Lec 6. Oct/17/12- psyb20
- When we talk about cognition we are referring to the act of knowing
- Falling under cognition: sensation and perception, learning, thinking, remembering and so on
- Cognitive development
o Changes that occur in mental skills and abilities over time
- Information processing
o Not one function, but focus on growth of abilities like attention and perceptual abilities
o Principle analogy is the idea that the human mind functions in the same way that the
computer does, or analogously as the computer does
- Structural functional approach
o Emphasizes biological and environmental influences that promote development in the
structure of ones intelligence
o Assuming biological and environmental influences
o Piaget: developmental psychologist
Truly interesting individual. A philosopher and educator
Born in 1896 in Switzerland.
Published first scientific paper at the age of 10
Published 23 papers in zoology, originally a zoologist and developed a strong
interest in cognitive development
Came because of work he was doing in Paris with Benet who was
developing an intelligence test who was determining at what age
children get the right answers for different word problems.
Piaget was interested in the wrong answers children were making. At
younger ages they gave wrong answers. Children at the same ages
made the same type of errors. Not random errors he noticed a pattern.
Different ag groups made different errors. Believed that the nature of
the childrens thought processes was fundamentally different.
Explored how children thought. A question and answer technique to
probe the nature/ of how they talk. Started clinical interviewing and
probing. Example: talking with a young child to understand what
dreams come from. From these tests and others he developed a theory
in understanding the nature of changes in intelligence.
o Very detailed and intricate theory
o Intelligence piaget refers to: basic life force that helped the child adapt to the
environment. A type of equilibrium towards which all cognitive structures tended
towards. Intellectual activity was taken with one goal in mind harmonious and balanced
relationship between ones thought process and the environment: cognitive
o Children were not passive in learning process, they were active and curious explorers.
Constantly challenged by novel stimuli. New stimuli causes an imbalance in cognitive
process which prompted child to make a mental adjustment to allow child to cope with new experience. This restored the childs cognitive equilibrium and it changed hwo they
o Children as constructivists: activel taking a role in changing how they view the world. In
some sense, children were constructing their own realities. Their construction varied
based on what they see in the world. Younger were more limited as as they grew up
things changes and more experiences.
o The things they were acting on and changing were called schemas/schemata: a pattern
of thought or an action. Similar to the idea and notion of a construct. The first type of
schemas children develop are:
o Sensorimotor schemas organized pattern of behaviour the child understands to respond
to the environment. How child represents and understand objects and event around
them. Childrens understanding of objects and events are limited to wht behaviours they
were able to do with the objects. (ex. A ball is just an obect they can throw or bounce)
o As children gain more knowledge, they modify these schemas and are able to perform
and understand objects and events without actually having to act on them. Start using
mental symbols and can represent behaviour. Beginning of symbol use:
o Symbolic schemas: mental representations of the world. Begin to be able to do things
with schemas at age 7/8. They can perform various operations on the symbols.
o Operational schema: can have mental activities that they can do that take the place of
physically having to do them. a 5 year old wont have this, but an 8 year old will have this
and can think that a ball of clay and the smushed up clay is the same thing. Idea of
reversibility. Advantage of this is idea to think logically. Allows children to begin formal
o How do schemas develop? Two processes:
Organization: he or she takes a bunch of schemas and combine them to form
more complex and higher level schemas. Combined schemas are more
intellectually complex forms of schemas. Taes three indpendant schemas and
combines them to make a more complex schema (3 sensorimotors to make a
more complex behavioural schema-visual guided schema). children are
constantly reorganizing schemas into higher order schemas. This is because
they are always coming into contact with new objects and events.
Assimilation: child attempts to interpret new experiences with
reference to previous experiences and try and fit them into how they
previously understood the world. Try and take novel events and fit it
into current schema.
Accommodation: child has to modify existing cognitive structures to
account for the new experiences. The schema they had has to undergo
change, because new object is too novel. These processes always occur hand in hand because we are constantly
coming into contact iwht new objects and we try and fit them into how
we try and understand the world.
When they dont fit in the way we understand, it causes some sort of
change. This results in both assimilation and accommodation happening
at the same time.
End product is cognitive assimilation.
o Viewed cognitive growth and development as major changes of structures of childs
intellect. Similar modes of thought and intellectuall functioning. At some point the
understanding of the owrd changes fundamentally
o Classic protypical stage theory: the way child understands the world at one stage is
different than they do in another stage.
Stages occur in an invariant developmental sequence. They have to occur in a
given specific unchanging order. Have to go through stage 1 to get to stage 2.
Timing of stages can be switched around but the order does not change. You
cant miss a stage or reverse a stage. This suggests that there is a strong
biological component of these changes. The environment cant change the order
of the changes, it can change how ong you stay in a stage and when a stage
There are hierarchical relations among stages. You dont lose abilities in
previous stage when you move onto the next one. These abilities just become