PSYCH211 Lecture Notes - Stereotype Threat, Convergent Thinking, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
University of Waterloo
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH211
Professor
Chapter 12 Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood
Piaget’s Theory: The Concrete Operational Stage
Achievements of the Concrete Operational Stage
o Concrete operational stage
o Piaget’s third stage – 7-11 yrs old
o Thought becomes flexible, logical, and organized in its application to concrete info
Conservation
o Conservation tasks provide evidence of operations mental actions that obey logical rules
o Capable of decentration
o The ability to focus on several aspects of a problem at once and relate them
o Also of reversibility
o Ability to go through a series of steps and then mentally reverse direction, returning to
the starting point
Classification
o Children pass the class inclusion problem(flower example)
o More aware of classification hierarchies and can focus on relations between a general
category and two specific categories at the same time
o Collections therefore become common
Seriation
o Ability to order items along a quantitative dimension, such as length or weight
o Ex to arrange sticks of different lengths
o Can also seriate mentally
o This is known as transitive inference
o Requires children to integrate three relations at once
Spatial reasoning
o Directions
o Mental rotations
o Can identify left and right positions they do not occupy
o Maps
o Cognitive maps
Mental representations of familiar, large-scale spaces, such as school or
neighborhood
Preschoolers include landmarks, but there are not always accurate; also have
difficulty if map is rotated
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o School-age kids draw an organized route of travel
o Grasp the notion of scales
o Cultural frameworks influence children’s map making
Indian children represented a rich array of landmarks and aspects of social life
Americans drew a more formal, extended space, but with few landmarks
Limitations of Concrete Operational Thought
o Limitation - Children think in an organized, logical fashion only when dealing with concrete
information that they can perceive directly
o Work poorly with abstract ideas
o Continuum of acquisition of logical concepts is another indication of the limitations of concrete
operational thinking
o Children seem to work out the logic of each problem separately
Follow-Up Research on Concrete Operational Thought
o Specific cultural and school practices have much to do with mastery of Piagetian tasks
Impact of Culture and Schooling
o Very experience of going to school seems to promote mastery of Piagetian tasks
o Those in school longer do better on transitive inference problems
o 6-9 yr old street vendors do poorly on class inclusion tasks, but perform much better with
version relevant to street vending
o Forms of logic required by tasks do not emerge spontaneously in children but, rather, are
heavily influenced by training, context, and cultural conditions
An Information-Processing View of Concrete Operational Thought
o Some neo-Piagetian theorists say gains in info-processing speed rather than a sudden shift to a
new stage is what occurs
o With practice, cognitive schemes demand less attention and become more automatic, freeing
up space in working memory
o There is then enough memory available for the child to integrate schemes to an
improved representation
o Preschoolers focus on 1-D, and by early school years 2-D; at about 9-11 they focus on multiple
dimensions
o Different forms of same logical insight vary in their processing demands
o Also, children’s experiences vary widely
o Therefore central conceptual structures also vary
o Case’s theory better accounts for unevenness in cognitive development
o When tasks make similar processing demands, children with relevant experiences
master those tasks at about the same time
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o Class inclusion task
o Younger kids focus on empirical rather than logical approaches (will count each flower)
o Relying on logical strategies enhances both accuracy and speed of thinking
Evaluation of the Concrete Operational Stage
o Piaget was correct that school-age kids approach many problems in more organized, rational
ways
o Disagreement continues over continuous vs discontinuous restructuring of children’s thinking
o Many think both may be involved
o Perhaps some blend of Piagetian and info-processing idea holds the greatest promise
for explaining cognitive development in mid childhood
Information Processing
o This perspective examines separate aspects of thinking
o Brain development contributes to the following basic changes in info processing:
o Gains in information-processing speed and capacity
Time needed declines rapidly between 6-12 in several cultures
Suggests a biologically based, age-related gain in speed
Contributes to more complex, effective thinking bigger digit span
Increases from about 4 digits at age 7 to 7 digits at age 12
o Gains in inhibition
Frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex develop further
Steady, age-related increase in activation of diverse cortical regions
o Besides brain development, strategy use contributes to more effective information processing
Attention
Selectivity and Adaptability
o Better at deliberately attending to just those aspects of a situation that were relevant to their
task goals
o Improves sharpely between 6-10 yrs old, with gains continuing into adulthood
o Younger children persist in sorting in just one way (color vs shape)
o Four-step sequence on attentional strategies of younger kids
o Production deficiency fail to produce useful strategies
o Control deficiency fail to control or execute strategies effectively
o Utilization deficiency performance does not improve
o Effective strategy use by mid-elementary school years, children use strategies
consistently, and performance improves
Planning
o Attentional strategies also become increasingly planful
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Document Summary

Chapter 12 cognitive development in middle childhood. Achievements of the concrete operational stage: concrete operational stage, piaget"s third stage 7-11 yrs old, thought becomes flexible, logical, and organized in its application to concrete info. Classification: children pass the class inclusion problem(flower example, more aware of classification hierarchies and can focus on relations between a general category and two specific categories at the same time, collections therefore become common. Spatial reasoning: directions, mental rotations, can identify left and right positions they do not occupy, maps, cognitive maps. Mental representations of familiar, large-scale spaces, such as school or neighborhood. Preschoolers include landmarks, but there are not always accurate; also have difficulty if map is rotated: school-age kids draw an organized route of travel, grasp the notion of scales, cultural frameworks influence children"s map making. Indian children represented a rich array of landmarks and aspects of social life. Americans drew a more formal, extended space, but with few landmarks.

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