Nature VS Nurture
Continuity VS Stages
Stability VS Change
o Across developmental stages
How Do We Study Preverbal Infants’ Abilities?
Habituation– reduced responding to something that is experienced
Preferential Looking- looking time
Sucking Rate- play different sounds??
Electrophysiology- non invasive. Watch brain responses
What Can Newborns Do?
They have no top-down processing, no previous understanding//being
bombarded with information and expected to learn.
Physical: motor reflexes
o Rooting- turning cheek
Different types of cries (annoyed, hungry, in pain)
Social: imitation// have ability to mimic faces
Preferential Attention in Newborns
Speech over non-speech sounds
Native (mom’s) language
Exaggerate sounds (sing-songy)
Now called “parentese”
Faces or face likes stimuli
Most cells are present at birth
Early development involves creating networks and “pruning”
Enormous plasticity at birth (much more malleable at young age than
at old age)
First, infants begin to roll over. Next, they sit unsupported, crawl, and finally walk.
Experience has little effect on this sequence.
Sitting unsupported: 6 months
Crawling: 8-9 months
Beginning to walk: 12 months
Walking independently: 15 months
*understand stages (sitting before crawling, etc), not actual
details (i.e. crawling at 8-9 months)
Previously didn’t realize how powerful associative learning is in
Associative learning (2-3 month olds)
o Example: amount of kicking when hooked up to a string
(connected to a mobile) compared to kicking without anything
Earliest “autobiographical” memories come from about 3 ½ years-5
years of age
Original memory VS reconstructed memory
o Reconstructed= seeing pictures + hearing the story so many
times that you believe that you remember it
o To verify… in your memory are you small?
We are clearly learning, but how come we cannot remember things?
We don’t have a good language system
Can talk by 3, but pretty fluent by 3 years old
o Sense of self
Need to know that you are a separate entity
i.e. when playing hide + seek or when in trouble..
you close your eyes thinking you have disappeared
Our understanding of the categories/classes of things, relationships
Our cognitive development is shaped by our environment and the
errors we make
o Learn from trial and error: trying to slide on a mini slide,
trying to get in a mini toy car Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
Biologist (moved from studying mollusks to his own children!)
1. Schemas & Language
o Schemas are mental models of the world. Children learn through
assimilation and accommodation.
i.e. Gabriella learns schema for “cow” from her
picture books. She sees a moose and calls it a “cow”
she is trying to assimilate this new animal into an
existing scheme. Her mother tells her, “no it’s a
moose” Gabriella accommodates her schema for large,
shaggy animals an