PSYC 352 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Inhibitory Control Test, Inductive Reasoning, Mattress

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7 Sep 2020
JEAN PIAGET (1896-1980)
Fascinated with mollusks -> "Friend of nature"
o How they adapted to habitats based on how those habitats would change
Epistemology: study of the origins of knowledge (Kant)
Genetic epistemology: use of scientific methods of investigate how knowledge grows and
evolves with development
o Not referring to genes, but to genesis (origins of our knowledge)
Piaget's Radical Idea
Stage theorist -> Believed cognition develops in series of discrete stages, with children’s thinking
at any particular stage being qualitatively different
o Not gradual accretion of knowledge/skills but a series of transformations, with children’s
thinking going through abrupt changes over relatively brief periods
Despite belief in discontinuous nature of changes in children’s thinking, believed the functions
underlying development are continuous -> New abilities emerge from earlier ones
o Hypothesized transition phases between stages
Viewed children as being intrinsically active, curious -> Motivation for development is within
the child themselves, so they are responsible for own development
o Believed development the result of interaction between biologically prepared child and
their environment
o Related to belief that cognition is a constructive process -> Current state of knowledge
guides our processing, substantially influencing how new information is acquired
Children are not just dumb adults
o Actually have coherent ideas about how the world works, just think about the world in
ways that are interestingly different from how adults do
i.e. Thinking clouds are alive -> Never told this by adults, so somehow they
come to this conclusion that anything moves is alive -> How did they come up
with this idea?
o By understanding those differences, where they came from and how they change, we will
gain critical insight into some big philosophical questions about epistemology (or how we
make knowledge)
Scheme: coherent, organized ways of acting on the world, can be a "motor scheme" or can be a
mental scheme (representation)
Operations: particular types of cognitive schemes that have four characteristics
o Mental -> Require use of symbols
o Derive from action -> Can be thought of as internalized actions
o Exist in organized systems -> All integrated within one another
o Follow a set of logical rules -> Most critically the rule of reversibility (knowledge that
operation can be reversed or that another operation can compensate for the effects
of the first)
Functional invariants: mechanisms of schema, organization, equilibration, adaptation,
assimilation, accommodation -> Necessary for cognitive development
o Job/purpose to build cognitive system the same no matter where you are in development,
from infancy through adulthood, can use these mechanisms to develop that system
o Organization: intellectual operations integrated with one another in hierarchical nature
Every intellectual operation related to all other acts of intelligence -> One
scheme does not exist independently
Tendency to integrate scheme into higher-order systems
o Adaptation: tendency to adjust schemes to environmental demands
Assimilation: incorporation of new information into already existing schemes
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Not passive -> Requires children to modify/distort environmental input
Quantitative change in growth
Accommodation: current schema changed to incorporate new information
Occurs when children confronted with information that can’t be
interpreted by current cognitive schemes, active
Qualitative change in growth
Every act of intelligence involves both assimilation and accommodation but
some actions involve a predominance of one over another
Knowledge growth is a process of equilibration
o Equilibrium: the knowledge I have is working fine, everything makes sense
o Disequilibrium: new experiences don't make sense given what I thought was right,
uncomfortable state
o Equilibration: motivation to reorganize knowledge so new and old experiences all make
sense, keeping cognitive schemas in balance
o Given disconfirming information, accommodation can occur with child slightly
modifying current schemes to match environmental data -> New, stable scheme develops
o If new information is too discrepant from child’s current schemes, accommodation
becomes impossible and assimilation becomes unlikely
Alternative is to ignore information, returning schemes to original state
Another alternative to distort new information by assimilation, making it
compatible with old schemes
No qualitative change in schemes occurs, only possible broadening of
original schemes
o Accommodation and subsequent attainment of more stable schemes is most apt to occur
when new information is only slightly discrepant from current schemes
**Equilibration is why, adaptation is how**
Schematic representation of equilibration model
o Although Piaget specified equilibration involves accommodation (Option C), Options A
and B reflect ways in which children may achieve temporary states of stability
Children are active, "scientific" problem solvers
o Contrary to belief that kids are "sponges" that just take in all the information you give
them -> They're actually motivated to equilibrate and reach their own understandings of
new information
o Blicket detector -> Is it the color yellow that's a blicket, or the color red, or the hearts?
Try placing different colored hearts on blicket detector in different patterns to figure out
blicket is a heart
o When children are asked to play with objects, they're basically just conducting a bunch of
experiments to figure out how the objects work -> Not just passively "playing"
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