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Chapter 2

EDPE 300 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Validity, Egocentrism, Object Permanence


Department
Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology)
Course Code
EDPE 300
Professor
Camelia Birlean
Chapter
2

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2: COGNITIVE AND LINGUISTIC DEVELOPMENT
Basic Principles of Human Development
development proceeds in a somewhat orderly and predictable pattern
o human development characterized by developmental milestones (appearance of a new
behaviour that is developmentally more advanced)
o see universals (similar patterns we see in how children change over time regardless of specific
environment in which they are raised)
different children develop at different rates
o generally timing known
o knowing general capabilities helps design curriculum & instructional strategies for teaching
periods of relatively rapid growth (spurts) may appear between periods of slower growth (plateaus)
o development isn’t at a constant rate
development is continually affected by both nature (heredity) and nurture (environment)
o all aspects of development (in)directly affected by genetics but not all at birth
o maturation: unfolding of genetically controlled changes as a child develops
o temperament: genetic tendency to respond in particular ways to physical/social environments
o environment is a factor poverty
o heredity & environment interact
o sensitive period: age range during which a certain aspect of a child’s development is especially
susceptible to environmental conditions
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget, 1920s, studied children’s responses to problems
introduced ideas/concepts to describe & explain change in logical thinking
children are active and motivated learners
o children curious & actively seek new information
children construct knowledge from their experiences
o knowledge not collection of isolated information; use all info to construct overall view of world
o constructivism: theoretical perspective that proposes learners construct a body of knowledge
from their experiences knowledge that may or may not be accurate representation of reality
o what they learn/do = organized as schemes (organized group of similar actions or thoughts)
o with experience & time, children’s schemes become modified & better integrated
children learn through the two complementary processes of assimilation and accommodation
o schemes change over time, but processes of development remain the same
o assimilation: dealing with a new event in a way that is consistent with an existing scheme
o accommodation: dealing with a new event by modifying an existing scheme/forming new one
o assimilation & accommodation typically work together
interaction with one’s physical and social environments is essential for cognitive development
o new experiences essential for learning & cognitive development
the process of equilibrium promotes progression toward more complex thought levels
o equilibrium: state of being able to explain new events by using existing schemes
o disequilibrium: an inability to explain new events by using existing schemes

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o children able to understand & explain previously puzzling events through replacing,
reorganizing & better integrating their schemes (accommodation)
o equilibration: movement from equilibrium to disequilibrium & back to equilibrium; process
promotes the development of more complex forms of thought & knowledge
cognitive development can proceed only after certain genetically controlled neurological changes occur
o cognitive development depends partly on brain maturation
o hypothesized major physiological changes happen age 2, 6/7 & at puberty
o psychologists disagree whether neurological advancements are responsible for developmental
changes
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
each stage builds on accomplishments of former stages
sensorimotor stage (birth until 2 years)
o sensorimotor stage: schemes based on behaviours and perceptions (no mental schemes)
o near the end, children develop object permanence (realization objects continue to exist even
after they are removed from view)
o begin to understand cause-effect relationships
preoperational stage (2 years until 6/7 years)
o preoperational stage: children think about objects beyond immediate view but don’t reason in
logical, adult-like ways
o schemes relatively independent of immediate perceptions & behaviours
o symbolic thinking (ability to represent and think about external objects & events in one’s
head) marks beginning of true thought
o language skills explode at beginning
o preoperational egocentrism: inability to view situations from another person’s perspective
o transductive reasoning: making mental leap from one specific thing to another
o conservation: realization that if nothing is added or taken away, amount stays the same
regardless of any alternations in shape or arrangement
o early signs of being logical near end of stage
concrete operations stage (6/7 years until 11/12 years)
o concrete operations stage: adult-like logic appears but is limited to concrete reality
o operations: organized & integrated systems of thought processes
o children realize own thoughts/feelings aren’t necessarily shared by others
o know can sometimes be wrong & begin to seek external validation
o show conservation
o multiple classification: recognition that objects may belong to several categories at once
o deductive reasoning: drawing a logical inference about something that must be true, given
other information
o have trouble understanding & reasoning about abstract & contrary-to-fact ideas
o difficulty handling problems that require them to consider many hypotheses/variables at once
formal operations stage (11/12 years through adulthood)
o formal operations stage: logical reasoning processes applied to abstract ideas & concrete
objects
o recognize what is logically valid is different from what is true in the real world
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o can formulate & test multiple hypotheses, separate & control variables, proportionally reason
o abstract problems easier to solve
o scientific reasoning likely to improve
o may exhibit idealism about social, political, ethical, religious issues
o formal operational egocentrism: inability of individuals to separate their own abstract logic
from the perspectives of others and from practical considerations
o through experience adolescents begin to temper their optimism with some realism about
what’s possible in given time frame & with limited resources
Current Perspectives on Piaget’s Theory
capabilities of infants & preschool children
undermined
o object permanence happens as early as 2.5 months
o preschooler’s don’t always show egocentrism
o some preschoolers capable of class inclusion & conservation
capabilities of elementary school children
undermined
o many show some ability to think abstractly & hypothetically
o some can separate & control variables / understand & use simple proportions
capabilities of adolescents
overestimated
o formal operational thinking processes emerge more gradually
o may demonstrate formal operational thought in one content domain & concrete in another
o students have difficulty thinking about abstract & hypothetical ideas into high school
effects of prior knowledge and experience
o ability to think logically about situation/topic depends on knowledge & experiences
Piaget’s theory reconsidered
o some believe stages don’t work, but trends are more realistic
o vertical decalage: when different children are at different stages; move across them as they
move from one stage to another
o horizontal decalage: when children exhibit evidence of different stages in different contexts or
subject areas
Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Lev Vygotsky attempted to describe & explain children’s cognitive development in 1920s & 1930s
Piaget = cognitive development largely an individual enterprise
Vygotsky = adults in society foster children’s cognitive development
sociocultural perspective: theoretical perspective that emphasizes the importance of society & culture
for promoting cognitive development (Vygotsky’s theory)
social constructivism: emphasizes individual’s meaning-making (learning in general) mediated by
adults/more knowledgeable peers, even though ultimately constructed by individual learner
complex mental processes begin as social activities; as children develop, they gradually internalize these
processes and begin to use them independently
o many thinking processes have roots in social interactions
o children talk about objects/events with adults & then discover how others think
o gradually will incorporate way others thinking & make own interpretation of world
o internalization: process through which social activities evolve into individual’s mental activities
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