ALL NOTES ONE PLACE MIDTERM 1
LECTURE 1- INTRODUCTION
Children’s thinking refers to the thinking that takes place from the moment of birth through to the
end of adolescence.
- Thinking involves higher mental processes: problem solving, reasoning, conceptualizing,
remembering, classifying, symbolizing, planning, etc.
- Childrens thinking is always changing
o Devries (1969) interested in 3-6 year olds understanding of the difference
between appearance and reality. Had them pet and get to know a cat named
Maynard. When experimenter asked them what he was, they all knew he was a
cat. The experimenter then put a mask of a fierce dog on Maynard’s face. The
experimenter said, “look now it has the face of a dog. So what is this animal?”
Many of the 3 year olds thought Maynard had turned into a dog, but the 6 year
olds knew that he was still a cat and that the mask did not change the animal’s
Are some capabilities innate?
- Continuum of views: Nature vs. Nurture
- Associationist perspective
o English philosophers 1700’s -1800’s John Locke, David Hume, John Stuart Mill
o Suggested that infants come into the world with only minimal capabilities,
primarily the ability to associate experiences with each other. Therefore infants
must acquire virtually all capacities and concepts through learning.
- Constructivist perspective – developed by Jean Piaget 1920’s-1970’s
o Suggest that infants are born possessing not only these associative capabilities
but also several important perceptual and motor capabilities. Although few in
number and limited in scope, these capabilities allow infants to explore their
environment and to construct increasingly sophisticated concepts and
o E.g. infants in first 6 months are said not to be able to form mental
representations of objects and events, but through actively manipulating and
investigating objects, they are said to become capable of forming such
representations later in their first year.
- Competent infant perspective
o Based on more recent research (Spelke and Newport 1998)
o Suggest both the other approaches seriously underestimate infants’ capabilities.
Within this view, even young infants have a much wider range of perceptual skills
and conceptual understandings than had previously been suspected.
o These capacities allow infants, in a rudimentary way, to perceive the world and to
classify their experiences along many of the same dimensions that older children
and adults use.
General learning mechanisms:
- Imitation – of adults
- Statistical learning – extracting sequential patterns from input. Does development progress through stages?
Does children’s thinking progress through qualitatively different stages?
- Charles Darwin – in his book the descent of man, he discussed the development of
reason, curiosity, imitation, attention, imagination, language and self-consciousness.
Over a vast period of time that living things have populated the earth, they have evolved
through a series of qualitatively distinct forms. Aka we can measure it by quality.
- In early 20 century james mark Baldwin hypothesized a set of plausible stages of
intellectual devt. Suggested that children progressed from a sensorimotor stage (in
which sensory observations and motor interactions with the physical environment were
the dominant form of thought, to a quasilogical, logical and finally a hyperlogical stage).
Baldwins theory influenced Jean PIAGET.
- What do we mean by ‘qualitatively different stages’?
o Qualitative differences focus on changes in the way children think, behave, and perceive the world differently
as they mature, as opposed to quantitatively different stages, which refer to the changes children encounter
as they acquire more knowledge and grow physically larger and stronger. An example of quantitative
differences would be a child who, after two years, has grown two inches and gained 10 pounds. Growth in
height and weight indicates a quantitative difference.
- Contrast: Stages (steps) vs. Continuous (slope)
o Developmental theorists that took an evolutionary stance hypothesized that
children would make the transition from one stage to the next suddenly.
o Associationist philosophers such as John Locke believed in continuous (slope) in
that children’s thinking develops through the gradual accretion of innumerable
Flavell noted 4 key implications of the stage concept:
1. Stages imply qualitative changes
2. Concurrence assumption – children make the transition from one stage to another on
many concepts simultaneously. E.g. when in stage 1, they show stage 1 reasoning in
all concepts, and in stage 2 they show stage 2 reasoning in all concepts. In other
words, when they make the shift to the next stage they make the shift for all concepts
all at once. Uniformity across domains. (Domains are distinct knowledge areas such
as reading, understanding, etc.). There is an expectation that if you are at a
particular stage for one domain, that you are at the same stage for other domains.
3. Abruptness assumption - children move from one sage to the next swiftly/suddenly
rather than gradually.
4. Coherent organization – the childs understanding is viewed as being organized into a
sensible whole, rather than being composed of many independent pieces of
- Examples of stage-like changes?
o Stage - metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.
