Cognitive Development 1/30/2013 6:53:00 PM
Issues in development
Next time: Piaget
Video: newborn baby. Baby can do pretty much anything. All the systems
are working. They are developed. They are prepared for life on the first day
What influences development?
How does the change in the newborn?
How does the visual system change over the first few months of
If an individual was completely unable to experience arousal, but still
reported an experience of emotion, this would argue strongly against which
theory of emotion?
A. James-Lange (arousal right before emotion, if no arousal, then no
experience no emotion. Arousal is essential for emotion.)
B. Schacter’s two factor theory
C. Lazarus’ cognitive appraisal
D. Common sense theory
E. None of these
Development=change in abilities over time (there is time trend in there,
there is a temporal trend) What influences Development
It’s always both nature and nurther
It is an interaction
Nature determines the range (genetically coded, tall or short)
Nurture chooses the alternatives (nourishment, and environment. )
Discontinuous…stages are separated by rapid growth
o Stage 1, 2 3 etc..
Qualitative different between stages. Could be ability based or
physical. Eg. Butterfly starts with caterpillar and stage 2 is
caterpillar with wings then stage 3 is butterfly.
Smooth, continual change, no stages Quantitative difference. Eg. Infants to adult. They all look the same,
no big difference. Eg. Adult can do better than infants. Growing into
a larger, better example of an species.
Normative vs Individual
Typical sequence of change. Eg. The average 2 years old can do
this, the average 5 years old can do this by looking at the sequence
Look for consistency. Methodology is cross-sectional (2 years old
compared with 5 years old. Looking for consistency in behaviors)
Consistency not there
Look at individual. Methodology is longitudinal (eg. Not a group of
2 years old compared with another groups of 5 years old. Instead,
only measure the same group of people, when they are 2 years old
and after 3 years measure them again.) it’s the same individual but
it’s time consuming..one study takes many years. Research is too
long. Whereas cross-sectional is a lot faster.
Brain Development (physical development)
A lot of change
100-200 Billion neurons at birth
neurons not produced after second trimester (6 months)
Increase in weight (350-1400 g) due to glial cells & myelination.
Axons are becoming myelinated. Not because of neurons. Number of synapses have increased rapidly. Neurons are richer in
Cortical development “mirrors” emergence of abilities
o Frontal lobe develops last (most human part of us, decision
o It takes 4-21 years to get frontal lobe wired up.
Taste & Smell
Very much like adult
o Suck faster for sweet liquid
o Reject salty liquid. Can taste different between sweet and
salty on day one
o Pleasant expression for bananas
o Frown (disgust expression) for rotten eggs
This suggests that facial expression is hardwired. It’s there very
early Hearing: at birth
Responds to wide variety of sounds
o Prefer complex sounds
o Especially sensitive to sounds in range of human voice
(especially mom. Kids love mom voice. They suck more when
hearing mom’s voice)
o When do kids start hearing mom’s voice? Read books to baby
when they are still in the womb. 2 days after the baby is
born, the mom read the book vs. someone else reading the
same book, the baby suck faster. If the mom change to
another book (the baby hasn’t heard that in the womb) the
baby will suck less.
1st few days
o turn head toward sounds
o discriminate sound sequences
Basic machinery working at birth
Iris gray or blue..pigment comes later (all kids have gray or blue
eyes at birth)
Pupil not able to fully dilate (it is a good because if it is fully dilate
there will be too much light coming in. the retina is not formed
Retina not completely formed but it is working.
o Gaze at nearby objects and people (they want to see things
that are moving around. They like complex material/stimuli)
o Visual tracking (need to make sure infants can follow the
stimulus. Should be able to follow the stimulus. Make sure the
visual system is working properly)
o Turn head to keep object in view (if you move it away they
will keep looking for it because they like complex stimuli.
They want to keep the complex stimuli in view)
o Visual accommodation not well-developed, but can focus 18-
38 cm. out of that range is completely out of focus. No need much more accommodation. The kids are going to pick up
gradually later on. On first day it’s okay to have that
accommodation, it will increase.
o Visual acuity about 20/600 (not too well)
o Improves steadily over first eight months
That’s why they like complex stimuli because they can’t
see it very well…so they need complex stimuli. Other
stimuli would be too boring for them
o some depth perception
roughly judge object distance
o binocular vision only
cannot judge distance with one eye covered (can’t see it
with one eye)
this suggests that monocular cues are not there at
birth. It needs to be learned. Need experience.
