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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Mark Schmuckler

Lecture 6 – Physical growth  How does the child change physically? o Weight increases 15-20 times in body weight than infants at birth o Body proportions change o Head is about ¼ child’s full body size to an adult proportion, where head is now 1/7 of child’s body height o Physical growth is not just a matter of getting taller and larger, but is a complex process of changes in size, proportion, composition  The course of physical growth o For rats, interval between birth and puberty is a matter of weeks (1-2% of rat’s life span) o For chimps, it’s 7 years (1/6 of life span)  evolutionary step taken by primates o Growth curves and physical growth  Distal growth curve  Growth of particular body dimension each year  Age vs. height  Boys and girls separate  Velocity growth curve  Absolute growth at yearly intervals  Better than distance curve at identifying timing of growth spurts  Growth curves for organs  In terms of percent adult size  Brain and skull mature quickly  Genital more slowly; growth spurt in adolescence  Lymphoid system overgrows then shrinks  Changes in body proportions o Cephalo-caudal development  Growth from head to feet  In infancy, upper part of body grows fast  Lower part of body catches up in adolescence  at a faster rate  BUT infants were accurate in making contact w/ objects w; feet before with hands  Reaching ability better in legs than arms o Proximal-distal development  Growth begins near center of body axis then grows outward  Trunk of body grows before upper arms  Upper arms grow before lower arms and hands  Few exceptions; in adolescence it is reversed  Adolescence have end of their extremities  hands and feet grow before legs and arms  Continuous vs. episodic growth o Growth is discontinuous o Timing is variable o Episodic growth found for changes in height, weight, leg-bone growth  Psychological reactions to physical growth o Puberty: the transition to adulthood  Factors to girls’ reactions to menarche  Prior information  Social and cultural attributes – family environment  Boys tended to have more prior information  Reading material  Both genders don’t tell many people  Boys keep it a secret, but girls tell their friends  Early vs. late maturation o BERKELEY  Boys had advantage with early maturation  Relaxed, confident, physically attractive  Late maturation in boys was negative  Socially anxious, problematic  Long lasting consequences o early vs. late maturing girls  early  lower average of popularity  withdrawn  lacking in self confidence  late  more physically attractive  more sociable  more confident  more leadership in school  consequences were not long lasting o reasons  body types  female idea favours late maturation, but male idea favours early  outliers Cognitive Development - Piaget  cognition o refers to act of knowing; concerned with the mental processes by which knowledge is acquired, elaborated, stored and retrieved; attention to the world; perception of the world; learning, thinking remembering and so on  cognitive development o changes that occur in mental skills and abilities over time  study of charting the changes that occur in these mental skills from birth into old age o structural-functional approach  emphasizes the biological functions and environmental influences that promote developmental changes in the organization and the structure of intelligent o information-processing approach  focuses on the growth of specific cognitive processing mechanisms, such as perception, attention, memory, etc  mind processes information similar to a computer  Piaget’s theory o Interested in when children got answers wrong o Stage-like differences in how children understood and thought about different types of cognitive information  Cognitive equilibrium  Intelligence o Equilibrium towards which all cognitive structures tend o Balanced relationship between thought processes of child and the environment  Children as constructivists o Mental adjustments help kids understand new experiences and restore idea of cognitive equilibrium o Construction of reality is limited by the knowledge that is available to the child at that particular time o Limited information  limited construction of environment  Cognitive schema  Schema  Behaviour (sensorimotor) schema o Organized pattern of behaviour used to represent objects of experience o Baby sees ball as something that can roll and bounce; not as an object  Symbolic schemes nd o 2 year of life o Thinking about objects without producing action or having objects present o Language!! o Words represented as objects nd o Child can imitate other people by 2 year of life (mentally representing actions of other people)  Operational schemes o By the time the child is 7 years old o Cognitive operations applied to objects/events o Characterized by mental cognitive operations o Mental activities that a child can undertake upon objects or events in the world  How do schemata develop?  