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Study Notes Midterm 1

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Chapter 11: Two kinds of Constructive Theories: Jean Piaget & George A. Kelly
-Genetic Epistemology: Study of formation & meaning of knowledge
-Equilibrium: Developmental stability of higher cognitive conceptions
Personality Theory
Jean Piaget
Construction of Patterns Among Related Actions
-As infants we learn by copying automatic movements. We can observe ourselves doing things & we can sense
ourselves doing it
-He distinguishes btw copying of an action by internalizing its actual pattern of motion & the copying of an
action by internalizing an image of what needs to be done or how its o be carried out
-We must 1st act & then learn what we can or cant do
-Scheme: Most basic structure of action, its whats common among diff actions at diff times ie. Understanding
of distance
-Concepts: Broader than schemes
-Shared schemas makes language possible
-2 schemas can create a new pattern of relationship aka STRUCTURE
Must have a reliably distinctive form (pattern) capable of being abstracted &
recognize again & again
They are Systematic Processes
Structures can change, grow, develop [Transformations]
Structure would lose all truth value w.out physical facts
We construct mental structures that apply to environ.
Idea of moving from static unchanging to change/flexible structure
-Syncretic Thought: When ppl think in personal, vague unanalyzed schematic structures
-“There is no structure apart form construction, either abstract or genetic”
-Kelly saw construction as mental/cog process. Piaget suggests we have a material construction of bodily
adaptations in organic evolution & a more abstract cognitive construction of structures
-For Piaget, construction means to bring about a structure in ongoing organic mental life
-“Knowledge doesnt begin in the I, or physical object but in the interactions
Cognition as Equilibrating Operations
-Piaget insists on studying the biological basis of construction
-Experimental evidence proves that children must construct their life space over a period of time which is
achieved by beginning w. material or organic constructions & only later accomplish the structures known as the
phenomenal filed in their cognitive constructions
-Patterned structures occur at both the organic & cognitive levels of existence
-The developmental course of construction is from body-to-mind
ASSIMILATION: Taking-in of the surrounding environ on the basis of an existing scheme or the more
complex structures they make up
-All organic life tends progressively to assimilate more & more of the surrounding environ as growth proceeds
-Babies suck thumbs bc they have assimilated to the schema of mother’s breasts

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-As children mature, they can assimilate all kinds of actions of others by drawing a sort of analogy btw their
schemata & observed behaviors aka Prehension
Early form of imitation that can occur w.out use of language
-Circular Reaction: another form of assimilation; mechanism by which a scheme is developed, the child
performs an action & is interested in the result so they repeat it
ACCOMODATION: Remodification of behavior as a result of experience, instead of making environ fit
schema, the person modifies the scheme to fit envir. Person discovers that the scheme no longer fits demands of
-Life is a continuing interplay of assimilation & accommodation; reciprocal balancing relations = equilibrium,
when theres an unbalance the indiv develops a motive
1.Transduction:Reasoning w.out reversible nestinfs of a hierarchy of classes & relations
-Early in life we move from the particular to the particular, unable to abstract in our more syncretic style of
thought to construct a hierarchy of from lesser to more abstract meanings; improving in one particular we
assumed we improved in another
2.Reversibility: When theres a permanent reciprocity existing btwn accommodation & assimilation so
that distortion in
a construction doesnt take place
3.Decentration: Breaking free from what we perceive in order to think about the aspects of what we
perceive; to be glued to merely whats perceived = centration; TO be creative in reasoning we have to
decenter & lose our simplistic understandings of out external reality, when we decenter we can improve
our level of adjustment;My point of view just may not fit the facts over there = Reciprocal
-Negational reversibility = Person capable of questioning his/her own viewpoints by negating their certainty or
by brining the facts into question by negating them
-Interiorized action, can be carried out in thought as well as physical beh
-Reversible action
Invariant structure, retaining identifiable characteristic of the system even though they change relations through
No operation exists alone, its always related to a system or total structure
-Operations are more than schemata & always involve a co-ordination of differentiated actions the
framework of a single whole
-Operations begin at a concrete level above transductive reasoning but that is still not very advanced
-We employ cognitive processes known as induction (To move from a particular meaning to a general meaning;
ie. Cant play most sports = I am not athletic) & deduction
-The more rational thought becomes the more it attains equilibrium, the more abstract it becomes
The highest levels of abstraction occur in the operations of formal logic or math
The Dynamics of Human Operations
-Perception: When person has knowledge of object from direct contact w. it. We perceive something by
constructing its image mentally through interiorizing
-Mental Images: Imitative schemata, they copy the structures of experience by actively rehearsing them again &
-We actively construct a mental image brining it into greater stability & reversibility as we come to understands
what we perceive
-We use or imaginations in constructing our knowledge of the perceived world

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-We can place ourselves into the past or future, jump over in mind form where we are to where we might be in
-As representations becomes increasingly abstract we can begin speaking of concepts taking place in mind
rather than images
-Representations make intelligent thought possible
-“It is operations that are the essence of thought it is of the nature of operations continually to construct
something new
-Mind: A continuing process of constructive activity w. a large amount of self-construction involved”
-Ppl construct their worlds, & construct a pic of themselves the complexity of interlacing factors
-Mind begins by accommodating bodily constructions which assimilate at the organic level
-Every behav has 2 poles: Assimilation to earlier schemas & accommodation of these schemas as to a new
-Behav also involves motives & valued goals
-Intelligence consists of establishing permanent relations btw schema
-We can plan our actions & anticipate their outcomes before they even take place when we behave intelligently
-Feedback is essentially the same as circular reaction of the equilibration process
Genetic Epistemology as Evolutionary Rationalism
-Genetic Epistemology: Both the formation & meaning of knowledge
-Constructive theory aka evolutionary rationalism bc of the unique way in which he rests mind on body; highest
form of rationality is achieved in logic or math
-Evolution or development becomes a 2 way street influenced by physical and cognitive
development is more fundamental than learning in the construction of schemata
-Learning is a concept that characterizes the ongoing equilibrations of the ever-improving schemata over the
Behaviour as Telenomic
-Behaviour: All those instances in which an organism is seeking to change the outside worlds in some way or to
change its own position in relation to surroundings, more complex behav the more intelligent
-Teleonomic bc beahv is goal orientated
-Not untile this disquilibrium is both sensed physioligcally & orientated toward a goal can we speak of the
actions occurring as genuine behav
-Disequilibration: Not able to adapt or adjust behav
Personality as a system
-Affection: All thinking is shot through w. interests & biases of emotional schemata
-Affective schemes are harder to generalize than intellectual schemes
-Personality: A persons character, capacity person has to pursues a valued course of action when tempted to
disregard it
-Major difference btw the person or personality is possibility of self-direction in beh, ppl are agents directing
their behav
-Self-concept constructed through accommodation
-Children are egocentric bc they cant differentiate their thoughts & themselves as thinkers nor can they grasp
whats make believe & what is real or the points of views of others
-Term organs used to describe mental equilibration
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