- James Mark Baldwin Jean Piaget
- argues stages for change – there is a qualitative change
- Piaget built on James Mark Baldwin’s theory. Baldwin came up with basic stage theory
and Piaget expanded on it. - We’re arguing there is qualitative change taking place
What drives change/how does change occur
- Mechanisms of change vary across theories. Some examples:
o Piaget suggested that the basic mechanisms that produce all cognitive changes
are ASSIMILATION and ACCOMODATION
Assimilation is taking new information and fitting it into what you already
• E.g. A child seeing a zebra for the first time and calling it a horse.
The child assimilates this information into her schema for a horse.
Accommodation - You restructure your existing knowledge to fit with the
• E.g. when the child accommodates information, they take into
consideration the different properties of a zebra compared to a
horse, perhaps calling a zebra a horse with stripes. When they
eventually learn the name of zebra, she has accommodated this
o Information processing approach –
Automatization- executing mental processes increasingly efficiently so
that they require less and less attention. In other words, a skill or
behaviour becomes automatic as opposed to effortful once learned.
Encoding – involves identifying the most informative features of objects
and events and using those features to form internal representations of
the objects and events.
Generalization – the extension of knowledge acquired in one context to
Strategy construction – discovery of a new procedure to solve a problem
How do individuals differ?
- There is not only variability among ages, but also variability across children of any given
- Alfred Binet and Theophile simon hired in 1980’s to develop a test to identify children
who would have trouble learning from standard classroom procedures and who therefore
would need special education.
- The Binet Simon test included questions that were intuitively related to many aspects of
intelligence: language, memory, reasoning and problem solving.
- Tests distinguish between a child’s chronological age and a child’s mental age.
- IQ= mental age x 100
- We know that children vary in terms of:
o Intelligence (IQ scores); can be predicted to some degree performance in school;
and also are stable through time. Based on habituation rate in infancy (how long
they pay attention to something, extract information out of it, and then switch their
attention to something else.
The more quickly they habituated the higher their scores were.
(represents the time it took for them to encode the information). The kids
who could do that faster did better in other measures in future.
o Language (e.g. vocabulary) **don’t really need to know the anatomy of the brain
How do changes in the brain contribute to cognitive development?
- Why ask this question?
o False belief task – prefrontal cortex
o We can ask questions about the effect of changes in the brain at different brain
a) Brain as a whole - tremendous growth from birth to adulthood - 400g at birth
to 1450g in adulthood
b) Structures within the brain –
Subcortical and Cortical regions change in relative size and activity
Different lobes are implicated in different activities, for example:
• temporal - perception and recognition of auditory stimuli (hearing)
and olafactory (smell)
• frontal - reasoning, planning, problem-solving
Changes in the cerebral cortex have been associated with some specific
changes in cognitive ability
• for example, changes the prefrontal cortex are associated with
changes in children’s ability to think about others’ minds
c) Changes in neurons
for example, myelination affects the transmission of signals
• Myelination: process in which neural fibers are coated with an
insulating fatty sheath (called myelin) that greatly improves the
efficiency of message transfer
d) Synaptogenesis (formation of synapses between neurons)
general pattern: overproduction and pruning
• overproduction is developing early in life a large proliferation of
these synapses. When a baby is very young (10 months) this
synaptogenesis goes away as the child gets older
• pruning isa neurological regulatory process, which facilitates changes
in neural structure by reducing the overall number of neurons and
synapses, leaving more efficient synaptic configurations
production is determined by genetics, pruning is affected by experience
(example with the babies recognizing monkey faces)
- Benefits of overproduction? Plasticity (ability to recover from drastic
damage/stroke), and ease of acquisition
How Does the Social World Contribute to Cognitive Development?
What kinds of factors are included when we talk about ‘the social world’?
Piaget – claim his stages are universal and culture is irrelevant. Not affected by
Interaction between different groups within society. Between communities,
presence of other people and what their relation is to you, society’s expectations
or those you interact with’s expectations of you.
Focus on social world varies across theories
Sociocultural theories emphasize the role of the social world Vygotsky***IMPORTANT
Developmental change is conceptualized as occuring not only in
individual childrens knowledge and cognitive processes, but also in
childrens roles in social interactions and in their ways of participating in
culturally determined forms of behaviour.
o Bronfenbrenner focused on the reciprocal influence of person and environment
1) microsystem: the setting in which an individual lives. This context includes the person’s
family, peers, school and neighborhood.
2) mesosystem: involves relationships between microsystems, or connections between
3) exosystem: is involved when experiences in a social setting in which the individual does not
have an active role influences what the individual experiences in an immediate context.
