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Lecture 9

PSYC 2P12 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Egocentrism, Learned Helplessness


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2P12
Professor
Cathy Mondloch
Lecture
9

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FEB 7, 2013
THE WORLD OF YOUNG CHILDREN
Cephalocaudal principle: from head to toe; 2 and 3 year olds have big heads relative to
the rest of their body; physical growth; if a child is physically small, then their teachers
and parents tend to expect less from them
Growth influences cognitive and social development; poor nutrition during childhood
affects growth of bones, muscles and physical activity in adulthood
•if you’re hungry, you automatically try to retain energy; so you wont go outside and play
• you may not interact with other people; hunger makes you cranky
COSTS OF OBESITY
• used to be less than 5% of children
• if you were to go into a grade 2 class room, 50 years ago you would find 2 kids who
were obese, today you would find 8 children
•reasons: lack of physical activity; not walking to school anymore, access to fast foods
2 GROUPS OF CHILDREN AT RISK FOR OBESISTY:
1. low birth weight babies; they tend to restore fat
2. babies who are large and born to over weight mothers
•hormones at pregnancy can also make a baby over weight
•little kids who are obese are not likely to be picked first for teams; which will result
them sitting on the bench and removing them from play and that will eventually turn into
a vicious circle.
•self efficacy plays a role; low self efficacy makes you not want to do it; and the opposite
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
JEAN PIAGET (1896-1980)
- most influential theorist in filed of cognitive development
- based many of his ideas on what he observed in him own children
- revolutionized the way we view children
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT:
1. Preoperational (2-7 years)
- defined largely by what children cant do
- difficulty mentally manipulating items they see in the real world
- conservation task: asking the child to conserve something…like volume
or number; children are given two things that look identical and then in
front of them you do a transformation, and they think the amount has
changed
- 2 problems why they fail them: reversibility- if not sure, reverse the
situation; reverse it so they look the same again; understanding you can

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undo the transformation and centration- they get focused on one
dimension and cannot recognize the difference
• characterized by animistic thinking: when the child thinks that inanimate objects can
behave, like have thoughts or feelings. Example: I don’t want to put my toys in the toy
box because it’s dark and they will be scared
• characterized by: egocentrism: refers to the inability to recognize that somebody else
has a different perspective that is different from theirs. TASK: 3 mountain task, built 3
mountains with different objects around them, which object you can see depends on
where you’re sitting
FANTASY/REALITY DISTINCTION
- young children more apt to believe in fantasy characters
- can verbally distinguish between real and imagined objects
- but behaviour reveals underlying confusion
•Harris et al. (1991): children were given a box and some were told to
imagine a rabbit inside and others were told to imagine a monster in, age
4-6, and then researcher left room, those told to imagine a monster got
scared when the person left the room
- lack of identity constancy: knowledge that the appearance of an object doesn’t
necessarily correspond to its reality; they don’t understand that when the
appearance changes they stay the same
IMPLICATIONS:
- how to avoid conflict when providing snacks/cups
- how to calm a frightened child
CONCRETE OPERATIONAL CHILDREN:
- they can master concrete operations; not abstract problem solving
WHAT’S MISSING FROM PIAGET’S THEORY?
- he doesn’t look at other people
- talked about children as little scientists
VYGOTSKY
- scaffolding: structure and its job is to hold everything together and eventually it
will stand on its own; when children are learning how to do new things they need
that support structure
EXAMPLE: when learning how to tie shoes your mom is right beside you
working beside you to support and encourage you; learning is intermental- can
only do it with social support; after a while it becomes intramental where they can
do it on their own
- zone of proximal development: difference between what a child can do
independently and what they can do with help
EXAMPLE: he might be successful of tying his shoes he will be successful when
his parent was there helping him; in high school you could do math because your
math teacher was there to help you; if you give the child a problem and say okay
do it and if they cant do it then they get frustrated, we need to teach them
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