HLTB02 Chapter 6.docx

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Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Chapter 6: Cognition in Infants and  Toddlers  6.1: PIAGET ’ST HEORY Basic Principles of Piaget’s Theory • Children constantly want to make sense of their experiences and construct their understanding of the world • Children’s engagement with the world helps them to develop schemas Assimilation and Accommodation • Assimilation occurs when new experiences are incorporated into existing schemas • Accommodation occurs when schemas are modified based on experience Equilibration and Stages of Cognitive Development • Children find that they can readily assimilate most experiences into their existing schemas, but occasionally need to accommodate their schemas to adjust to new experiences • When children spend much more time accommodating than assimilating, balance becomes upset, state of disequilibrium results o Children reorganize their schemas to return to a state of equilibrium • Children discover critical flaws in their theories that prevent them from making good predictions about the world, and they alter their theories o Revolutionary changes in thought occur three times over lifespan: 2, 7, and 11 years of age Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage • Primarily involve infants’cognitive understanding of the world through simple, and later, complex motor schemas • Extends from birth to approximately 2 years • Progresses from developing schemas based on simple, reflex actions to symbolic processing in an orderly sequence • After infancy, schemas become based primarily on functional or conceptual relationships, not Sensorimotor actions Substage 1: Exercising Reflexes (roughly birth to 1 month) • Initially rely on reflex responses to stimuli, some of which become more coordinated behavioural schemas • Eg. 1-month-olds suck more vigorously and steadily than newborns Substage 2: Learning to Adapt (roughly 1 to 4 months) • Reflexes are modified by experience • Chief mechanism for change is the primary circular reaction o Occurs when infants use their own bodies to accidentally produce a pleasing event and then try to recreate the event o Eg. Baby girl might happen to touch her lips with her thumb, initiating pleasing sensations associated with sucking. Later infants tries to recreate these sensations by guiding her thumb to her mouth  Self-initiate sucking, no longer occurs only reflexively when mother places a nipple at the infant’s mouth Substage 3: Making Interesting Events (roughly 4 to 8 months) • Primary circular reactions involve the infant’s own body and no other objects • Shows greater interest in the world, objects become incorporated into circular reactions • Eg. infant might accidentally shake a rattle, and keep shaking it again and again expressing great pleasure at the noise • Novel actions that are repeated with objects are secondary circular reactions o Represent an infant’s first efforts to explore properties and actions of object in the environment o Learning about the sensations and actions associated with objects Substage 4: Using Means to Achieve Ends (roughly 8 to 12 months) • Marks onset of deliberate, intentional behaviour because the “means” (action/method) and “end” (purpose/goal) of activities become distinct • Eg. father places hand in front of toy, infant will move the hand to be able to play with the toy Substage 5: Experimenting (roughly 12 to 18 months) • Active experimenter with new objects • Infant will repeat old schemas with objects called tertiary circular reaction as if trying to understand why different objects yield different outcomes • Eg. infant might deliberately shake a number of different objects trying to discover which produce sounds and which do not Substage 6: Mental Representation (roughly 18 to 24 months) • Most infants are able to think about what is happening around them without having to physically explore a situation • Become more able to mentally work through simple problems that present themselves to the child • Children form early capabilities at make-believe play o Early attempts at make-believe play result from deferred imitation which is children’s ability to imitate actions that they observed at an earlier time • Beginning to work with symbols, such as words and gestures to form an internal, mental representation of their world Evaluating Piaget’sAccount of Sensorimotor Thought • Infants who are unsuccessful at object permanence may be showing poor memory rather than inadequate understanding of the nature of objects • Babies understand objects much earlier than Piaget claimed • Infant who understands the permanence of objects should find the impossible event a truly novel stimulus and look at it longer than the possible event The Child as Theorist • Children’s theories are usually called “naïve theories” • In Piaget’s view, children formulate a grand, comprehensive theory that attempts to explain an enormous variety of phenomena within a common framework • Some of the theories that young children first develop concern physics and biology Naïve Physics • Infants are surprised when objects move in ways not predicted by their naïve theory of physics • By 6 months, infants expect a stationary object to move following a collision, and they understand that the distance travelled by that object depends on the size of the colliding object • Later in the first year, infants come to understand the importance of gravity o Infants will look intently at an object that appears to float in midair with no obvious means of support because it violates their understanding of gravity Naïve Biology • Toddlers have some basic understanding about different properties of animate and inanimate objects 6.2: INFORMATION P ROCESSING Basic Features of the Information-ProcessingApproach • Mental hardware refers to mental and neural struc
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