Reflection: A Socratic approach

Inge Van Seggelen-Damen, René Van Hezewijk, Anne Helsdingen, Iwan Wopereis

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    Reflection is a fuzzy concept. In this article we reveal the paradoxes involved in studying the nature of reflection. Whereas some scholars emphasize its discursive nature, we go further and underline its resemblance to the self-biased dialogue Socrates had with the slave in Plato’s Meno. The individual and internal nature of the reflection process creates difficulty for studying it validly and reliably. We focus on methodological issues and use Hans Linschoten’s view of coupled systems to identify, analyze, and interpret empirical research on reflection. We argue that researchers and research participants can take on roles in several possible system couplings. Depending on who controls the manipulation of the stimulus, who controls the measuring instrument, who interprets the measurement and the response, different types of research questions can be answered. We conclude that reflection may be validly studied by combining different couplings of experimenter, manipulation, stimulus, participant, measurement, and response.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)793-814
    Number of pages22
    JournalTheory & Psychology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


    • Coupled system
    • Linschoten
    • reflection
    • reflective practice
    • Socratic dialogue
    • BRAIN
    • MODEL


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