PSYC 352 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mercer Mayer, Frameline Film Festival

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7 Sep 2020
Although we tend to think of cognitive development as taking place within child's mind, it is
o Embedded in social contexts
o Where there are teachers, peers, other sources of info
o Frequently some kind of social reward that makes it a "meaningful" activity
How can we incorporate this into our understanding of everyday cognitive development?
Cognitive development inseparable from its social context
Differences in how development proceeds associated with cultural practices, values, tools even if
the foundation upon which these skills develop is universal
Study of development is also inseparable from its social context
o Much of what we know is from WEIRD research on WEIRD children (Western,
Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic)
Sociocultural approaches encourage us to view development as transformation of participation
in culturally meaningful activities
o Less about diagnosis of what children "can do" (Piaget) and more about characterization
of what children "do do" and how that varies with age and other developmentally relevant
Study of the "Solitary Child"
When we're trying to understand social nature of cognitive development, a lot of research we do
has to do with our own focus on things
Child growing up, trying to figure out what's going on in child's head
Study of "Social Influence"
When we take the whole picture, "solitary child" never really actually alone - surrounded by other
factors i.e. child who looks sad (looking down) when only looking at him, in reality child is in
classroom trying to figure out a problem
"Participation" -> Child foregrounded but the interpersonal and contextual factors are available to
help understand child's actions i.e. looking at parenting styles
Interpersonal focus -> Consider how teacher and another student being beside child change nature
of participation?
"Cultural-institutional" analysis -> Not focusing on people in task, but considering how doing
task in a school classroom changes nature of the task/behaviour
Externalizing Cognitive Development
Tools of intellectual adaptation: Vygotsky’s term for methods of thinking and problem-solving
strategies that children internalize from their interactions with
more competent members of society
Think of ways cognition not only reflects abstract ideas inside head, but also use of cognitive
artifacts -> Tools that you have, either that you have learned or other resources available to you
o Development happens due to acquisition of tools
Help you shape character of your thinking
o Physical cognitive artifacts like written documents, computers, printing, maps, etc.
o Mental cognitive artifacts like literacy, math, logic, scientific reasoning, etc.
Subtle difference in cultural tools of intellectual adaptation that can make noticeable difference
on cognitive task performance found in how a language names its numbers
o Some cultures have limited way of expressing quantities -> Adult speakers of two
Amazonia languages (Pirahã and Mundurukú) have no number words for quantities
larger than five
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Perform arithmetic tasks involving small quantities easily, perform poorly on
tasks involving larger quantities
But Pirahã children who learn Portuguese can perform arithmetic calculations
with larger quantities, bolstering interpretation that language’s ability to represent
numbers is responsible for pattern of numerical thinking in these cultures
Instead of seeing cognitive development as ONLY happening within children's solitary
minds, try to see it as a transaction with the "cognitive artifacts" that they have access to
Due to Mandarin vs English counting terms (tens digits + ones digits in Mandarin)
o Median counting level in China and US, everyone can count up to about 15 at 3yrs
old, while Chinese increases at a much more rapid rate
o Variation due to cognitive tools that they have -> External to them, but it
represents different ways of counting that they need to follow
Relevance of tools of intellectual adaptation to cognitive functioning also seen both within and
between modern societies today
o Access to computers and related electronic devices and the ability to use them easily
differentiates those cultures that will experience economic boom vs bust in 21st C
o Even within a culture, access to technology discriminates among those who will reap the
greatest benefits that an information-age society has to offer
o Being computer literate affects not only what jobs we have and thus our income, but also
influences how one learns, remembers, solves problems
L. S. Vygotsky
Believed that thinking originates in social interaction
Inter-psychological: the thinking that happens between people, which is main influence
(collaboration, teaching)
Intra-psychological: thinking that happens within a person
Should evaluate development from perspective of four interrelated levels in interaction with
children’s environments
o Ontogenetic development: development of individual over his/her lifetime
o Microgenetic development: changes that occur over relatively brief periods of time, in
seconds, minutes, days, opposed to larger-scale changes, as
conventionally studied in ontogenetic development
o Phylogenetic development: development over evolutionary time
o Sociohistorical development: changes that have occurred in one’s culture and the
values, norms, technologies such a history has generated
Zone of Proximal Development: the space between what a child can do on their own
and what a child can do with guidance from a more
expert person
o Zone in which sensitive instruction should be aimed and in which new cognitive
growth can be expected to occur
Scaffolding: mechanism by which teachers or More Knowledgeable Others (MKOs) make
sure that they are within the learner's ZPD
o Teachers can discover what children can do on their own, and what falls into their unique
zones of proximal development -> Practicing within that zone allows children to expand
what they are able to do on their own
o Study where mothers instructed to teach 5 year old children how to play board game
involving use of dice to compute moves (Chutes and Ladders, spinner replaced by dice
where they had to add up numbers on two dice for number of moves)
Mother’s involvement depended on competence of children
For children who were using fact retrieval and mental arithmetic spontaneously,
mothers usually provided little support or advice
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