HLTB02 Chapter 9.docx

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Health Studies
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Caroline Barakat

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Chapter 9: Cognitive Development in  Preschool Children  9.1: COGNITIVE PROCESSES Piaget’s Account • Most preschoolers have made the transition from Sensorimotor thinking to preoperational thinking • Preoperational stage which spans ages 2 to 7, is marked by the child’s use of symbols to represent objects and events o Throughout this period, preschool children gradually become proficient at using common symbols such as words, gestures Characteristics of Preoperational Thinking • Thinking is quite limited compared to that of school-age children due to egocentrism, centration, and appearance as reality • Centration is term for narrowly focused thought that characterizes preoperational youngsters o Demonstrated through experiments involving conservation • Preschool children believe an object’s appearance tells what the object is really like Extending Piaget’s Account: Children’s Naïve Theories • Many 4-year-old’s theories of biology include the following elements: o Movement: children understand that animals can move themselves, but inanimate objects can only be moved by other objects or by people o Growth: understand that animals get bigger and physically more complex but that inanimate objects do not o Internal parts: know that the insides of animate objects contain different materials than the insides of inanimate objects o Inheritance: realize that only living things have offspring that resemble their parents o Healing: understand that when injured, animate things heal by regrowth whereas inanimate things must be fixed by humans o *Misconception that adopted children will physically resemble their adoptive parents • Person’s ideas about connections between thoughts, beliefs, and behaviour form a theory of mind, a naïve understanding of the relations between mind and behaviour o Moves through three phases during preschool years o Earliest phase, common in 2-year-olds, children are aware of desires, and often speak of their wants and likes  Eg.” lemme see” or “I wanna sit”  Link their desires to their behaviour • Eg. “I happy there’s more cookies” o By age 3, children clearly distinguish the mental world from the physical world  Use mental verbs like think, believe, remember and forget • Have new understanding of mental states  Usually emphasize desires when trying to explain why people act as they do o Age 4 is when mental states really take prominence in children’s understanding of their own and others’actions  Understand that their own and others’behaviour is based on their beliefs about events and situations, even when those beliefs are wrong  Deficits in pretend play for children with autism may be linked to deficits in theory of mind • Due to difficulties in executive functioning present early in life  In non-autistic children, developmental transformation from egocentrism to a theory of mind is particularly evident when the children are tested on false-belief tasks o Counterfactual thinking refers to child or adult’s understanding that a situation or fact is counter to reality  First demonstrated through a child’s engagement with pretend play • As early as 2 years old • Involves child making mental comparisons between real life and an imagined alternative situation • When they become better able to make judgements about veracity of information and engage in activities that are counter to reality, they begin to develop a theory of mind • Naïve psychology flourishes in preschool years with children beginning to reason about how events are related in the world Information-Processing Perspectives on Preschool Thinking • Unlike Piaget theory, preschool years are not regarded as a separate stage according to the information-processing approach o Years are thought to include continued growth of m
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