Binocular is hardwired.
o Slowly starting to have sensory system, human vision.
o can reach for nearby toys
o need to be able to see it and roughly know the distance
o need to move the arm to the right place to get the stuff. This
is hard. motor behavior. Can’t reach accurately though.
o ability to accurately grasp
o can hit that. They are doing mobilization and space. 9-10 months
o avoid deep end of visual cliff
o have depth perception. Will not crawl over to deep end of
visual cliff. They know they will get hurt if they near the cliff.
At birth: “bundle of reflexes”, need to know how my muscles work.
Reflexes of nature. They are neurologically based. They test it. If
it’s not there then there must be neurological problem
Babinski: toes fan when sole of foot touched. Toes spread (it will
disappear). This is for walking. You want your toes to spread so you
have more surface area grasping the ground.
grasping: fingers clench object in hand. It is a reflex. It is
important because if you fall off something you want to grab onto
something to survive (evolutionary view)
Rooting: head turns to object on cheek Moro: sudden head shift…arms swing up (they are trying to grab
something because they don’t want to fall)
Note: most reflexes disappear as child grows. Eg.., Babinski should
be gone by eight months. If it is not leaving, then there is
neurological problem. It should fade away but it’s not fading away.
Motor Development is:
Cephalocaudal: progresses from head to feet
o You control your head, shoulder etc than feet. Head always
Proximodistal—proceeds from centre of body to extremities.
o Ability to move from centre to extreme. Move arms first
before using fingers.can move arms all the time but can’t
develop fine control of fingers until sometimes later.
Kids walk at different times. Some kids will be earlier than mean and some
kids might be faster than the mean. Jean Piaget and Cognitive Development
Most important person in cognitive development and psychology. He has a
lot of theories. He has strong influence on cognitive development.
What kids do the kind of things that they are able to do..he learns about
kids, observes kids
Observed own children
o Found that kids don’t think the same way as adults
o 4 stages of cognitive development. He is a stage theorist. A
lot of the observation is on his own kids so it is not
o Note: age ranges approximate stages not completely
1. Sensory- Motor Intelligence (0-2 years). They are able to do something
2. Preoperational (2-7 years), still can’t do a lot of things that adults do
3. period of Concrete Operations (7-11), gathering more things that you are
able to do..
4. Period of Formal Operations (11 years +), thinking like an adult. Around
Piaget is a stage theorist
He does this by looking at his own kids.
This is a standard theory that people look at. But not everyone agrees..are
there consistencies? Cognitive Development 1/30/2013 6:53:00 PM
Stages of Development
Next Time: Social Development
Video: smile of stimulation
Child is learning new information everyday..mom’s voice, face..human face
Babies are bombarded with complicated information
Process of neuron system gearing itself up and learning new information
3 months old can make crucial distinction
habituation: reduction in the babies responding with repeating stimulus.
Baby is going to be bored after seeing the same picture for a long time.
Mind is improved at grasping the abstract concept as baby grows.
Babies as young as 6 old are able to discriminate things. They can see
differences in faces and response to them accordingly. A kid at 6 months old
can discriminate more than a kid younger than 6 months old. Brain is
simulating information. Taking information from the world and take in to
How do young children think? (there are differences)
How do these cognitive processes change over time? (stages in
between infant to adult-like)
Does everyone support Piaget? (not everyone believes that, theory
needs to be revised etc..)
Which of the following statements about newborns is false?
