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Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Piaget PSY312

10 Pages

Course Code
Stuart Kamenetsky

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Chapter 2: Piaget's Theory of Development -before Piaget began his work no recognizable field of cognitive development existed -what explains the longevity of Piaget's theory? -most basic reason, his theory communicates an almost tangible sense of what children's thinking is like (appeals to our memories of childhood) -second important reason, theory addresses topics that have been important to parents, teachers, scientists for 100s of years (What is intelligence?, development of time, space, number etc)- development of such fundamental concepts -third reason, covers a broad age span (infancy -adolescence), achievements at diff ages. His theory points out the commonalities underlying seemingly unrelated facts -fourth reason, he had a knack for making interesting observations "green thumb" (ex: infants failure to search for objects if they can't be seen) An Overview of Piaget's Theory The Theory as a Whole -motivation; he had an interest in biology and philosophy (epistemology- interest in origins of knowledge) -fascinated by Kant's theory -Where does knowledge come from? -followed Kant in viewing space, time, classes, causality, and relations as basic categories of knowledge -opposed that these basic categories of knowledge were innate. He believe that they were learned through infancy, childhood and adolescence. -He wanted to answer the Q: How does knowledge evolve? -he was interested in intelligence: ability to adapt to all aspects of reality -intelligence evolves through distinct stages The Stages of Development Stage Theorists: -assume children's reasoning in earlier stages differs qualitatively from their reasoning in later ones -assume that at a given point in development, children reason similarly on many problems -assume that after spending a prolonged period of time in a stag, children abruptly make the transition to the next stage Progress Through Four Stages: Sensorimotor (birth-2) -child' cognitive system is limited to motor reflexes -build on these to develop more sophisticated procedures -repeating inadvertent behaviours -physical interaction with objects Preoperational Period (2-6/7) -representing the world symbolically ( mental imagery, drawing, language) -vocab increases between 18-60 months, utterances progress from one and two word phrases to sentences of indefinite length -can view the world from their own perspective -focus information too narrowly, represent only static situations Concrete Operational Period (6/7-11/12) - can take others point of view , can simultaneously take into more than one perspective, can represent transformations as well as static situations -solve problems involving concrete objects and physically possible situations -do not know all logically possible outcomes and do not understand highly abstract concepts Formal Operational Period (adolescence & adulthood) -reason in terms of theories and abstractions as well as concrete realities -solving many problems -Piaget recognized that particular knowledge and beliefs continue to change but the basic mode of reasoning is sufficiently powerful to last a lifetime Developmental Processes How do children progress from one stage to another? -Assimilation,Accommodation, Equilibration Assimilation: -way in which people transform incoming information so that it fits their existing way of thinking (ex: child sees a man with hair on the sides but nothing on the top...called him a clown) -important throughout life) -ex: Levin, could not make sense of Bartok's career, annoying to the ear, but 20 years later it seemed musical to him -initially he was unable to assimilate the Bartok piece to his understanding of music -functional assimilation: tendency to use a mental structure as soon as it becomes available (child first learning how to talk, talked to crib for hours) -external reinforcers as motivators of behaviour -reason for engaging in the activity: sheer delight of mastering new skills Accommodation: -ways in which people adapt their thinking to new experiences (ex: father told the child that the man they saw was not a clown, he was not wearing a funny costume) -assimilation and accommodation influence each other -(ex: a child trying to grasp something bc has grasped other objects (assimilating); however has to accommodate the new shape of the object) -extreme case:Assimilation- fantasy play (treat objects as something they arent) Accommodation- imitation (simply mimic what they see) -when we do not understand what we are doing, imitation is imperfect (trying to repeat a 10 word sentence from a language u don't speak) Equilibration: -process by which children integrate their many particular pieces of knowledge of the world into a unified whole -balancing assimilation and accommodation -keystone of developmental change within Piaget's system -formation of ever more stable equilibria between child's cognitive system and the external world -child's model of the world increasingly resembles reality. -regardless of when it occurs in life, it has 3 phases 1. Children are satisfied with their mode of thought and therefore are in a state of equilibrium 2. Become aware of shortcoming in their existing thinking and are dissatisfied state of disequilibrium 3. Adopt a more sophisticated mode of thought that eliminates the shortcomings of the old one (more stable) (ex: a girl thinks that only animals are living things. Then she realizes that plants also grow and die (disequilibrium). Eventually she will learn through growth and reproduction that plants are also living things) Orienting Assumptions -the child as a scientific problem solver: Piaget often likened children's thinking to that of scientists solving