Organization o Combining existing schemas into new ones  Adaptation o Assimilation  Attempting to interpret new experiences in relation to previous experiences o Accommodation  Fitting new information with existing schemas  Stages o Invariant developmental sequence – all steps must be undergone  Constant, unchanging order  No skipping of stages  Indicates strong maturational component o Hierarchical relations among stages – skills learned previously are used to learn new skills  Structures of earlier stages not lost  Incorporated into achievements of later stages o Stages  Sensorimotor (0-2 years)  Reflex activity (0-1 months)  Primary circular reactions (1-4 months)  Secondary circular reactions (4-8 months)  Coordination of secondary schemes (8-12 months)  Tertiary circular reactions (12-18 months)  Invention of new means through mental combinations (18-24 months) o IMITATION o OBJECT PERMANENCE  Preoperational stage (2-7)  Preconceptual period (2-4 years) o SYMBOLIC FUNCTION AND PRETEND PLAY o ANIMISM o TRANSDUCTIVE REASONING o EGOCENTRISM  Intuitive period (4-7 years) o CONSERVATION PROBLEMS o CHARACTERISTIC TO DEFINING SHIFT  Uncle gives presents, is the same age as dad, visits on weekends  Vs  Uncle is father’s brother  Concrete operations (7-11)  Formal operations (11-on) Neo-Piagetian Research  Research on sensorimotor stage o Children gain 2 abilities  Object permanence  Habituation display o 4/5 month old infants show evidence of object permanence o Piaget’s task involved motor tasks where kids were required to reach out  Piaget thought object permanence was at 12 months, but he didn’t realize that the only reason infants didn’t show that there was something wrong, was because their motor skills had not developed enough nd  2 study o A-Not-B error  Hiding toy in A; infant recovers it; hid in B right in front of child; but infant still reaches for A  Infant thinks that object only exists in that particular location so object permanence has not yet developed o But maybe conservation wasn’t the problem; maybe they just have a memory problem?  3 study  Infant does not remember; will search either B or one of the cups near B  Infants search in cups near B location, so they do just have bad memories, not a lack of object permanence  Piaget’s notion of imitation o Piaget thought infants don’t show imitation until at least a year  His tests were way to complex; imitation is earlier if gestures were simple  Facial movement tests because their motor skills weren’t too great  have imitative abilities as long as it’s natural  Piaget didn’t use behaviours that were natural to babies o Infants at least SIX WEEKS old show this kind of imitation  Piaget’s notion of egocentrism o A child viewing the world from only their own POV  Cat and dog experiment is what Piaget used  But if kid saw dog, he knows the kid across from him sees cat  Conservation o Of volume  Child in pre-operation period tends to generalize conservation once it’s used once  They can generalize it to totally unknown situations  Concrete operations  Certain skills have to occur before others o Height conservation before area conservation  formal operational o some kids achieve logical thinking earlier than Piaget thought they would o 8-year olds can reason and tell you if a scenario or logical or not  syllogism type questions (“if then” statements) o But negative statements (knife/fork) are different and difficult  It isn’t logical, so the phrasing makes an impact on whether the child can answer it correctly or not  Simplifying it will have children understand  Piaget’s influence on child/infant developmental psychology o Convinced us that infants are active peoples o Kids think fundamentally different than adults  They understand the world qualitatively different o Piaget’s theories and assumptions can be generalized to many children o Even if he made mistakes, our knowledge of kid development would be way different without him  Criticism  He really underestimated kids o Senorimotor  Competence and performance o Stages?  Sort of yes and no; no if zoomed out, but yes if zoomed in o Intellectual development  What actually changes in a child to push her into concrete operational stage? Brain changes? Piaget doesn’t specify  He paid way too little attention to cultural and social factors o Kids learn from the environment and culture they’re in The Information Processing Approach  Information processing approach is not a developmental theory, it is an approach of general cognitive theory o Mind to computer analogy o Mind is a manipulative device which manipulates symbols and info o Info from the environment is stored symbolically  Then we have to modify that information; adding or eliminating if necessary  Then decoding o What does this information mean? Pairing with memory  Response based on meaning  So o