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Lecture 2

Week 2 Readings.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 300W
Professor
V.Gordon Rose
Semester
Winter

Description
PSYC 300W – Week 2 Readings Models of Cognitive Development: Piaget and Perry By: Wankat and Oreovicz Theories of development in the education of scientists and engineers - Piaget: Theory of Childhood development - Perry: theory of development of college students Jean Piaget – Swiss psychologist - Research on the development of children - Intellectual development is continuous, but the intellectual operations in the different periods are distinctly different - Children go through 4 stages in the same order, but at different rates o Sensorimotor – child learns about his relationship to various objects  Birth to 2 years old  Developing meaning for symbols  Motor skills developed; i.e. holding a bottle  Figuring out that objects still exist even when they are out of sight  Recognize reflection in the mirror o Preoperational – 2 to 7 years old  Preoperational – children use language to make sense of the world  Concrete and self-centered thinking  Draws conclusions based on concrete experiences with objects  Intuitive – conclusions drawn are based on vague impressions and perceptual judgments  Concept of numbers, and classify objects on basis of criteria  Unable to think in a cause-and-effect manner – not yet rational o Concrete Operational – can do mental operations but only with real (concrete) objects, events or situations  Concept of conservation; i.e. water from small fat glass poured into a tall thin glass would still hold the same amount of water  Can understand logical reasons  Earliest ends at 11 or 12, though most adults remain in this stage throughout their lives  Many freshmen are concrete operational thinkers; though the number in engineering is much smaller (less than 10%) o Formal operational – involves abstract thinking  Capable of metacognition – thinking about thinking  Capable of learning higher mathematics and applying this to solve new problems; can do combinatorial thinking and generating many possibilities Application of Piaget’s Model to Engineering Education - Engineering education requires formal operational thought - Transitional Phase – can use formal operational thought some of the time but not all of the time - Engineering students in transition may apply formal operational thought in their studies, but have not generalized the processes to everyday life - Concrete operational students may be identified by repeated administration of tests with novel problems on the same material Process of Accommodation – if the new data make sense to the existing mental structure, then the new information is incorporated into the structure - Allows for minor changing (figurative stretching, twisting, and bending) in the structure to incorporate new data - If new data is very different from the existing structure, then the new info is either rejected, or assimilated/transformed so that it will fit into the structure How does one develop mentally? - Occurs because the organism has a natural desire to operate in a state of equilibrium - The desire of equilibration is a very strong motivator to either change the structure or reject the data William G. Perry, Jr. – studied the development of Harvard students through their four years of University - Noticed a pattern of development (sample pop. was mostly privileged, male students) - Concerned with how students move from a dualistic (right vs. wrong) view of the universe to a more relativistic view, and how students develop commitments within this relativistic world Positions in Perry’s Model: 1. Basic Duality – right vs. wrong, with no alternatives; deals in absolutes o Authorities know all the answers o Much of the confrontation with pluralism occurs in residence halls o Confrontations with the basic dualistic position cause disequilibrium, which will result in the accommodation of multiplicity by moving to position 2 or temporarily modifying position 1 o Home of intolerance and bigotry 2. Dualism: Multiplicity Prelegitimate – can perceive that a multiplicity exists but still has a basic dualistic view of the world o “gray” areas are either wrong or interpreted as authority playing games o An engineering student here can successfully solve problems, particularly closes-end problems, with a single right answer o Student viewpoint: a fair test should be very similar to the homework o Move from position 1 to 2 – major concession by allowing for some complexity and some groping into uncertainty 3. Multiplicity Subordinate or Early Multiplicity – multiplicity has become unavoidable even in hard sciences and engineering o There is still one right answer, but it may be unknown by authority o Honest, hard work is no longer guaranteed to produce correct answers o Lower level engineering course are not likely to move students into position 3 or 4; perhaps in grad school or senior design classes o Women appeared to shift into subjectivism “after some crisis of trust in male authority in their daily lives, coupled with some confirmatory experience that they, too, could know something for sure” 4. Complex Dualism and Advanced Multiplicity – student tries to retain a dualistic right-versus- wrong position but realizes that there are areas of legitimate uncertainty o This position is rare for engineering students o Reactions: independent-like thought, or oppose authority “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” attitude o Engineer here can solve problems creatively and cleverly  Lacks vision and may solve problems considered unimportant or even immoral by others  Many engineering graduates with both baccalaureate and advanced degrees seem to be in positions 3 and 4 5. Relativism – sees everything as relative, not because authority wants it that way, but because that is the way he or she sees the world o Relativism becomes the common characteristic of everything o Occurs in three subpositions  Person divides the world into a relativistic area and a dualistic area where authority still has answers  Whole world is seen as relativistic, but this position alternates with a dualistic position  The wh
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