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Lecture 5

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Cognitive, Moral & Psychosocial Development Part 1: Cognitive Development Jean Piaget  Background: Trained as a biologist (expert on mollusks) worked part-time with kids at Binet Institute (developing new IQ test)  Interested in kid’s mistakes on reasoning tasks revealed how cognitive abilities develop  Over the next decade, he developed tests, watched kids plays and this was how he came up with the Theory of Cognitive Development Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Four Stages: 1. Sensorimotor Stage (age 0-2 years) a. Infants can’t represent objects in thought (can only respond to what they see, hear, touch – what they experience with their senses) b. They lack an understanding of object permanence (object continue to exist even when they can’t be seen) c. Eg. If you cover up a toy for an 8-month-old infant, they will stop looking for it because they lack object permanence. Playing peek-a-boo will surprise the kid a lot! d. By the end of this stage, they develop object permanence 2. Preoperational Stage (age 2-7) a. Children begin to use language and language is important in “representational thought” b. Understanding of “concepts” is weak (abstract ideas about what a group of objects has in common) i. Relies on one property to define concepts ii. Eg. If “A” has 4 legs and “B” has 4 legs, then A must be B because they have the same property. Mommy goes to hospital to have a baby, assumes that when daddy goes to the hospital to have a baby as well iii. Engages in “animistic” thinking – if an object moves, it must be alive iv. Piaget had conversation with 3 year old girl, he asks, is the sun alive? She says yes of course, if it wasn’t alive it wouldn’t follow us or shine. c. Thinking tends to be “egocentric” – perceive world in terms of their own perspective i. Ask a kid ‘why is the sky blue’, they respond, ‘because its my favourite colour’ ii. Assume other people see the world the same way as they do. They leave out important background info iii. Eg. Kid says ‘what’s THIS!” Assumes that you know what they’re talking about d. Lack firm grasp of cause-effect relations i. Eg. Bike won’t work if you remove the chain, kids don’t understand this ii. Also assume that “effect” is the “cause”  Eg. Asks, why does the sun go down? Answers with, because I go to sleep  Eg. Why did Timmy fall off his bike? Because he broke his arm e. Don’t understand logical rules, or logical operations i. Eg. Conservation - They don’t understand that properties of an object as “conserved” even if you change the shape of the object  Conservation of liquid – Pour one glass of water into a different shaped glass, they don’t understand that the amount of water is still the same  Conservation of substance – shapes clay object into a different shape without adding or removing any clay, kids will think the new clay object is bigger  Number confusion – Don’t understand that if 2+3=5 then 3+2 must also = 5  Video of Emily and Keiffer, test on conversation. Keiffer is the smarter one 3. Concrete Operations Stage (age 7-12) a. Can perform logical operations on “concrete” events, not on abstract or hypothetical events i. Eg. If add1 to an even number, gets an odd number ii. However can only think in numbers of concrete number. 2 plus 1 will give you 3, an odd number. But when asked for “any” even number, they are unsure 4. Formal Operations Stage (age 12 –adulthood) a. Can reason about abstract, hypothetical events (can think in terms of what is and what might be). What’s real and what’s hypothetical b. Ask a 13 year old if you had a third eye, where would you put it. They will find this question very interesting c. However, not everyone will reach this stage d. Children at different ages will also reason differently about moral rules, rules of right and wrong Part 2: Moral Development Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Example: Jack Coral: Developed killing machines  Is it morally right or wrong to assist someone is suicide?  The act itself is neither moral nor immoral. The morality of an act depends on the reasoning behind the act.  Three levels of moral reasoning ( each level has 2 stages) 1. Preconventional Morality (
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