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Chapter 10

developmental Psych Chapter 10

12 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 2450
Jennifer Mc Taggart

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Chapter 10- Cognitive Development in Early Childhood Focus: Albert Einstein - one of the greatest physicists of all time (theory of relativity, quantum physics etc.) - slow in learning to walk and did not begin talking until his third year - the reasons may have been more to do with personality than with cognitive development (he was a shy, taciturn child) - did poorly in most subjects at school and lacked a retentive memory - a magnetic compass sparked his curiosity and at age 67 still made a lasting impression - several years later he showed an interest in arithmetic and solved every problem in the books given to him by his Uncle Jacob - Einstein claimed he had a “furious impulse to understand” that underlay his lifetime quest for knowledge Einstein’s case touches: 1. The variation in normal language development 2. Reaction to the compass- children understanding the physical world and their tendency to confuse appearance and reality 3. Underestimation of his cognitive abilities raises issues about how intelligence can be assessed Piagetian Approach: The pre-operational child - Jean Piaget named early childhood the pre-operational stage: the second major stage in cognitive development, in which children become more sophisticated in their use of symbolic thought but are not yet able to use logic (Age 2-7) Advances of Pre-operational thought (Refer to summary table 10-1 on pg. 254) Symbolic Function - Symbolic function: Piaget’s term for ability to use mental representations or symbols(words, numbers, or images) to which a child has attached meanings. Absent of sensory or motor cues. - Preschool children show symbolic function though imitation, language and Pretend play: play involving imaginary people or situations. Ex. a doll might represent a child Understanding of Object in Space - until at least age 3, most children do not reliably grasp the relationships between pictures, maps, or scale models and the objects they represent - Older pre-schoolers can use simple maps and transfer special understanding gained from working with models to maps and vice versa Understanding of Causality - pre-operational children cannot reason logically between cause and effect, but reason by transduction: to mentally link particular experiences, whether or not there is logically a causal relationship - 2-year olds were able to decide by observing the device in operation, which objects were “blickets” and which were not - preschoolers may believe that all causal relationships are equally and absolutely predictable - causal statements were more frequent among older children Understanding of Identities and Categorization - The world becomes more predictable for preschoolers as they develop identities: the concept that people and many things are basically the same even if they change in form, size or appearance - Categorization (or classification): requires a child to identify similarities and differences. Can have emotional and social implications as children begin to view people as “good” or “bad” - By age 4, children can classify by two criteria - Confusion about distinguishing between what is living from the non-living. Animism: tendency to attribute life to objects that are not alive - Culture can affect such beliefs Number - Infants as young as 4 ½ months have a rudimentary concept of number - The concept of ordinality (concept of comparing quantities ex. more or less) begins around 12-18 months - Development of this concept is universal but at different rates, depending on how important counting is in a particular family or culture - Not until 3 ½ that children apply the cardinality rule (recite the number- names ex. one through six) and not say how many items there are (ex. six) - By age 5, children can count to 20 and know relative size amount of 1-10 - By the time they enter school, they have a basic “number sense” (counting, number knowledge, number transformation, estimation, and recognition of number patterns) - SES and preschool experience affect how rapidly children advance in numbers Immature Aspects of Pre-operational Thought (Table 10-2 pg. 255) - main characteristic of thought is centration: tendency of pre-operational children to focus on one aspect of a situation and neglect others. This occurs because they cannot decentre: think simultaneously about several aspects of a situation Conservation (Various conservation tests can be found in Table 10-4 on pg. 258) - Failure to understand conservation: awareness that two objects that are equal according to a certain measure remain equal in the face of perceptual alteration so long as nothing has been added to or taken away from either object - Cannot consider height and width at the same time (ex. water conservation task with 2 short, wide glasses and one tall, skinny glass) (Refer to 10-4) - Ability to conserve is also limited by irreversibility: failure to understand that an operation can go in two or more directions - The children focus on successive states and do not recognize the transformation from one state to another Egocentrism - Egocentrism: inability to consider another person’s view point. A form of centration - Piaget designed the three-mountain task to study egocentrism, where a child sits at a table that hold three large mounds , across from a doll and is asked how the mountains look to the doll - Children aged 3 ½ to 5 years, successfully completed the task to hide the doll from the toy police officers view 9 out of 10 times. Thought to be because it provoked thinking in a more familiar way compared to the more abstract example above Do young children have theories of mind? - Piaget was the first to investigate the children’s theory of mind: awareness and understanding of mental processes - He concluded that children under 6 cannot distinguish between thoughts or dreams and real physical entities and have no theory of mind - Recent research indicates that children’s knowledge about mental processes grows dramatically between 2 and 5 (different methodology used to test) Knowledge about Thinking and Mental States - Age 3-5 children realize thinking goes on inside the mind - Preschoolers generally believe that mental activity starts and stops - Age 7-8 children realize people who are sleeping do not engage in conscious mental activity - Age 11, children fully realize they cannot control their dreams - Social cognition: ability to understand that others have mental states and to judge their feelings and intentions and lead to the development of empathy: ability to put oneself in another person’s place and feel what that person feels (Age 3- if someone gets what they want, they will be happy) False Beliefs and Deception - A 3 year old lacks the understanding that people can hold false beliefs (the realization that people hold mental representations of reality, which can sometimes be wrong) and that their own beliefs may be false - May stem from egocentric thinking - A 4-year old understands that people who see or hear different versions of the same story, may come away with different beliefs - A 6-year old realizes that two people that hear the same thing may interpret if differently - 3 year olds are capable of telling “white lies”- lying represents cognitive development (deception requires children to suppress the impulse to be truthful) - Piaget claimed children that young view all falsehoods (intentional or not) as lies - About ¾ ths of children aged 3-6 could interpret between a character’s mistake or a lie Distinguishing between Appearance and Reality - not until 5 or 6 years do children understand the distinction between what is and what seems to be - 3-year olds apparently confused appearance and reality in a variety of tests. When the task was put in the context of deception it helped the children realize reality Distinguishing between Fantasy and Reality - between 18 months and 3 years distinguish between real and imagined events - it is difficult to know when questioning children about “pretend objects”, whether children are giving serious answers or keeping up the pretense - magical thinking is a way to explain events that do not seem to have obvious realistic explanation or simply to indulge in the pleasures of pretending, as with the belief in imaginary companion (not a confusion of reality and fantasy) Influences on Individual Differences in Theory-of-Mind (TOM) Development - Some develop faster than others and is reflective of brain maturation and general improvement in cognition - Social competence an language development contribute to an understanding of thoughts and emotions - The kind of talk a child hears at home (whether they talk about others’ mental states  TOM skills) - Families that encourage pretend play  TOM skills - Role playing helps children develop social understanding an empathy - Bilingual children do better on certain TOM tasks Box 10-1 Imaginary companions - 3 ½ year old Anna has 23 “sisters” - Och, one of the “sisters”, continued to visit as many of the other disappeared - Whenever Anna was denied something, she would say she already had it at her sister’s place - Anna changed the subject when her mother mentioned it to her live friend - This is a normal phenomenon most often seen in first-born and only children, as they lack the close company of siblings - Girls often imagine playmates (other children) where boys tend to imagine animals - These children are able to distinguish fantasy and reality and play more happily and imaginatively than other children and are more cooperative with other children and adults - They are more fluent in language, show more curiosity, excitement and persistence during play (also do better on theory of mind tasks) - Imaginary companions provide wish-fulfillment, scapegoats, displacement agents for the child’s own fears, and support in difficult situations Language Development Vocabulary - At age 3, a child has 900-1000 words, and by age 6 will have a spoken vocabulary of 2600 words and understands 20000 words - Quickly expand their vocabularies by fast-mapping: process by which a child absorbs the meaning of a new word after hearing it once or twice in conversation. It is believed that children draw on what they know about the rules for forming words, about similar words, about the immediate context, and about the subject under discussion - Nouns are easier to fast-map than verbs - 3 and 4 year olds know that a single object cannot have 2 proper names and that more than 1 adjective can be applied to the same noun and that an adjective can be combined with a proper name Grammar and Syntax - At 3 children typically begin to use plurals, possessives and past tense and know the difference between I, you and we. Form short and simple sentences and make errors of over-regularization. Most sentences are declaritive but can ask and answer questions - 4 year olds use more complex, multi-clause sentences more frequently if their parents use such sentences - In some respects comprehension may be immature - By age 5-7, children speak in longer and more complicated sentences (use conjunctions, prepositions, and articles) - Rarely use passive voice, conditional sentences, or the auxiliary verb have - When young children discover a rule they tend to over generalize (especially with transitive or intransitive verbs) - Training can help children master such syntactical forms Pragmatics and Social Speech - Pragmatics: practical knowledge of how to use language to communicate - Social Speech: speech intended to be understood by a listener - Private Speech: talking aloud to oneself with no intent to communicate with others (refer to Box 10-2) - It becomes easier to understand children when they improve their pronunciation and grammar. 3-year-olds: talkative, know effect of their speech on others. 4-year-olds: especially girls, use “parentese” when speaking to 2-year-olds. 5-year-olds: adapt their speech based on what the listener knows, resolve disputes, polite language, most(almost ½) can stick to a topic for a dozen turns when talking with someone they care about Delayed Language Development - 5-8% of preschool children show delayed speech and language (Einstein didn’t speak until 3 years old). Boys are more likely to be late talkers - it is not clear why some children speak late. Some reasons: hearing problems, head and facial abnormalities, premature birth, family history, socio- economic factors, genetics - language delays cause problems in fast mapping; need to hear a new word more often than others to make it apart of their vocabulary - many children who speak late, eventually catch up. - 40-60% of children with early language delays, if left untreated, experience far-reaching cognitive, social and emotional consequences - not clear which late talkers need help. Speech and language therapy can sometimes be effective. Findings vary - types of private speech (refer to 10-5) Preparation for Literacy - Emergent literacy: preschooler’s development of skills, knowledge, and attitudes that underlie reading and writing, ex: understanding distinct sounds, or phonemes, and linking phonemes with letters - Eventually children translate written word into speech, and learn that writing can express ideas and thoughts - Preschool children start by scribbling - Pre-reading skills: o 1) oral language skills, ex: vocabulary, syntax, language is used to communicate o 2) skills that help to decode the printed word including phonemic awareness: words are composed of distinct sounds, phoneme- grapheme correspondence: ability to link sounds with corresponding letters or combination of letters - in a study, development of word recognition appeared to be dependent on phonological skills, whereas oral language skills are important predictors of reading comprehension - Hereditary influences literacy development: study on twins with 1) early preliteracy experience with books/recordings of nursery rhymes or stories and 2) preliteracy knowledge at age 4, showed separate genetic influences that played a role in the children’s ability to read and write at age 7 - Social interaction can promote emergent literacy. Children are more likely to become good readers/writers, if in preschool years, children are provided with conversational challenges(rich vocab) with parents. A study showed that mother-child conversation at age 3 and 4 was a strong predictor of literacy skills upon entering grade 1 - Reading is one of the most effective paths towards literacy. Reading support in the home increases children’s scores on reading-related tasks, letter naming and sounding, and phonological awareness - Moderate exposure to educational television= help prepare children for literacy and can be used as a predictor of academic skills in later years Information-Processing Approach: Memory Development - Young children focus on exact details, wh
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