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Lecture 6

Week 6.docx

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Mark Schmuckler

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Week 6 – Chapter 8: Cognitive Development-Piaget Cognition: the mental activity through which human beings acquire and process knowledge (acquire, remember and learn to use knowledge) Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive development: emphasizes developmental changes in the organization or structure of children’s thinking process - 2 important observations when helping Binet develop standardized IQ tests for children: 1) children of same age tend to get same answers wrong, 2) errors of children of a particular age differed in systematic ways from those of older/younger children - Relied on 2 methods to study children thinking: 1) interviews and 2) Observations - Main tenet (belief/opinion) = THE CHILD ACTIVELY SEEKS KNOWLEDGE = Constructivist view  development of turning points (approx. Ages at which these developmental achievements occur) - Cognitive Organization = combination of simple mental structures into more complex systems using schemas that change over time - Operations: schemas based on internal mental activities - 4 stages of cognitive development: large-scale organizational changes, when a substantial # of changes in schemata occur, children change from one organized way of understanding to an entirely new way of approaching the world (built through experiences, so children do not reach these stages at exactly the same stage) 1. Sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years), 2. Preoperational stage (2-7 years), 3. Concrete Operations stage (7-11 years), 4. Concrete operations stage (11+ years) How do Schema’s change? Adaption: modify their schemas in relation to their own experiences 1. Assimilation: applying their existing schemas(what they already know), to the new experience 2. Accommodation: modified an existing schema to fir the characteristics of a new experience These 2 work together to organize children’s knowledge and behaviour into increasingly complex structures  cognitive equilibrium STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT 1. Sensorimotor stage: build on basic reflexes, development of object concept, Object permanence: the realization that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight 6 SUBSTAGES Substage 1: Basic reflex activity (birth – 1 month) - An infant’s exercise of and growing proficiency in the use of innate reflexes - Look at objects that directly in front of them Substage 2 : Primary Circular Reactions (1 to 4 months) - Produce repetitive behaviours that are focused on the infant’s own body that are pleasurable - If a toy drops, will look at their own hand, not look at the toy Substage 3: Secondary Circular reactions (4 to 8 months) - Repetitive behaviours focused on external objects infants engage in because they are pleasurable (ex, keep shaking a rattle) - Will search for a partially visible object but not a covered one Substage 4: Coordination of Secondary Schemata ( 8 to 12 months) - An infant’s combination of different schemes to achieve a specific goal - Marks the beginning of problem-solving behaviour - Will search for completely concealed objects but if object is moved to another location as child watches  continue to search in the first hiding place (A-not-B erronsr) Substage 5: Tertiary Circular Reactions (12 to 18 months) - Begin to experiment with external objects - Use trial- and-error methods to learn more about the properties of objects and to solve problems - Produces similar but NOT EXACT behaviours - Understands permanence of objects Substage 6: Inventing new means by mental combination (18 to 24 months) - Beginnings of symbolic thought appear (mentally combining schemas) - Engage in internal/mental/problem solving - Deferred imitation: child mimics an action some time after observing it - Fully acquire the concept of object permanence New Research Directions and Explanation of Knowledge in Infancy - Infants know a great deal more about objects than Piaget thought they did - Core knowledge systems: way of reasoning about ecologically important objects and events, such as solidity and continuity of objects (understanding of physical laws) 2. Preoperational stage: child’s development of the symbolic function: the ability to use symbols, such as words, images, and gestures, to represent objects and events mentally - Promotes the learning of language - Marked by egocentric and intuitive behaviour  child can solve problems using mental operations but cannot explain how she did so 2 STAGES in this period The Preconceptual Stage (2 to 4 years) - Emergence of symbolic capabilities is evident in children’s rapid development of language, imaginative play and increasing use of deferred language - Animistic thinking: attribute life to inanimate objects - Egocentricity: view the world from their own perspective and have difficulty seeing things from another person’s point of view - Paiget’s 3 mountain task  when task made more comprehensible to children, able to perform better than piaget claimed The Intuitive Substage (4 to 7 years) - Can solve problems by means of specific mental operations but cannot yet explain how she arrives at the solution - Has difficulty understanding part-whole relations  developmentalists have criticized Paiget’s research suggesting that the way he posed his questions confused children Main Limitations of Preoperational Thought - Child thinking is semi-logical, demonstrated on a wide range of conservation tasks - Conservation: understanding that altering an object’s or a substance’s appearance does not change its basic attributes or properties - Object identity: a qualitative attribute of objects, understand this but great difficulty with object quantity questions - Piaget proposed that preoperational children’s semi-logical reasoning is explained by 3 characteristics: 1. Inability to understand reversibility: cannot mentally reverse or undo a given action, 2. Tends to have an ends-over-means focus: focuses on the end states rather than the means by which the end states were obtained (overlook the process or transformations by which the change occurs), 3. Centration: leads child to centre their attention on only one dimension of an object or situation 3. Concrete Operations Stage: child understands reversibility, able to attend to more than one dimension of a problem at a time, able to conserve quantity and to classify or group things in a logical way. - Thinking is tied to concrete reality, can solve problems only if objects necessary for problem solution are physically present (developmentalists question is it not lack of physical
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