problems about the fundamental nature of the world -3 considerations led Piaget to concentrate on scientific reasoning and problem solving -view on what development was (adaptation to reality) -how and why development occurs (problems challenge existing understandings- equilibrium) -insights that can be gained by observing children's reactions to unfamiliar situations -the role of activity: cognitive activity as the means through which development occurs -assimilation, accommodation, equilibrium, all active processes by which the mind transforms, and is transformed by incoming info -distinction between found reality and a constructed reality - (ex: picture of a bridge (superficial appearance vs. Engineer's model of the forces operating on the bridge.) -children's mental representations emphasize structural relations/causes like the engineer model -only way children can form such representations is to assimilate their experience to their existing understandings. -methodological assumptions: trade off between precision and replicability in his experiments -used diff methods to study different topics The Stage Model THE SENSORIMOTORO PERIOD (BIRTH TO ROUGHLY 2 YEARS -brain of 2 year olds weighs almost 3x as much as a newborn -cognitive competence grows rapidly in the first few years Substage 1: Modification of reflexes (birth to 1 month) -born possessing many reflexes -sucking, close fingers around objects, focus on edges of objects with eyes, turn head toward noise; building blocks of intelligence -first month after birth, modify reflexes t make them more adaptive (how they suck on a nipple vs finger) -accommodation seen this early Substage 2: Primary circular reactions (roughly 1 to 4 months) -by 2nd month exhibit primary circular reactions (repetitive cycle of events) -in primary circular reactions, if infants inadvertently produce some interesting effect, they attempt to duplicate it by repeating the action -this is possible because, infants begin to coordinate actions that originally were separate reflexes (ex: brings objects to their mouth to suck that they can grasp) -primary circular reactions are more flexible than the earlier reflexes and allow infants to learn a great deal about the world. -limited in 3 ways 1.atemmpt to reproduce only the exact behaviour that produced the original interesting event 2. Their actions are poorly integrated, large trial and error component 3. Only try to repeat actions in which the outcome of the action involves their own bodies Substage 3: Secondary Circular Reactions (roughly 4 to 8 months) -infants become interested in outcomes occurring beyond their bodies (batting ball with hand and watching it roll away) -repeated over and over -involves objects in external world -infants also organize more efficiently the components of their circular reactions -infants activities were not sufficiently voluntary to say that they had independent goals -first month- no goals, 1-8 months- goals directly suggested to them by the immediate situation, after 8 months- form true goals Substage 4: Coordination of secondary circular reactions (roughly 8 to 12 months) -able to coordinate two or more secondary circular reactions into an efficient routine (ex: put pillow in front of matchbox; boy now pushes pillow aside to get matchbox) -realize that if they act in certain ways, particular effects will follow (removing the pillow allows him to get the matchbox) -ability to form enduring internal representations of the world (out of sight is no longer out of mind) Substage 5: Tertiary circular reactions (roughly 12 to 18 months) -actively search for new ways to interact with objects, and explore the potential uses to which objects can be put -they deliberately vary both their own actions and the objects on which they act -activities involve similar rather than identical behaviours (holds his arm out in different positions and falls in different places.) * - At first activities centre on their own bodies, later, they increasingly center on the external world. Goals begin at the concrete level (dropping an object) and become increasingly abstract (varying the heights from which objects are dropped). Correspondence between intentions and behaviours becomes increasingly precise and exploration of the world become increasingly venturesome * Substage 6: Beginnings of Representational Thought (roughly 18-24 months) -transitional from sensorimotor and preoperational periods -in sensorimotor period cannot form internal mental representations of objects and events -internal mental representations first produced - ex: chain in matchbox, open her mouth, "signifier", opening in matchbox to become wider -representation is moving from her external actions to her mind THE PREOPERATIONAL PERIOD (ROUGHLY 2 YEARS TO 6/7 YEARS) -key development: representational ability Early Symbolic Representations -deferred imitation, the imitation of an activity hours or days after it occurred -must have formed some sort of representation of the original activity (ex: girl watched a boy scream in his playpen to get out. The next day she did the same) Two Types of Internal Representation -symbols (idiosyncratic representations intended only for one's personal use -signs (conventional representations intended for communication -early in their acquisition of internal representations, children use symbols (personal symbols physically resemble the object they represent ex: popsicle stick as gun) -signs often do not resemble the objects or events they signify (the word cow does not look like a cow) -as children grow they make less use of idiosyncratic symbols and more of conventional signs -expands their ability to communicate -egocentric communication - their thinking about the external world is always in terms of their own perspective -b/w 4-7 speech becomes les
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