4) macrosystem: involves the culture in which individuals live
5) chronosystem: this system encompasses the dimension of time as it relates to a child’s
environments (e.g., parent’s death, physiological changes, changes in relation to environment
as children age, etc.).
Vygotsky is an important name here as well (more on him soon).
Jean Piaget –
- Why do we
time to Piaget? 1. Piaget addressed fundamental issues
2. the theory had exceptional breadth
3. Piaget made a number of very interesting observations. In other words, the
questions that he asked still inspire research in the area of children’s
4. First real comprehensive theory of development
5. He did research to support his claims
6. A lot of work today is inspired by the questions he asked. Gave us a good place
to start in understanding cognition
- Biology and philosophy – genetic epistemology
o Epistemology is the study of knowledge, aka genetic epistemology is the
development of knowledge. He wanted to know where knowledge came from.
o As opposed to Darwin asking “how did people evolve?”, he asks “how did
knowledge evolve?” aka from a scientific standpoint
Nature of the theory – it is a stage theory
Different way of understanding that makes one stage more advanced than another and a
qualitative shift in thinking
At a given point in development , children reason similarly on many problems.
Theory entails that there is consistency (concurrence assumption)
Stages are linked by age
He is a constructivist – children construct their own cognitive worlds.
- Children can be seen as scientific problem solvers – he sees them as active
constructors of knowledge. And the way they solved problems as infants was indicative
of how they could adapt to the challenges later in life that were posed.
o Equilibration only occurs when something disrupts the childs equilibrium (what
they perceive as normal). Encountering problems leads to cognitive growth
o We can gain more insight when observing reactions to unfamiliar situations. Can
reveal the reasoning behind their decisions as opposed to if the situation is
familiar/they already know the answer
- The role of activity – assimilation, accommodation and equilibration are all active
processes by which the mind transforms and is transformed by incoming information.
- Methodological considerations -
- They use schemas – a way of understanding things in the world.
Schema: a concept or framework that exists in an individual’s mind to organize and interpret
information; a mental pattern; mental structure held in the mind to direct and control behavior
Progress from on stage to another the result of three change mechanisms:
Assimilation involves the incorporation of new information into existing knowledge we make
reality fit our minds
• Not a passive process - environmental input is often modified/distorted to be
incorporated into existing schemas • Example – in textbook the baby assuming that a man who has hair that looks like a
clown is a clown because that is what fits his schema of what a clown looks like
Accommodation occurs when individuals adjust schemas to new information we make our
minds fit reality
• occurs when when info cannot be interpreted with existing schemas actively modify
• Example? Daddy is daddy and all men are not daddy. Teaching that men are men and
only one person is daddy.
• Cats and tigers
**POSSIBLE TEST QUESTION CONTRAST THESE AND GIVE EXAMPLES
Equilibration refers to the organism’s attempt to keep its cognitive structures in balance and
integrate knowledge into a coherent whole
- a mechanism that explains the shift from one stage of thought to the next
- shifts occur because of cognitive conflict (disequilibrium)
- the conflict is resolved through assimilation and accommodation to reach a balance
2) shortcomings in system lead to disequilibrium
3) more sophisticated mode of thought is reached (a more stable equilibrium)
OptionA: Info is too discrepant and is ignored.
Option B: Discrepant info is distorted (assimilation).
StateAbroadened but qualitatively unchanged
Option C: Current schemas modified (accommodation)
Amore stable state (State B) is created
Schematic representation of equilibration
Toy boats float
/and soap sinks
(Ivory soap floats)
(it doesn’t look like a toy
boat but doesn’t fit soap because soap isn’t supposed to float The Stage Model
• Four major periods:
- Sensorimotor (birth to ~ 2 years)
- Preoperational (~ 2 years to 6 or 7 years)
- Concrete operations (~ 6 or 7 to 11 or 12 years)
- Formal operations (~ 11 or 12 years onward)
• order is invariant and cannot be skipped
• stages are universal
1. Sensorimotor Period- (birth to ~ 2 years)
• Infant moves from simple reflexes to symbolic thought
• Breaks down in to 6 sub-stages
Sub-stage 1: Modification of reflexes (birth ~ 1 month)
o Basic reflexes become more adaptive. E.g. in the first days they suck similarly
regarding the type of object in their mouth. However by end of first month they
suck differently on a milk bearing nipple than on a harder, drier finger. (example
of accommodation in first month of life)
Sub-stage 2: Primary circular reactions (~1 to 4 months)
o Behaviours are repetitive (trying to duplicate some earlier positive event)
o begin to coordinate actions that were initially separate reflexes (e.g. grab and
o Limited in that they do not vary their behaviour, their behaviour has a large trial
and error component, and that the outcome only involves THEMSELVES (e.g.
sucking a finger)
Sub-stage 3: Secondary circular reactions (~ 4 to 8 mos.)
