Psy Beh 101D - Lecture 6 - Cognitive Development.rtf

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Psychology and Social Behavior
Kara Thorsen

Cognitive Development Life Span Developmental Psychology August 11 , 2011 Lecture 6: Cognitive Development  Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development  Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development  Cognitive Changes inAdulthood Jean Piaget (optional)  Swiss developmental psychologist  Received his doctorate in natural history and philosophy at the age of 21  Studied the development of his own children  Arguably one of the most important figures in the history of developmental psychology Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development  Active construction of mental structures that help us adapt to the world  Systematic changes in thinking: Four stages of development o Progressively advanced and qualitatively different o Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operations and Formal Operations  Believed six processes used in constructing knowledge o Schemes and organization o Assimilation andAccommodation o Equilibrium and Equilibration Schemes  Actions or mental representations that organize knowledge o Behavioral schemes: physical activities characterizing infancy  E.g., sucking, looking, grasping o Mental schemes: cognitive activities develop in childhood  E.g., problem solving strategies, plans, classifying objects Organization  Through organization, children systematically group isolated schemes into a higher-order cognitive system  E.g., Group items (apples, grapes) into categories (fruit) Adaptation  Process through which schemes are altered as a result of experience o Assimilation andAccommodation  Both operate even in very young infants  Assimilation: Using existing schemes to understand new information or experience o E.g., Scheme for “train,” then calls all moving vehicles “train” or says, “choo- choo” o E.g., Use scheme “mouthing” to explore all new objects  Accommodation: adjust existing schemes or create new schemes when new information or experiences do not fit into existing schemes Equilibrium and Equilibration  As children explore the world, they will experience things that do not fit with their existing schemes o Counterexamples and inconsistencies Disequilibrium  Motivation for change o Intrinsic need: Disequilibrium Equilibrium  Change over time leads to a qualitative equilibration: qualitative cognitive shift from one stage of thought to the next. Stages of Development  Sensorimotor (0-2 years)  Preoperational (2-7 years)  Concrete Operational (7-11 years)  Formal Operational (11-15 years) Sensorimotor Stage  Birth to about 2 years  Infants construct understanding of world by coordinating sensory experiences (seeing, hearing) with motoric actions (grasping, sucking)  Contains six substages Sensorimotor Substages (see the chart in your book; will not be covered in lecture) 1. Simple reflexes 2. First habits and primary circular reactions 3. Secondary circular reactions 4. Coordination of secondary circular reactions 5. Tertiary circular reactions, novelty and curiosity 6. Internalization of schemes Object Permanence  Understanding that people, objects, and events continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched o Piaget method of testing: cover toy with blanket  Accomplished during the sensorimotor stage (6-8 months) o Baillargeon’s violation of expectation testing  Object permanence at 3.5 months?  Piaget’s methods were not sensitive to other realms of development (e.g., motor development)  Possible vs. Impossible events Preoperational Stage  About 2 to 7 years of age; two substages  Children begin to represent the world with words, images, and drawings (symbolic thinking) o NOT ready to perform Operations: internalized actions that allow children to do mentally what they only did physically before  E.g.,Adding and subtracting numbers  Symbolic Function Substage (2-4 yrs): children gain the ability to mentally represent an object that is not present  Limitations: o Egocentrism: Inability to distinguish between one’s own and another’s view  The Three Mountains Task o Animism: Belief that inanimate objects have lifelike qualities, capable of action  Intuitive Thought Substage (4-7 years): Children begin using primitive reasoning and want to know answers to all so
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