generalisation. The activities of this core will lead to work on a foundational theoretical project, discussing micro-, meso- and macro-aspects of cultural psychology on an individual, group and societal level, and also relating cultural psychology to theories in e.g. social theory, cultural theory and semiotics. The three empirical projects as well as other work done in the Centre should participate to this theoretical project.


Methodology of Microgenesis: this sub-project seeks to elaborate the at AAU already well developed microgenetic methodology by developing new techniques to apply to human experiencing of urban settings and in activities with rapid movements which fits the needs of Cores (a) and (b). Linkages of the microgenetic methods with mesogenetic dynamic processes will be developed in collaboration with Japan, where previous collaboration has led to the development of TEM (Trajectory Equifinality Model) that allows to conceptualise human development as culturally organized as it is proceeding.

Dynamic Formal Models for Cultural Psychology: this sub-project builds on the recent introduction of the focus on qualitative mathematics in the social sciences. After a century of dominance of quantitative methods, the newly developed cultural psychology is on the forefront of the social sciences in developing methodological applications that build on the axiomatic basis of intransitivity of human psychological functions. This sub-project will provide formal models for the interpretation of data obtained by qualitative methods in all of the cores.

Semiotic Analyses in Cultural Psychology: this sub-project will focus on semiotics, the science of signs and their use, as it is the closest neighboring discipline to cultural psychology within the humanities. Linkages with semiotics allow cultural psychology to treat literary texts as important sources of psychological knowledge. Semiotic analysis will be relevant for Core (a) in the coverage of urban aesthetics.

The psychological imagination: The sub-project goal is to develop a completely new look on imagination. The history of ideas crystallised the opposition rationality vs. imagination, with an underestimation of the latter. This has revealed a dead-end so far, so that today we don’t know exactly what imagination is and how it works. Nevertheless, imaginative processes works everywhere, in art, education, scientific work, business, politics. They are involved in decision making, creativity, psychotherapy, etc.

This sub-project that will implemented in the next years aims to study imagination as a fundamental higher psychological function that is devoted to the manipulation of complex wholes of iconic and linguistic signs. The sub-project will develop two different sub-areas: a) studying the historical roots of the concept (elaborating the role of imagination as epistemological tool; b) study of imagination in everyday life, to develop a methodology of study focusing on complex forms of life (religion, art, education). The sub-project will be also related to Cores B and C and will develop international collaborations with European, Latin American, and United States’ partners.

Researcher in Charge

Senior Researchers


PhD Students