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Lecture 10

lecture 10 - Cognitive Development - end of Piaget, beginning of Information Processing

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University of Toronto St. George

March 28, 2011 Cognitive Development: The Information Processing approach Main criticisms of Piaget’s ideas about concrete operational stage – he underestimates child’s perspective’ taking ability in the preoperational and sensory motor stages  Piaget’s mountain tasks uses familiar toys rather than the mountain as landmarks, three years olds can take on the doll’s perspective  Two year-olds will turn a picture and show it to you while talking about it to you – demonstrates that they realize your perspective is different from theirs  18-month-olds can point to an item the adult isn’t looking at to draw the adult’s attention to it – also requires sense of difference between baby’s perspective and adult’s  18-month-olds also understand people’s desires are different – goldfish and broccoli  4 year-olds use simpler speech when talking to a two year old as opposed to another 4 year-old – shows understanding of different perspective  even 2-year-olds talk to infant siblings differently than adults – understand that their perspective, infant perspective, and adult perspectives are different  contra-Piaget – evidence for sophisticated perspective-taking abilities while still clearly in preoperational period, and some are found in sensorimotor period  Darwin/Vygotsky criticizing Piaget – mind-to-mind connections are at least as important as mind-to-world connections – likely an innate adaptive ability to pick up on other people’s mental states  Preoperational symbolic ability o Judy DeLoache o Compare 18-month-olds and 3-year-olds on two tasks – hide and seek game and scale object task o Hide and seek game – room with a giant Snoopy in it. Get kid to close eyes. Tell kid you’re hiding big Snoopy. You have a small- scale diorama of the room with a little Snoopy in it, and show the kid in the little room where Snoopy is in the big room. o 18-30 months – kids can’t find Snoopy in big room o indicates that a lot of tactics used in criminal investigations should be ditched – ask a 2 year-old to show you on a doll where the man touched them – they don’t understand, this shouldn’t count as evidence o any representational object has two aspects – little Snoopy is a cute little toy as well as a representation of big Snoopy – have to be able to keep these two aspects instinct o Scale object task 18-30 month-olds – bring kid into room with regular scale objects, let kid play. Take kid out. Replace furniture and what not with small-scale versions of the same things – tiny lamps, tiny chairs, and see if they notice the difference. 50% of kids try to use teeny objects like regular ones – try to sit on the microscopic chair! Scale model triggers planning what to do with object and visual representation o Knock-knock jokes – yahoo o Aspects are patterns of salience – we can predict that if we alter the salience of the representational object we can affect the success rate of these tasks o Replace diorama with flat 2-D picture of room, representation of the room, makes representation of room less salient – predicts that younger kids can solve Snoopy task o Children as young as 29 months are able to solve the task with the picture o What if we do the opposite and make the diorama more salient? Have kids play with little Snoopy a lot – much older kids now have a harder time with the problem because little Snoopy becomes more of a toy and less of a representation o Sophistication much earlier than Piaget thought – children can reliably solve the scale-object and Snoopy task - means they are getting good at levels of identity o Okay, so little kids can’t handle taxonomic tasks, but how important is this on the savannah? Perspective shifting seems more important from an evolutionary perspective o Nine dot problem – when people say you are cheating by going outside the box, they are imposing a pattern of salience that suggest the lines have to be in the box o To solve problem, salience pattern has to be broken up, aspect shifting – hard even for adults! Making one aspect more salient skews perspective  Two groups of people – one using pliers for plier-like things, the other doing some random task  Then you present both groups two-string task and give both groups pliers. Tell them the pliers will help them solve the task. People who have been using the pliers as pliers will find it much harder to use them in any other way. This is much like the Snoopy task – pliers become too much like pliers so you can’t see them as a deadweight o Young children succeed in ways that are very similar to us, we also fail in ways that are very similar to them – a lot more continuity between kids and adults then Piaget thought o “kids are smarter than Piaget realized, adults are stupider” o earlier and earlier on – much more sophistication than Piaget realized  final stage of Piagetian development – formal operations o most important limitation of concrete operational period were that operations were restricted to the concrete. Concrete operational child doesn’t really deal with possibility/what’s hypothetical vs. reality. Start with actualities and tentatively makes conjectures about what’s possible. o Hypothetical model of deductive reasoning - formal operational child starts with various possibilities, makes logical deductions about what would be possible if these deductions were true – if A were true, this is the case, if B were true, this is the case, if C were true, this is the case – tests against actuality, inference to the best explanation o Pendulum – what determines frequency of oscillation?  Formal operational child will consider various possibilities as to cause, will control for possible confounding variables – length of string, heaviness of string, force with which it is pushed  Concrete operational child will do some testing but will not systematically lay out possibilities, nor use deduction in order to figure out how to systematically constrain variables. Results in inappropriate conclusions as a result of not de-confounding variables. o Reasoning problems – are adults actually so good at this? o Wason selection task  Four cards – E, K, 4, 7  Name which cards need to be turned over to confirm rule that if there’s a vowel on one side, there’s an even number on the other  E and 7 – most people say E 4, but 4 doesn’t prove anything  Most participants of psych experiments are students  If you change EK47 to “drinking a beer,” “drinking a coke,” “22,” and “16,” the answer becomes obvious – to prove that everyone’s drinking legally, you only need to flip over “drinking a beer” and “16” – you don’t care what the 22-year-old is doing  Are we reeeeally in the formal operations period, as adults? We’re failing at concrete operational tasks, here o Cognition isn’t organized just to pursue truth, like Piaget said, but relevance of subject in cognition o Not as clearly in formal operations o Piaget seems to think concrete operations are the terminus of development o Qualititave changes stop around 13-14, from then on, changes are only in content, says Piaget  People can go beyond formal reasoning o Two separate formal systems, do reasoning across/between them (meta-systemic reasoning) o Relationship between formal systems or ways of thinking – Piaget says we shouldn’t be able to make connections across and between ways of thinking – geniuses like Einstein – related acceleration and gravitation, curvature of space o Many people seem to transcend particular formal systems – integrating different ways of processing information o Translating procedure knowledge into propositional knowledge – interactional intelligence and procedural intelligence o Making facts relevant to interactions and vice versa – perhaps this is what we mean when we say people are wise o Descartes – tiles on his floor and walls – lying in bed and sees a fly – figures out that he can pinpoint the fly’s place in the room by counting number of squares on walls and floor – then realized any shape could be plotted like this – combined geometry and algebra  What is this formal stage Piaget talks about? Who’s in it? Are we in it? But look how crappy we are at problem solving! Yet some people transcend this stage!  Very significant problematic aspects of Piaget – not clear what this formal operational stage is – many adults fail at seemingly simple formal operations, yet succeed when given a more concrete version of the task. But, many exceptional individuals go beyond this stage in ways not adequately accounted for by Piaget  How to mount an argume
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