- Outcomes involve the outside world, beyond their bodies e.g. batting a
ball and watching it roll away).
- repeating again but OUTSIDE WORLD e.g. toy baby lies under makes
pleasant noise if baby hits it, so baby tried to replicate
- the components of circular reactions are organized more efficiently
(reacted more quickly and wasted less motion once they learned it and
tried to replicate it)
- only form goals directly suggested to them in the immediate environment Sub-stage 4: Intentional behaviour (~ 8 to 12 mos.)
- coordination of secondary circular reactions: two or more secondary circular
reactions become coordinated
- one circular reaction can be used in the service of another (e.g., move X to get
Y)more than one attempt to reach an object (e.g. if object is on the blanket, they
can grab blanket to reach object) if they act a certain way, particular effects will
- object permanence (form mental representations)
- goal directed activity (intentional)
Sub-stage 5: Tertiary circular reactions (~ 12 to 18 mos.)
- actions still repeated, but they deliberately vary both their own actions and
objects on which they act (active experimentation)
- a lot of learning at this stage is through trial-and-error
- E.g. Piaget’s son Laurent varying the positions of the fall of the toys he has (each
producing a different outcome). Does this a couple of different times in each spot,
as though to study the spatial location, and then he modifies the situation.
- Correspondence between intentions and behaviours becomes increasingly
precise, and exploration of the world becomes increasingly venturesome.
Sub-stage 6: Using Symbols (~ 18 to 24 mos.)
- Transitional period between sensorimotor and preoperational periods
- beginnings of representational thought
- symbolic functioning begins (language, pretend play)
- Deferred imitation possible (example? imitating in the future an action of
someone that they saw in the past) - Major accomplishment during sensorimotor period: Object Permanence
o an infant who is 4-6 months old and in the process of reaching for an
object will stop if an object is covered
• Piaget argued that the child ceased to believe the object existed out of
sight, out of mind
• Object permanence begins to be established around 8 months of age.
Piaget claimed that object permanence is established between 8- to 12-
months of age
• Challenge to this claim: Baillargeon (1987)
• Baillargeon (1987):
- Participants – age 4 months old. Had to use another method - habituation
- Method (habituation)
For example, the work of Renee Baillargeon (1987) has demonstrated that the concept of object
permanence may actually develop much sooner than the age of 8-12 months (as Piaget would have
Baillargeon believed that infants younger than eight months failed Piaget’s task because they were
lacking in the gross and fine motor movement required to reach out and remove the blanket from atop of
the toy. As a result,Baillargeon (1987) designed a study to test object permanence that did not require a
motor movement from the infant. In her study, Baillargeon (1987) seated a child in front of a large rotating
cardboard screen. She showed the infant several trials of the screen moving back and forth in a 180
degree motion (starting flat on the table and moving away from the child until it again came to rest flat on
the table). On some trials Baillargeon placed a block behind the rotating screen. On these trials the
screen would rotate away from the child and come to rest on the block (moving only approximately 110
degrees) (possible task). Finally, on some trials the block was placed in sight but then as the rotating
screen blocked it from view it was removed, allowing the screen to rotate the full 180 degrees and
seemingly right through the block (impossible task). Results from this study revealed that infants as young
as three and a half months looked significantly longer at the seemingly impossible task when compared to
the possible tasks (screen resting on the block or screen rotating through air). Baillargeon (1987)
interpreted this longer looking time as evidence that the infants knew that the block continued to exist
even though it was blocked from view and that they were ‘shocked’ that the screen seemingly rotated
right through it.
• Another accomplishment:
- infants between 8- to 12-months of age are still susceptible to making the A-not-B Error
- infants make inhibitory errors
- infants typically master this skill around12 months of age
Another task that Piaget is famous for involves having an experimenter show an infant a highly desirable
toy and place it within reach of either their left or right hand. The placement location of the toy is referred
to as ‘Location A.’ The desirable toy is then covered with an object, such as a blanket, and the infant is
given the opportunity to retrieve the toy. After hiding and retrieving the toy several times at Location A, the
experimenter moves the toy to the opposite side of the child (but in view of the child). This is referred to as ‘Location B.’When the toy is hidden again, and the child is given another chance to retrieve it,
surprisingly infants between 8 and 12 months of age reach for Location A rather than Location B! This is
what Piaget called the ‘A not B Error.’
