1. Piaget (Cognitive Development in Infancy)
• Kids are constructivists: construct their own knowledge about their environment
by exploring the world
• Using reflexes, looking for feedback, looking at own body
• Kids are drivers trying to actively understand where they’re going
• Sensorimotor stages: a fixed sequence/steps in an infants understanding of the
world, invariant (in exact order) lasts from birth to 2 years old.
• Substage 1 (birth-1 month)
- Grasp or suck different objects the same way and see that they’re different
- Reflexes, responding to the world in different ways
• Substage 2 (1-4 months)
- Primary Circular Reactions
- Reactions centered on own body (sucking their thumb)
• Substage 3 (4-5 months)
- Secondary Circular Reactions
- Repeated reactions with the outside world
- Shaking a rattle until someone comes over to them, to have an affect on the
outside environment (also babbling)
• Substage 4 (8-12 months)
- Means-end behavior: purposeful behavior carried out in pursuit of a specific
• Substage 5 (12-18 months)
- Tertiary circular Reactions
- Clearly exploring
- Deliberate experimentation
- New ways of playing with objects (drop things from different heights)
• Substage 6 (18-24 months)
- Understanding that symbols are separate from objects
- Capacity for deferred imitation: the capacity for a child to form a mental
image of activities and imitate those actions at another time.
- Capacity for object permanence: objects continue to exist even when they are
not in sight anymore.
- Beginning of mental representation
4. Challenges to Piaget’s work
• Object Permanence
- Piagets methods made it impossible to test whether younger infants failed to
exhibit object permanence
- With computer technology, testing where babies look, researchers found
babies as young as 4 months show clear signs of object permanence - Most 5 month olds looked behind the screen when the object was moved
- Babies pay more attention to relationship between events than Piaget’s model
- Infants imitate some facial gestures in the first weeks of life
- Deferred imitation seems to occur earlier than Piaget proposed
5. Behaviorist view of language development
• B.F Skinner claimed that language development begins with babbling.
• When babbling, babies accidentally make sounds that resemble real words as
spoken by their parents
• Parents hear this and respond to them with praise and encouragement which serve
as reinforcers causing wordlike babbling to become more frequent.
Nativist view of language development (Chomsky)
• Children acquire grammar rules before they master the exceptions to them.
• Children’s comprehension and production of language are guided by an innate language
processor, called the language acquisition device (LAD), which contains the basic
grammatical structure of all human language.
• LAD tells babies that there are two basic types of sounds: consonants and vowels- and
enables them to properly divide the speech they hear into the two categories so that they
can analyze and learn the sounds that are specific to the language they are hearing.
Interactionist view of language development
• Language development is part of the broader process of cognitive development and is
influenced by both internal and external factors.
• Infants are born with some kind of biological preparedness to pay more attention to
language than to any other kinds of information.
• Rather than having a neurological module that is specific to language (like an LAD), the
infant’s brain has a generalized set of tools that it employs across all of the sub-domains
of cognitive development. These tools allow infants to extract general principles from all
kinds of specific experiences, including those that they have with language.
6. Theories of attachment
- Emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the infant and mother in which
the two behave like they are one (the infant did not understand herself to be
separate from her mother)
-This was all the result of a gratifying nursing period followed by a balanced
- Nursing and weaning are important but claimed that responding to the infant’s
other needs by talking to him, comforting him, etc. was just as important. - The first 2 years comprise of a period during which the infant learns to trust
the world around him or becomes cynical about the environment’s ability to
meet his needs (trust vs. mistrust stage: trust in primary caregiver and in one’s
own ability to make things happen)
• Bowlby- (infants actions)
- Infants will come to understand their relationships.
- IWM- internal working model; infants create different internal models of their
relationships with parents and other key adults.
- These models include the child’s confidence (or lack of) that the attachment
figure will be available or reliable, the child’s expectation of affection, and the
child’s sense of assurance that this person is really a safe base for exploration.
- By age 5, most children have a clear internal model of the mother (or other
primary caregiver), a self-model, and a model of relationships.
7. Stranger anxiety- clinging to their mothers when strangers are present.
- After attachment, wary of strangers and show favoritism towards mother (3-6
- By 7 months only want mother
- Fully develops between 8 and 10 months
Separation anxiety- showing unhappiness by crying or trying to stop mothers from leaving
by crawling/walking towards them and impeding their actions.
8. Types ofAttachment
- Uses mom as secure base
- Clearly upset when mom leaves, greets her when she’s back
- Might or might not interact with the stranger
- Tend to be more outgoing, seem happy, can organize
- Disinterested in stranger,
- Play by themselves around the room,
- Don’t check back with the mom
- Don’t care if mom leaves, might not respond when she comes back
- Maybe avoiding mom
- Appear anxious, don’t explore the room with mom
- Not interested in the stranger
- Want to be comforted, but put down, indecisive
- Might stay off in the corner
- Overwhelmed by the situation
9. Temperament: whether a child is easy or difficult (Kagan) - Easy- 40% of infants, they adapt easily a lot like kids with secure attachment.
They are resilient, not that stressed, approach new events positively, display
predictable eating and sleeping patterns, and are generally happy.
- Difficult- 10% of infants, patterns that include irregular sleeping and eating
cycles, emotional negativity and irritability, and resistance to change.
- Slow-to-warm up- 15% of infants, children display few intense reactions, either
positive or negative, and appear nonresponsive to unfamiliar people.
10. Characteristics of high quality day care
• Student Teacher Ratio
- Children under 2 (1 teacher per 4 kids)
- Children 2-3 (1 to 4 or 1 to 10 kids)
• Group/Class Size
- Infants (class of 6-8 babies)
- 1-2 yrs (6-12 kids)
- 3-4 yrs (15-20 kids)