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Carretero, M., L. Jacott, M. Limón, A. López–Manjón, and J.A. León. “Historical Knowledge: Cognitive and Instructional Implications.” In Cognitive and Instructional Process in History and the Social Sciences, edited by J. F. Voss and M. Carretero, 357-76. Hillsdale,NJ: Erlbaum, 1994.


The primary purpose of this chapter is to consider the ideological influence of how historical content is chosen and taught in schools. The authors found that history is generally understood as the study of the past and as a reasoning process.

Within the understanding of history as the study of the past, the authors conclude that history education is limited to events in a given period which consequently means that social concepts such as democracy and colonialism are more difficult to teach and to understand. Within the conceptualization of history learning as a reasoning process, history instruction is understood as a cognitive practice in which logical inferences are made rather than merely an activity of identifying the chronological order of events.

Drawing from a set of studies examining how students explain the cause of particular historical events, the authors conclude that adolescent and adult history learners identified people’s intent as the cause of events. In contrast, historians tend to generate causal explanations on economic, political, and social factors. Human actions are thus understood as the consequence of social conditions.

Ana Laura Pauchulo