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Kristie Dukewich

LECTURE NOTES FOR CLASS 4 1.) core knowledge 2.) learning to use symbols 3.) symbolic function 1.) CORE KNOWLEDGE—Associated with Elizabeth Spelke  Object constancy, continuity and cohesion, numerosity  States that babies possess core knowledge about several different domains from birth. Babies are born with a small set of distinct systems of knowledge that have been shaped by natural selection over evolutionary time.  Spelke states that there is strong knowledge that indicates at least 3 core knowledge systems: (object representation, knowledge of humans and their actions, and ability to represent numbers) 1. object representation  infants have to recognize 3 features in relation to objects: i.) object constancy: an object does not change shape or size from different views of the object. It may appear different from a different viewpoint, but the actual physical properties of the object remain unchanged.  Habituation/dishabituation paradigm is used to test for this ability: infant is habituated to an object, and then shown the same object from a different angle so that it creates a different retinal image, or is shown a new object but displayed in such a way that it projects the same retinal image.  If the infant possesses size constancy, they will continue habituation to the same object projected at a different viewpoint, causing a different retinal image.  If the infant does not possess size constancy, they will dishabituate when the same object is presented at a different distance, but will continue to habituate to a different object presented so that it projects the same retinal image.  In experiments investigating such a thing, infants show the same pattern as the former.  Oddly enough, older children sometimes fail at object constancy tasks. For example, many toddlers believe that as planes are in the air, that they shrink because the further up they go, the smaller the retinal image projected is. They may believe this because our ancestors never had to deal with such a situation, so evolutionarily, its quite new.  Disconnect between IMPLICIT and EXPLICIT knowledge ii.) object continuity and cohesion: objects are seen as cohesive wholes with distinct boundaries  how is this ability measured experimentally?  Show infants an image of a large rectangle occluding a bar. (so that the middle of the bar is covered, looks like 2 separate bars) habituate the infants to the image, then show them a picture of a solid bar. If the infants attention to this image increases, then they believed that it was in fact 2 separate bars in the image. If their attention does not increase (they remain habituated) then they assumed that the rectangle was occluding a solid bar the whole time. The idea here is that infants are habituated, so its an image they have seen before.  How do babies respond to these experiments? 4 month olds habituate, but only for moving stimuli.  Newborns increase their attention to the bar, that suggests that infants are not likely born with this knowledge.  Concept of “collision” has been investigated as well. Seems to develop around 2.5 months. These infants increased their looking time when a toy bug on wheels remained stationary after being hit by a cylinder rolling down a ramp, or when a bug moved in absence of contact.  The concept that objects require “support” was also investigated. At around 4.5 months, somewhat increased awareness and by 6.5 months, awareness that objects require support or they will fall. Horizontal Decalage: an ability develops at different rates in different contexts (in terms of this example, the occlusion experiments and different development rates of surprise at impossible events)  Generally, infants understand that inanimate objects behave in a continuous and cohesive manner, that contact is necessary for inanimate objects to move, and objects must be supported or they will fall. Principle of Persistence: objects not only exist continuously and remain cohesive, they also retain their individual properties. No object can undergo a spontaneous or uncaused change in the course of an event (Baillergeon) iii.) object permanence: objects are permanent in time and space, regardless of whether we are in their presence or not. Objects don’t just disappear because we are no longer looking at them.  Out of sight is literally out of mind  Piaget believed that between 0-4 months, infants understood objects only through their own actions on them.  At around 8 months, infants can retrieve a completely hidden object. A-not-B Object Permanence Task: an object is initially hidden from the infant in one location, and then later on moved to a second, all done while the child is watching. The infant will search in the first location, and is often quite surprised not to find the object they are looking for. (this is the classic paradigm for testing object permanence) Invisible Displacements: this ability requires the ability to mentally represent an object. To test this ability, take an object, place it in a container, cover the container, remove the object, and then show the infant the container. The infant will be surprised that there is no object, because they were unable to mentally represent it.  Experiments conducted by baillargeon show that infants’ understanding of the permanence of objects varies with the type of task used to assess it. How does object representation develop?  Infants need exposure to evidence and different situations  Development is aided by unexpected outcomes. Infants adjust their schemas and representations to unexpected events  An unexpected events is obviously novel, so the infant will attend to this event, and this provides a learning experience. 2.)Numerosity  Geary proposed that infants and young children possess skeletal competencies in 4 abilities related to math: i.) Numerosity & Ordinality: Numerosity: The ability to determine quickly the number of items in a set without counting Ordinality: the basic understanding of more than/less than  Infants display numerosity
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