A. newborns prefer sounds presented to them while still in the womb.
B. Newborns can see at birth
C. Newborns show some imitation
D. Newborns can not discriminate odours. Babies can discriminate
odours. Newborns don’t like the smells that their moms don’t like. Imitate
their mothers. E. Brain weight at birth is about 50% of the eventual adult brain
Nothing exists apart from child’s own perceptions and motor
reactions. You’re not thinking about stuff, you can putting things
No self concept. Children don’t realize that they are individuals. It
Look at organization of sensory and motor reactions
o Piaget schema.
o At birth..variety of reflexes (schema operate in isolation)
o Categorized on its own
o Not thinking about putting everything together but will start
to understand the world soon as they age a little bit and gain
o Coordination of activities not present until 5 months (both
hands…7 months) before you realizae that schemas go
together. Eg., this is my hand, locate targets, and grasp
things..also related/connected to visual system. Relate things
together not just isolate things
Child can imitate, but only if actions just produced
o Tracing it, not real imitations.
Importance of sensory (visual) feedback e.g. stick out tongue
o Rough acquisition by 11-12 months. Can copy things quiet
well, realize that they are individuals
o representational thought
o external world exists
o represented by some symbol
Object permanence (objects that are left visual field didn’t
disappear, just hidden somewhere. It’s). they know that the object
is still there. Kids develop this as they grow older. Preoperational Stage
Conceptual system of higher-order schemas
Rules not fully acquired until age 7
Inability to think in abstract rules. E.g., a 4 year old fails on
o Show that children don’t have abstract thought.
o A and B have same volume of cup, same shape. When B is
poured into C, a taller/narrower cup. They think C has more
water than A.
o Child centers on appearance. If the appearance is changed,
they think the result changes as well. No concept of
conservation. Unable to reverse the process. Numbers have
little meaning..only focus on appearance.
o As you grow older, the concept of conservation develops in
children. They are more logical and they develop reversible
thinking. Conservation of number..
Other conservation tasks
o Length (vertical length, height)
o Substance (same amount of stuff)
o Can’t manipulate things in their head. They have no abstract
Preoperational kids tend to attend to only one aspect of a stimulus.
E.g., height, length.
Older kids (5 or 6) realize that other aspects may be relevant, but
do not really take them into account.
o you slowly realize what is relevant.
o So if you change something, they think everything is
o It takes time for the ability to develop.
o Inability to “take the place of the other”
o Inability to put themselves in a different perspectives.
o Need to be able to reverse my current perspective. Children
before 7 years old can’t do this The 3-mountain problem
Child looking at the mountain, a teddy bear is
placed in the mountain
Child is able to see in one perspective but can’t
put himself in the place of the teddy bear and
unable to know what the mountain looks like from
the teddy bear’s point of view.
7 year old shows reversible thinking
o do reverse transformation and bring the things back to the
Children learn to decenter
Understand transformation and conservation
Begin to think logically but understanding still tied to physical world
Children start to show empathy at age 7, feel sorry for someone. So
they are able to put themselves in other people’s place; thinking
logically and putting themselves in different perspectives
o Eg. (8&9 yr old)-4 is an even number and 4+1 is an odd
o But not the general rule (thinking abstractly) even +1 = odd
o Need to relate to concrete objects (that’s why grade teacher
shows children to count apples). Need real world examples.
Formal Operations (final stage)
higher level of abstraction (like adult)
think logically. E.g., can play “20 questions” by starting generally
o starting with general to specific and figure out what it is.
younger kids simply guess
o they don’t get the idea of start with general and deduce down
to specific..they simply guess (random things) and then they
will give up.
Piaget not consistently supported Bundle of Reflexes?
Consider object permanence (it is a milestone, if you have this
ability then you move onto next level)
o 4 month olds shown a rod that moved behind a block
habituate. Baby will get tired of it.
o What they might see is not a rod, might be 2 broken pieces
because the middle part is hidden by the rod.
Which attracts more attention? Kids look at B more but Piaget
predicted A. 4months old can do that but Piaget has a hard
time explaining it. 3-6 months old
o know which one is impossible so they stare at it longer
o Piaget: infants “know” that objects exist, but are very inept at
searching for them.
o This is against Piaget. Social Development 1/30/2013 6:53:00 PM
Critique of Piaget
Next time: Growing Old
Scan: Finish Chapter 12
Video: infants have feelings, emotions. 2-10 months infants when looking at
mirrors they don’t recognize it as themselves, they just laugh. At 18
month, children when looking at mirror can recognize that the individuals in
the mirror are themselves. Moral sense of