Encode, recode, decode, output  Both this approach and Piaget see kids as active o But it offers precision by which the child processes the information  How the cognitive system actually operates o The ancestor of information processing is behaviourism  Kendler and Kendler  Non-reversal learning should be easier according to behaviourism because reversal situation involves breaking a previous stimulus response and adopting something new  But the non-reversal way – all they have to do is learn a new association o Non-reversal was easier for those who were under 6  Adults and other children found that reversal was easier  There are no “learning rules” in behaviourism  It is an internal strategy but this was against the concept of the behaviourism approach  Change o 1940’s  revolution in psychology  important to study cognitive processes  Children have innate language structures that allow them to produce sentences they’ve heard before  the need to study cognitive processes  Then computers were introduced  Information processing approach o Atkinson and Shiffrin’s Store model  Storage areas that are linked together; response is generated  Storage areas o Sensory o Short-term memory o Long-term memory  Like a computer, there is a limit to how much information can be held o Control processes allow information to move to various parts --- like software system  AROER o Attention o Rehearsal o Organization o Elaboration o reconstruction  Short term memory  Conscious, the info we’re aware of  Limited in terms of capacity and time, how long it sticks around  Long term memory  No limit on how much we can hold but there may be a problem retrieving it o Software of system will change with age  Levels of processing approach o Craik and Lockhart --- superficial vs. middle vs. deep  The retention of information is a function of the depth to which the incoming stimuli has been analyzed by the system  Written word: cat  Levels  Understanding information is a function of the depth to which this information has been analyzed, different levels at which we can encode information  We can encode on a superficial level  what are the superficial characteristics of the word cat (capital letters, parallel lines)  Middle level: phonemic characters – how it sounds  Deep level: semantic features or meaning  The level at which we process information influences how we remember and retrieve the information  This suggests that the primary developmental changes that will occur is in software o Amount of information kids store is the same as adult, but adults are more efficient o Changes in capacity is just better processing and efficient use of information o How we process information on a sensory level  Refined features of environment  We have to make distinctions and pick out certain details  Enrichment theory  sensory is not out there, it’s within us o Young kids are more distracted than adults  Focus on processing irrelevent information  Three conditions o Learn quietly o Learn with soft music o Learn with loud music  What they found is that music impairs the learning of younger kids  Music increase focus on task then causes them to ignore bland music  Incidental vs. central learning Attention o Central learning is much more effective than incidental learning  Strategies in short term memory Rehearsal  Production deficit o A failure to produce an already existing strategy  Control deficit o An inability to skilfully use a strategy even when choosing Organization Elaboration Reconstruction  Evaluation of information processing approach o Advantages  Success in providing detailed specification of how younger vs. older children perceive, attend, memorize, and so on  How do children process information in educational important domains o Problems  The fragmentation of cognitive processing  Piaget provided a general framework  Explicit account of developmental change  Doesn’t talk about what changes in the information process  Doesn’t grasp the process of developmental change  Assumption is that older children are better at processing information than younger. Why, though?  Limitations of the computer metaphor  Good fundamental, but there’s more to cognition that can be simulated in terms of computer metaphor o Computers think linearly and logically but humans don’t  This says nothing about creativity, day dreaming, emotional processing; doesn’t having self-generated goals, they don’t make friends  Computer metaphor has some strengths but some weaknesses  Inherent assumption that because we can program a computer to solve problems, this is a good model of how humans solve problems o Cause it’s not...  The emphasis on verbal, symbolic reasoning  Information processing is good in terms of verbal though  It doesn’t have much to say about nonverbal  Good in educational relevant domains, but outside these boundaries, it is rather pathetic Intelligence  Piaget would say
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