PSYC 352 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Metacognition, Empiricism, Childhood Amnesia

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7 Sep 2020
Department
Course
COGNITIVE AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Cognition: processes or faculties by which knowledge is acquired and manipulated
o Some sort of mental representation in head that allows it to stand in for something else
o Going beyond things right in front of you to manipulate symbols -> Guides future actions
Development: changes in structure or function over time
o Structure: some piece of knowledge or mechanism
o Function: what the structure does in context
o Structure <-> Function bidirectional relationship
Not always easy to tease apart because structures always develop to serve
particular functions, functions can only be served by particular structures
Developmental function: trajectories and timelines of developmental changes that happen as a
matter of course within humans
o General kinds of development that kids go through
Individual differences: variations within developmental functions that can reflect relevant
biological and experiential factors that shape development of structure
o Separates things that are species-typical from things that may be individually affected
Infants need stimulation but excessive stimulation can distract them from other tasks and may
replace activities vital to development
Six Truths of Cognitive Development
1. Cognitive development proceeds as a result of the dynamic and reciprocal transaction of
internal and external factors
o Nativism: conjecture that human intellectual abilities are innate
Genetic determinism: idea that one’s genes determine one’s behavior
o Empiricism: nature gives "learning" mechanisms but the meaningful things about what
we know and how we manipulate information comes from experience
o There is no meaningful "nature vs nurture" debate in developmental psychology anymore
Rather more about what structures might be internal to the child, and to what
extent external structures might be affecting those
o Internal factors: characteristics of the child at any given time, including health,
cognitive capacities, emotional goals, etc.
o External factors: relevant characteristics of the developmental context at any given time,
including people, institutions, etc.
o Developmental Contextual Model (Lerner)
All parts of organism as well as whole organism itself interact dynamically with
contexts within which organism is embedded
Greater emphasis given to role of [cultural] context and greater
acknowledgement of role of biological factors in development
Demonstrates the complexity of development and the interactions that
occur between the many levels of life, from genes and hormones to
family and culture, and the fact that cultural effects cannot be
meaningfully separated from their biological influences (and vice versa)
2. Cognitive development is constructed within a social context
o The aim of cognitive development is to transform one's capacity for participation in
meaningful sociocultural activity
o Problems children have to solve are constructed by cultures they are developing within
o Sociocultural perspectives: development guided by adults interacting with children,
with cultural context determining how, when and where
these interactions would take place (Vygotsky)
Culture not only tells children what to think but also how to think
o Evolutionary theory helps us better understand why children behave as they do
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