PSYC 352 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Dual Representation, 18 Months, Availability Heuristic

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Published on 7 Sep 2020
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SYMBOLIC UNDERSTANDING
Representation: mental coding of information
Symbols: tools we use to allow something to stand for (or "represent")
o External representational systems i.e. language, maps, logos
Representational insight: understanding that something can stand for something else
o Being able to use pictures and models to learn something about the world
Scale-Model Studies
Goal to figure out the age at which children get "representational insight"
Children told they're going to have to find a hidden toy in room, then experimenter
uses model to show children where it is
Children try to go find toy in real sized room
Rapid development between 2.5 and 3 years -> Huge insight that model is a
representation that they can use to get information about this real-world thing
Asking where’s the toy in the model, children (even 2.5) find it every time, so not a
problem of memory for searching in the room
They just can’t use that information and apply it to their physical world
What about instead of a model, you use pictures?
o 2.5 year olds now much better at finding object in the room, though 2 year olds cannot
When not as much overlap between model and real world, better able to use
those for informational models
Puzzle -> Why would the "concrete" model be MORE difficult than the more abstract picture?
"Dual Representation"
Mature thinking about symbols require you to think about
o The thing they actually are
o The thing that they are supposed to represent
Dual representation the reason why children did better with pictures of the room opposed to
scale model -> A model is an object worthy of attention by itself while picture’s primary purpose
to represent something else
Making model less salient for 2.5 year olds made it easier to represent model as both an object
and a model, making model more salient for 3 year olds made it more difficult for them to treat it
as a representation for something else
o When models viewed through window, 2.5 year olds’ performance increased
substantially relative to standard model task
o When 3 year olds allowed to play with model beforehand, performance significantly
decreases
DeLoache and colleagues propose infants’ initial uncertainty about pictures causes them to
explore the pictures, which gradually results in their acquisition of the concept of picture and the
understanding that they represent something else
Could you create a situation where dual representation was NOT required to see if kids could
search appropriately with the "model"?
o Shrinking room experiment
Go into big room and hide toy somewhere, tell kid you have machine to shrink
room, leave room with kids, come back and kids think it IS real room, shrunken
Not a problem with analogy, but representation so if you take that aspect out,
they can do it fine
So, what develops?
o Piaget might have thought that "representational insight" is something that, once you get
it, you can apply it across the board - but that doesn't seem to be the case - they
understand the representational potential of some things before others
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o Experience with pictures may provide basis for gaining "representational insight"
Understanding that pictures are representations
Develops gradually over infancy in children all over the world
Even in places where pictures not so common, like Ivory Coast
Young infants often reach for objects in pictures as if objects they represent
could be pulled from page
Appearance/Reality Distinction
Knowing that something can look like one thing, but really be another
o Conceptual cousin of dual representation
Prior to age of 3, and even a little beyond, children seem to believe significant changes in
appearance results in change of identity
o Anecdotes about distress around Halloween, dad shaving a beard, etc.
Kids have understanding that change in how you look change the concept
De Vries familiarized 3 to 6 year old children with trained cat name Maynard
o In one condition after petting Maynard, cat was fitted with realistic dog mask
o Children didn’t actually see mask being placed on Maynard but cat’s body and tail
remained in full view during transformation
o Generally, 3 year olds frequently believed cat turned into dog whereas most 5 or 6 year
olds believed changes in appearance of animal hadn’t altered identity (generic identity)
Flavell (and others) think the problem is with dual-coding
o Understanding that the item can be seen as a rock, but has
an enduring essential identity as a sponge
o Flavell believes 3 year olds’ inability to differentiate
between appearance of object and actual identity might
stem from difficult with representing object in more than
one form at a time (dual encoding)
o Others say children still developing language, struggle
with linguistic demands of tasks -> Whereas appearance of object encoded visually,
actual identity usually coded verbally when participants told what object really is
So, not sudden insight, but gradual development
Negotiating dual representation is a task that children (and adults) encounter lots, and one's ability
to make sense of it in any given situation likely depends on lots of different factors
Notice focus throughout on "diagnosing" children's understandings
Scale error: when a child tries to act (impossibly) on a miniature replica of something as if it
were the larger thing
o Are these errors "real" or are children "pretending"?
o Adopt "conservative criteria"
Performing some or all of actions that they did with the larger on the scale model
Persistence and serious intent (key factor) i.e. adjust behaviour to make it work
Obviously unsuccessful (to a potentially painful extent)
Doing these things even though it is at their peril
o About half children make these scale errors
o Inverted-U trajectory: mechanism that gives rise to the errors develops, but
then something else develops that extinguishes error
DeLoache et al. argue that seeing the miniature object activates their
representation of the category, part of which includes the actions that
one would perform on the object
Hard to think about the object as JUST a representation of the real thing and not
another instance of the real thing (dual-representation theory)
Requires inhibitory control
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