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Social Development Studies
SDS 150R
Steve Spencer

Cognitive Changes Sensorimotor stage- Piaget’s first stage of development, in which infants use information from their senses and motor actions to learn about the world Substage 1- reflexes: use of built-in schemas such as sucking or looking. Limitied imitation, no ability to integrate information from several senses Primary circular reactions- Piaget’s phrase to describe a baby’s simple repetitive actions in substage 2 of the sensorimotor stage; the actions are organized around the baby’s own body (sucking thumb is pleasurable, so they continue to do it) Secondary circular reactions- Piaget’s phrase to describe the repetitive actions in substage 3 of the sensorimotor stage; the actions are oriented around external objects (The baby coos and mom smiles so the baby does it again to get mom to smile again) Means-end behavior- purposeful behavior carried out in pursuit of a specific goal (moving a toy out of the way to get another) Tertiary circular reactions- deliberate experimentation with variations of previous actions that occurs in substage 5 of the sensorimotor period (trial and error kind of behavior) (dropping a toy from a height to see if it makes different sounds, etc) In stage 6, it’s the beginning of mental representation and the child develops the use of symbols to represent objects or events. The child understands that the symbol is separate from the object. The child can figure out a way to get what they want (opening a jar to get cookies). They can generate solutions to problems by simply thinking about them, without the trial and error kind of behavior Object permanence- the understanding that objects continue to exist when they can’t be seen (starts at about 2 months of age—in substage 2) In substage 3, at about 6 to 8 months, baby will look over the edge of the crib for dropped toys. They recognize the whole object is there even though they can see only a part of it. In substage 4 at about 8 and 12 months, they’ll reach for a toy that has been completely covered by a sheet or blanket. By 12 months, most infants grasp the basic fact that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible. Findings from the research indicate that infants are holding some kind of representation of the hidden object in mind when it is behind the screen and look towards the other side to see if they can see the image on the other side. Piaget found that infants cant imitate people’s facial gestures until substage 4 (8 to 12 months) Piaget argues that imitation of any action that wasn’t already in the child’s repertoire did not occur until about 1 year. Deferred imitation- imitation that occurs in the absence of the model who first demonstrated it. (In substage 6, since it requires some kind of internal representation) Several researchers have found that newborn babies will imitate certain facial gestures—particularly tongue protrusion (only if it’s stuck out for a long time) Infants can and do learn specific behavior through modeling, even when they have no chance to imitate it immediately More abilities than Piaget suggested may be built in from the beginning and develop continuously, rather than in stages, through infancy, and babies may be more skillful than he thought. Object concept- an infant’s understanding of the nature of objects and how they behave Spelke believes that babies are born with certain buil-in assumptions that guide their interactions with objects. One of these is the assumption that when 2 surfaces are connected to each other, they belong to the same object. (connected surface principle) Violation of expectancy: when an unexpected event happens, children show sharp interest in the inconsistent condition. Other researchers argue that knowledge about objects are not built in, but strategies for learning are innate Object individuation- the process by which an infant differentiates and recognizes distinct objects based on their mental images of objects in the environment. Research suggests that infants use 3 broad categories to individuate objects: spatiotemporal information (info about the location and motion of objects), property information (perceptual qualities of an object), and awareness of distinct kinds of objects (duck vs. ball) The term learning is used to denote permanent changes in behavior that result from experience. Learning, memory, and intelligence Conditioning and Modelling- When newborns were smothered by new breast feeding mothers, they refused to drink from that breast and instead turned towards the other. The sucking response and head turning have been successfully increased by the use of reinforcements such as sweet liquids or the sounds of the mother’s voice or heartbeat The mother’s voice is an effective reinforce for virtually all babies Infants’ prior experience of playing with an object increases their interest in the actions of other people with the same object Schematic learning- organization of experiences into expectancies, called schemas, which enable infants to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar stimuli One kind of schematic learning involves categories. By 7 months, infants actively use categories to process information Categories such as animals are referred to as superordinates. Full understanding of categorization is not typical until age 5, and is linked to language development Babies’ memories are highly specific Infants build and use categories as they take in information Newborns appear to be able to remember auditory stimuli to which they are exposed to while sleeping Babies as young as 3 months can remember specific objects and their own actions with those objects over periods as long as a week Early infant memories are strongly tied to the specific context in which the original experience occurred. Intelligence- the ability to take in information and use it to adapt to the environment Bayley Scales of infant development measure primarily sensory and motor skills. Bayley’s tests and others like it have proven to be helpful in identifying infants and toddlers with serious developmental delays Individual differences in habituation rate (novelty preference and visual recognition) (lose interest in) during the early months of life may predict later intelligence test scores. The Fagan test of infant intelligence tests this. At least one aspect of intelligence is continuous from infancy to adulthood. The beginnings of language Language acquisition device (LAD)- an innate language processor, theorized by Chomsky, that contains the basic grammatical structure of all human language. (Language directed by an adult to an infant) Interactionists- theorists who argue that language development is a subprocess of general cognitive development and is influenced by both internal and external factors Infant-directed speech (IDS)- the simplified, higher-pitched speech that adults use with infants and young children Babies appear to find the high-pitched quality of IDS particularly attractive. The sheer quantity of language a child hears is a significant factor. This speech is also characterized by repetitions of the child’s sentences in more grammatically correct forms (called expansion or recasting) IDS has sh
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