But many child development researchers following Piaget have questioned whether infants really do not
understand that the toy has moved locations and that it now exists elsewhere. It was noted that a small
percentage of infants in Piaget's studies actually looked at Location B (where the toy was) while reaching
for Location A. These observations lead other researchers to come up with and use a novel design –
termed the 'violation of expectancy paradigm' - to further test Piaget’s notions about young infants’
ability to search for objects and their memory for object location.
(~ 2 to 6 or 7 years)
• deferred imitation is taken as evidence of the formation of internal (mental)
• development is seen as moving the child from being focused on self (egocentric) to
becoming more interactive e.g. the three mountains problem they can only see things
from their point of view
• unable to solve many problems that are critical indicators of logical reasoning
• focus on static states rather than transformations (e.g. trains example where two trains
ran parallel to one another. Once they stopped children were asked which one traveled
further (or was faster, or traveled for longer time). They focused usually on only one
feature, usually the stopping point. They chose the train that stopped further down the
track as the one that traveled further, went faster, and traveled for longer time.
• those in this stage center on individual perceptually striking features of objects to the
exclusion of other less striking features
A) Conversations change from collective monologue to children attending to one another
B) Symbols (personal, iconic) --> signs (conventions, arbitrary)
- This applies to symbol use more generally (e.g., DeLoache’s scale model research)
Symbol-Real World Relations
• Judy DeLoache research (e.g., DeLoache 2002, 2004)
- Child watches as “Little Snoopy” is hidden in model
- Child told that “Big Snoopy” is hidden in same place in big room
- Child asked to retrieve toy
- Child has to understand symbolic relation between model and big room
• 2 ½ year-olds don’t succeed on this task – they don’t know where to look for Big Snoopy
in the big room
Dual representation: to use a symbolic artifact, it must be represented mentally in two
ways at the same time (as a real object and a symbol of something other than itself).
However when they put the scale model behind plexiglass some 2 year olds were more
C) Spatial perspective taking ability is also limited at this stage
- Three mountain task (task is select a photo that matches another’s perspective) - Aim: Piaget and Inhelder (1956) wanted to find out at what age children decenter
- i.e. become no longer egocentric.
- Method: The child sits at a table, presented in front are three mountains. The
mountains were different, with snow on top of one, a hut on another and a red
cross on top of the other. The child was allowed to walk round the model, to look
at it, then sit down at one side. A doll is then placed at various positions of the
- The child is then shown 10 photographs of the mountains taken from different
positions, and asked to indicate which showed the dolls view. Piaget assumed
that if the child correctly picked out the card showing the doll's view, s/he was not
egocentric. Egocentrism would be shown by the child who picked out the card
showing the view s/he saw.
- Findings - Four-year-olds always chose a picture which matched their own view,
while six-year-olds showed some awareness of alternative perspectives. Only
seven- and eight-year-olds consistently chose the correct picture.
- Conclusion - At age 7, thinking is no longer egocentric as the child can see more
than their own point of view.
- Most 4-year-olds cannot do it
- Piaget saw children as achieving this skill early in the next period
• However …
- children do better with simpler, more familiar scenes
- example: 3- and 4-year-olds often succeed when the task is modified (e.g., Grover
version; Borke, 1975)
• there are a great many things that children at this age can’t do: they are preoperational
• children at this stage are overly influenced by the appearance of things and have a
great difficulty thinking about abstract concepts
• They tend to focus on one aspect of a problem and completely ignore others
Concrete Operations Period
(~ 6 or 7 to 11 or 12 years)
• children acquire an understanding of operations. mental representations of dynamic as
wel as static aspects of environment
Conservation: the realization that an entity remains the same despite changes in its form
• this ability is taken as the basis of all rational thinking
• general form of conservation task:
A = B
A ? B’
• Conservation Tasks: volume, number, and quantity
- Children look at two identical glasses with same amount of juice in them. They recognize
this. But when juice from one glass is poured into a taller skinnier one they think that it has
more juice in it. Even though it doesn’t actually have more in it they think there is.
