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Nov 11 - Cognitive.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

November 11 , 2013 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) – Stanford Binet IQ Test. Kids’ mistakes on reasoning tasks revealed how cognitive abilities to develop. Spent next 60 years of his life interacting with children. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Four Stages: 1. Sensorimotor Stage (age 0-2 years)  Infants can’t represent objects in thought (can only respond to what they see, hear, touch – what they experience with their senses)  Lacks an understanding of object permanence (objects continue to exist even when they cant be seen) – peek-a-boo 2. Preoperational Stage (age 2-7)  Use language (representational thought) words represent things/objects  Understanding of “concepts” is weak (abstract idea about what a group of objects has in common) (Ex. What cats have in common – has fur, meows, etc. so can distinguish a cat when we see one) o Rely on one property to define concepts – saw a cow and thought it was a dog, might think all cars are daddy’s cars o Engage in “animistic” thinking (if an object moves, it must be alive)  Thinking tends to be “egocentric” (perceive world in terms of their own perspective) – why is the sky blue? Because that’s my favourite colour o Assume other people see world as they do (leave out important background info)  Lack firm grasp of cause-effect relations (e.g., will a bike work if you remove the chain?) o Also assume that “effect” is “cause”  Ex. Why does the sun go down? Because I go to sleep.  Why did Timmy fall off his bike? Because he broke his arm.  Don’t understand logical rules (or “logical operations”) o E.g., conservation: properties of an object are “conserved” even if you change the shape of an object  Conservation of liquid – if you pour water from short fat glass to tall skinny glass, amount of water doesn’t change but kids think it does  Substance – changing shape of clay November 11 , 2013  Numbers – don’t understand that if 2+3=5, then 3+2 must also equal 5 3. Concrete Operational Stage (age 7-12)  Can perform logical operations on “concrete” events (not on abstract or hypothetical events) E.g., if add 1 to an even number, get an odd number o Understand this only for numbers they have concrete experience with 4. Formal Operations Stage (age 12 though adulthood)  Can reason about abstract, hypothetical events (can think in terms of what is an what might be) Part 2: Moral Development Kohlberg’s Theory Example: Is it morally right or wrong to assist someone in suicide? The act itself is neither moral nor immoral. The morality of an act depends on the reasoning behind it. Three levels of moral reasoning (each with two stages) Level 1: Preconventioanl Morality (
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