COGS 1 Lecture 17: How Do We Become Socially Skilled?

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Cognitive Science
Mary Boyle

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 HOW DO WE BECOME SOCIALLY SKILLED ? -Professor Gedeon O. Deak ➢ Why study development? ○ “explaining [quantum physics] is child’s play compared to [explaining] child’s play” - Albert Einstein ○ Why is it important? ■ Basis for deciding how to treat disabilities ■ Potential to improve education; parenting ■ Improve the lives of infants/children at risk ie. low income children have a worse prognosis for education, health, etc. outcomes → can look at the impacts of children in regions in the middle of a war ■ To know a trait, and know how it emerges ● ie. Walking emerges in various ways, but every infant first starts with alternating leg flexion ➢ Development of Social Skills ○ What sorts of skills (basic)? ■ Kin recognition or “system identification” ie. in hooved mammals, infants and their mothers are able to recognize each other by smell (when the baby is born, the mother licks the amniotic fluid off the baby which changes her olfactory system/cues) → evolutionarily, it’s so that the mother isn’t feeding all of the children, just their own ● Humans can use smell to recognize people (also voice → can hear the mother when in utero due to prenatal experience) but vision is the primary sense used ○ Some things are people, and they do useful things for you. What are people like? ■ What do people look like? ■ How do people move around? ● Bertenthal et al, 1987. Do 3-month-olds discriminate biological motion? → infants are sensitive to some sense of biological motion - they are learning some expectation of actions/behaviors in the world ● when changing the orientation of the pattern (ie. a person walking) we lose the perception of the person ● Habituation - with the repetition of a stimulus, the response is lessened
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