Any possible limitations with this task? • There is some evidence that children may understand conservation earlier (Bruner,
1964; opaque screen)
• During this stage, children become able to
- understand that the operations performed can be reversed
- focus on more than one aspect at a time
Formal Operations Period
(~ 11 or 12 years and on)
• children can begin to think about the form of the argument (not just the content)
• formal operational thinkers are capable of logical and scientific thinking (e.g.,
chemical problem in text)
• they can engage in:
hypothetical-deductive reasoning: the process by which the formal operational thinker
systematically tests possible solutions to a problem and arrives at an answer that can be
defended and explained; involves the formation and evaluation of hypotheses
• thinkers at this stage are capable of
Abstract thinking: thinkers at this stage are able to
- better grasp abstract principles such as freedom, democracy and time
- engage in more meaningful question asking, and take part in conversations about
Metacognition: formal operation thinkers are capable of reflecting on their own thoughts
• still find some forms of egocentrism in adolescents:
- imaginary audience - an egocentric state where an individual imagines and believes that
multitudes of people are enthusiastically listening to or watching him or her (e.g. they may spend extra
time on make-up and hair to better appeal to the audience they feel they need to impress)
- personal fable -cognitive distortion in which adolescents believe thhighly special and unlike
anyone else who has ever walked the earth. Think the world revolves around them
• He did a lot of testing of his theories and found some support of them. Attempts
to replicate his studies were successful
• Served as a starting point for a lot of other research (asked a lot of questions,
may not have answered them but at least the questions were there)
• young childrens inarticulateness often creates a falsely pessimistic impression of
their cognitive abilities
• Baillargeon challenged piaget – he/she thought the concept of object permanence may
actually develop much sooner than the age of 8-12 months
• Newer results show that gradual improvements to memory (as opposed to
uniform all at once change) is to show instead.
• Research has shown that there is not always consistency across domains within
a stage. A kid could be at a 9 grade level for math but only at a 6 grade level
• lack of emphasis on effects of culture
• Kids have more important cognitive capabilities that he did not detect When examined closely, although he outs them in stages, the same changes often appear to be
part of a gradual progression
- link to age? Given a young child and an older one who both don’t understand a
concept, the older one will be able to understand it faster
Week 3 – information processing theories
• General Overview of the IPApproach
• Two IP Theories:
- Neo-Piagetian Approach (Robbie Case)
- Psychometric Approach
Defining assumptions of IP:
1. THINKING IS INFORMATION PROCESSING – rather than focusing on stages of
development, they focus on the information that children represent, the processes that
they apply to the information, and the memory limits that constrain the amount of info
they can represent and process. more precise
2. Emphasis on precise analysis of change mechanisms
- Identify the change mechanisms that contribute most to development and to
specify exactly how these change mechanisms work together to produce
- Attempt to explain both how children of given ages have come as far as they
have and why they have not gone further.
3. Change is produced by a process of continuous self-modification – outcomes generated
by a child’s activities change the way the child will think in the future.
Relation to Piagetian model?
- both aim to answer questions “what develops?” and “how does development
- both try to identify childrens cognitive capabilities and limits at various points
- both try to explain how later more advanced understandings grow out of more
- IP approaches place greater emphasis on the role of processing limitations,
strategies for overcoming the limitations, and knowledge about specific
- IP places greater emphasis on precise analyses of change and on the
contribution of ongoing cognitive activity to that change.
- PIAGETIAN approach in contrast seeks to characterize childrens thinking
across a broad range of tasks and content domains
- IP processes assume that our understanding of how children think can be
greatly enriched by knowledge of how adults think.
IP is a general model
• information processing (IP) theories try to account for the fact that our thinking is
constrained yet flexible
• no single IP theory of cognitive development IP theories share a set of assumptions
(e.g., acquisition, storage and retrieval of info) • two main aspects to IP: structural characteristics (rigid) and processes (flexible)
• change mechanisms: encoding, automatization, generalization, and strategy
• strong focus on mechanisms lead to a different type of theory/model construction
• usually, continuous change emphasized (no age defined categories): infant adult
Characteristics of IP (generally):
1) limited capacity (domain general vs. domain specific)
increases with age
Components in the model:
Sensory Memory: structural component of the system where information coming in from
the senses is held only briefly before being passed forward or lost (briefly retaining large
amounts of information before its lost
- iconic and echoic stores most widely studied
-E.g. Sperling (1960) presented college students with a 3x4 matrix of letters for 1/20 of a
second. When asked immediately after, the students only re