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Lecture 1

PSYC 437 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Cognitive Development, Inductive Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning

Course Code
PSYC 437
David Schwartz

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Cognitive Development:
Cognitive Transitions:
Thinking about possibilities
- The central feature of this transition is a movement from inductive reasoning to
deductive reasoning.
-The capacity to make more accurate predictions about the future. As opposed to
child’s here and now way of thinking
Thinking about abstract concepts
Meta-Cognition (Thinking about thinking)
Thinking in multiple dimensions
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Inductive: reasoning based on the accumulated information. This type of
reasoning is dependent on the specific information that is available.
Does professor Schwartz have a graduate degree? All of the professors I have had
at USC have graduate degrees. So, professor Schwartz has a graduate degree.
Deductive: Logical connections are made between different items of information.
Schwartz is a professor at USC
USC requires that all professors have graduate degrees
Professor Schwartz must have a graduate degree
Don’t need to have direct experience
Can be flawed if the assumptions you are making are incorrect
Dependent on making logical connections
Important for perspective taking – can understand where other people are coming
from and their actions.
Critical for sophisticated behavior and relationships
Deductive Reasoning courtesy of Woody Allen
-Plato was a man, Plato was gay, all men are gay
Abstract and Concrete Thought:
Concrete Thought: Focus on observable properties of objects or situations.
Abstract Thought: Recognition of higher-order relations between objects that may
not be observable. The capacity to reason based on inferred properties.
Abstract Thought: Inferring beyond what is observable, critical for relationships,
critical for understanding laws and society

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One Swallow does not a summer make:
-Using concrete thinking, what would this statement suggest?
If you see only one bird, it is not beginning of summer
How would the meaning change if you used abstract thinking?
Metaphor: the first instance does not determine everything. For example, just because
there was traffic one day, doesn’t mean there is going to be congestion another day.
Never judge a book by its cover:
Concrete: don’t read a book because you will like the cover
Abstract: do not judge someone on the outer appearance
Meta-Cognition: Thinking about Thinking
Why is meta cognition important (refines logic and thought process)
In early stages, it can make someone self-centered or egocentric because they are
focused on their own thought processes.
A child might be able to solve a difficult problem but will not understand how he
or she solved the problem
An adolescent is capable of introspection and can understand his or her own
thought processes. As a result, adolescents can improve their reasoning abilities.
Multidimensional Thinking:
Reality is complex, and if you can see thing in multiple perspectives, you can take
more in.
Children tend to conceptualized situations from one specific perspective, whereas
adolescents can simultaneously consider multiple aspects.
Multidimensional thinking allows for a better understanding of probabilities, and
more accurate predictions for the future.
Relativism: (appreciate a continuum of possibilities),
Children tend to think in black and white, all or nothing terms. They can’t see
anything in shades.
For example, in children’s cartoon a character is either good or bad. There is
nothing in between.
Adolescents can appreciate a continuum of possibilities.
Thinking becomes less absolute and there is recognition for variability
There is compromise, multiple perspectives, between the parents and adolescents.
Jean Piaget: (Stage like Process) // “Pig”… Development Stage
Cognitive development is a stage-like process, which is marked by fundamental
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