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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Developmental Psychology.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

Chapter 8  Cognition is the term used to describe the mental activity through which human beings acquire, remember, and learn to use knowledge. Congnition includes many mental processes like perception, attention, learning, memory and reasoning.  Piaget’s theory of cognitive development emphasizes developmental changes in the organisation or structure of children’s thinking processes.  Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development suggests that a child’s interactions with the social world produce advances in thinking and understanding. Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development  Piaget helped Binet develop first standaradized IQ tests for children and made two important observations. 1. That children of the same age got the same answers wrong 2. The errors children make differed in systematic ways from those older or younger  He thought these revealed distinct age related ways of thinking and understanding the world. Piaget relied on interviews and observations. Interviews= question and have them explain their thinking. Observation= used very young, present problem watch them try to solve  Piaget’s theory popular in 1960s. Proposed that throughout development the child acquires new ways of thinking and understanding the world. This was alt. To behaviourism which focused on observations of how their cognitive abilities change as they grow. Piaget’s Main tenet: The Child Actively Seeks Knowledge  Does not wait for environment to provide knowledge like behaviourism says. He was really interested in the development of knowledge about logical properties of the world.  Piaget believed that over the course of development, children’s knowledge of the world gets organized into increasingly complex cognitive structures...which is an organized group of interrelated memories, thoughts and strategies child uses in trying to understand a situation.  Much of his theory was built around the schema which is an organized unit of knowledge and collectively they form the knowledge base that a person uses to understand environment  Organization for piaget involves the combination of simple mental structures into more complex systems which is a key feature of children’s developing knowledge.  As children grow they switch from using schemata on overt physical activities to those based on internal mental ones which is called operations. With development, operations are used to alter and combine schemata to form more complex behaviours.  Large scale orgazational changes are stages. 4 stages in life. Sensorimotor, Preoperational, concrete operational and formal operations.  Modifying schemas in relation to experiences – adaptation. To understand a new experience they try assimilation which is applying their existing schemas to the new experience. Accomodation is modifying existing scheme to fit the characteristics of the new situation. Stages of Cognitive Development  Because stages are built through experience, they do not reach at exactly the same time and age Sensorimotor stage spans for two years (first 2) and is when children build on basic reflexes by interacting with the environment and form schemas. By the end of two years they begin to form mental representations of objects and events and use this information in developing new behaviours and solving problems. Sensorimotor divided in 6 subcategories: 1. Basic reflex activity 2. Primary circular Reactions 3. Secondary circular Reactions 4. Coordination of secondary schemata 5. Tertiary Circular Reactions 6. Inventing new means by mental combination Over this stage, they learn about objects including object permanence: the realization that objects continue to exists even when they are out of sight Substage 1- Infants become more proficient in the use of their innate reflexes (grasping, sucking). