Textbook Notes (362,899)
Canada (158,093)
Psychology (3,261)
PSYC 3440 (22)
Caron Bell (10)
Chapter 8

Cognitive Development - Chapter 8 summary

11 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Guelph
PSYC 3440
Caron Bell

Chapter 8 Conceptual Development: - Concepts involve group together different entities on the basis of some similarity. - They allow us to organize our experience into coherent patterns and draw inferences in situations in which we lack direct experience. - We apply previous knowledge to new situations. - The tendency to form concepts is a basic characteristic of human beings. - The development of conceptual representations in general is based on the assumption that the nature of people’s minds leads them to represent most or all concepts in a particular way. - The nature of this representation is of primary interest; the details of the particular concepts are secondary. - Representational Developmental Hypothesis: - Certain concepts, time, space, number, living things, are so basic to our understanding of the world that their development is importantn in its own right. - Understanding of basic concepts changes dramatically during development but their core seems to be part of our inheritance as human beings. Conceptual Representations in General: - How do people represent concepts? Three main possibilities.  Defining Features representations—dictionary definitions. Include only the necessary and sufficient features that determine whether an example is or not an instance of the concept.  Probabilistic Representations- articles in encyclopedias. Represent concepts in terms of a large number of properties that are somewhat, but not perfectly, correlated with the concept.  Theory Based Representations- like chapters in a science book. Emphasize casual relations among elements of a system. Defining Features Representations: - Knowing the concepts’ necessary and sufficient features. - Use these features to determine whether particular examples were instances of the concept. - Piaget- believed children couldn’t form defining features representations largely on observations of children playing with objects. - Found that older children divide objects into categories with a defining feature: animals, vehicles, dolls, etc. - Preschoolers  Dogs and car (dog likes car) cat and chair (cat likes chair)  Piaget concluded that preoperational stage children’s concepts were thematic—organizes in terms of a common activity or theme.  Concrete Operations: children’s concepts are taxonomic—Organized in terms of hierarchically organized categories, like those used to classify plants and animals in biology. Vygotsky: children grouped all the red blocks together, all yellow etc. CHAIN CONCEPTS: concepts in which the basis of classification changed from example to example. Vygotsky believed: - Children pass through three stages of conceptual development. 1. Very early they form thematic concepts—stressing relations between particular pairs of objects. 2. Chain concepts—by momentarily classifying on the basis of abstract dimensions. Colour, shape. But forgetting what they were doing and switching the basis of their categorization. 3. Elementary school—forming true concepts, based on stable, necessary, and suffiecient features. - Preschoolers sort objects according to how they interact, rather than their categorical relations. They find different relations of interest than do adults. - Preschoolers who short objects thematically could explain the taxonomic relations as well. - There is flexible use of both thematic and taxonomic categories in preschoolers. - Their tendency to use one type of concept or the other depends on the context in which the task is presented, or on the nature of the task instructions. - There is underestimating the role of specific content knowledge in conceptual understanding. - Young children represent some concepts in terms of defining features, they do not know what the defining features are for many other concepts.  9 year olds emphasize the defining feature  However, both younger and older children can form defining features representations, but knowledge about the defining features of particular concepts increases with age. Probabilistic Representations: - Adults and children represent most concepts in terms of probabilistic relations between the concept and various features: rather than in terms of a few defining features. - Most concepts are united by family resemblances rather than by defining features. - The instances resemble each other to varying degrees and in varying ways, but there is no set of features that all of them possess. - Four powerful ideas of Rosch and Mervis’ Theory: 1. Cue validities: - How might children decide wether objects are examples of one concept or another? - They compare cue validities. - The degree to which the presence of a feauture makes it likely that an object is an example of a concept depends on the frequency with which the feature accompanies that concept and on the infrequency with which the feature accompanies other concepts. - Flight is a highly valid cue for an object’s being a bird. - Probabilistic approach suggests that objects perceived as better examples are ones whose features have higher cue validities for that concept. Robins are better example of a bird than ostriches. Colour, size, ability to fly are more valid cues to their being birds. - The cues that people consider in forming concepts change over development. - Infants’ categories are not limited to ones based soley on perceptual features. - In first year of life, infants have knowledge about causal and functional attributes of objects that they can use to guide their categorization. 2. Basic Level Categories: - Many categories are hierarchical. All instances of one category are necessarily instances of another. - Hierarchical typically includes three levels: 1. General – superordinate level Chair: furniture, some have legs and some don’t. 2. A specific one – Subordinate level Chair: “kitchen chairs” 3. Middling gerneality – basic level.—Cue validities are maximized. - Chair: legs, back seat. - Basic level categories are more fundamental classifications than either superordinate or subordinate categories. - Children learn basic before superordinate or subordinate categories. Correlations among features: - Conceptual understanding involves more than knowing the cue validities of indivual features. - Correlations among features are at least as essential. Prototypes: they are the most representative instances of concepts. The examples that have the highest cue validities. - Infants as young as three months abstract prototypical forms. Evaluation: - In the first year, infant’s abstract prototypical patterns, form basic level categories and notice cue validities and correlations among features. - With development: - they form increasing numbers of super ordinate and subordinate levels of categories - move from child basic to standard basic categories - become sensitive to more complex and subtle Correlational patterns.  This approach does not specific how children determine which features of unfamiliar objects and events they should encode and which they should ignore.  Determining which features to encode is difficult.  Unless children encode the important features and relations, they can’t learn their cue validities. Theory based Representaions: - There is more to concepts than correlations among features or defining features. - They embody theoretical beliefs about the world and the relations of entities to each other. - These beliefs influence our reactions to new information 1. Most concepts are partial theories. They include explanations of relations among their parts and their relations to other concepts. 2. Theories are complexly tied to people’s associative knowledge: they don’t stand apart from it. 3. Causal relations are basic within these theories. They are more useful than other types of relations. 4. Hierarchical relations also are informative.  Children posses theoretical understand that allow them to go beyond defining features and probabilistically related features to explain WHY the world is the way it is.  There is a relation between associative knowledge and theoretical beliefs, answers reflects both specific memories and an informal theory of how things work. - Theoretical understanding is present in concepts of young/older children and adults.  Understanding is not the same at all ages.  The accuracy and interconnectedness of the theoretical belifs, as well as the frequency with which they are relied on, increase with development. - Keil hypothesized that at all ages, concepts include: 1. Theoretical connections 2. Isolated factual information. - As theories become more sophisticated, they explain an increasingly broad range of the factual knowledge. - CORE THEORIES.  Wellman/Gelman: children are predisposed to develop 3 core theories: 1. Inanimate Objects (naïve physics) 2. Living Things (naïve biology) 3. Human mind (naïve psychology) - Core theories organize their knowledge about the world and help them in acquiring additional knowledge. - Spelke: children begin life with a theory of physics. Includes the knowledge that the world is mostly composed of physical objects that are : 1. cohesive, 2. have boundaries, 3. substance, 4. move only when touched by another object, 5. move in continuous ways - First theory of psychology emerges around 18 months (Gelman/Wellman). - First theory of biology (2-3 years) Development of Some Particularly Important Concepts: TIME - Concept includes experiential and logical aspects.  Experimental: our subjective experience of the order and duration of events.  Logical Time: properties that can be deduced through reasoning. An event that starts later and ends earlier than another must have taken a shorter time. Experiential Time: - Infants in first year notice order. - Photos being shown in sequences, left to right helps babies understand and encode order of events. - By 12 months, able to imitate sequences of two actions in the correct order: understanding of temporal order is well established in the first year. - By 5 years children can estimate durations up to 30 seconds accurately. - Older children get better at counting to help them estimate intervals. - Not until age 9 do children judge accurately which event is most recent when important events occurred more than 60 days earlier. (Birthday and Christmas in the past 60 days) - Understanding of durations in the future is a greater challenge. - Hard for 4 year olds to understand the events that will occur in the near future compared to events in distant future. - In early elementary children learn months, weeks, years etc and begin to play a role in their judgements of future events.
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 3440

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.