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Chapter 8


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University of Guelph
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 8  Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development o Intelligence  A basic life function that enables an organism to adapt to its environment  Cognitive equilibrium – the state of affairs in which there is a balanced, or harmonious, relation  Constructivists – one who gains knowledge by acting or otherwise operating on objects and events to discover their properties o Gaining Knowledge  Development of schemes  Assimilation and accommodation  Organization – tendency to combine and integrate available schemes into coherent systems or bodies of knowledge  Adaptation – tendency to adjust to the demands of the environment  Equilibrium  Assimilation  Accommodation  Organization  Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development o Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 2 yrs)  Infants rely on behavioural schemes as a means of exploring and understanding their environment  Reflex activity (birth to 1 month) – actions confined to exercising innate reflexes, assimilating new objects into schemes, and accommodating reflexes to objects  Primary circular reactions (1 to 4 months) – a pleasurable response, centered on their body, that is discovered by chance and performed over and over  Secondary circular reactions (4 to 8 months) – a pleasurable response, centered on an external object, that is discovered by chance and performed over and over  Coordination of secondary (8 to 12 months) – begin to coordinate two or more actions to achieve simple objectives  Tertiary circular reactions (12 to 18 months) – an exploratory scheme, a new method of acting on an object is devised to reproduce interesting results  Mental representation (18 to 24 months) – inner experimentation/problem solving o Development of Imitation  Imprecise (8 to 12 months)  Precise (12 to 18 months)  Deferred imitation (18 to 24 months) – reproduce a modelled activity that has been witnessed at some point in the past o Development of Object Permanence  18 to 24 months it is fully understood  A-not-B-error (8 to 12 months): search for a hidden object where they previously found it even after they have seen it moved to a new location o Challenges of Sensorimotor  Neo-Nativism – much cognitive knowledge is innate, requiring little specific experiences to be expressed, and that there are biological constraints, in that the mind/brain is designed to process certain types of information in certain ways  Theory Theories – combine neo-nativism and constructivism, proposing that cognitive development progresses by children generating, testing, and changing theories about the physical and social world o Preoperational Stage (2 to 7 yrs)  Children are thinking at a symbolic level but are not yet using cognitive operations  Symbolic function and representational insight  New views: dual representation (dual encoding) – represent an object as itself and something else  Preconceptual reasoning  Have not acquired operational schemes that enable them to think logically  Animism – attributing lifelike qualities to inanimate objects  Egocentrism – view the world from their own point of view  Appearance/reality distinction  Centration (centered thinking) – tend to only one aspect of a situation  Conservation – properties don’t change with appearance
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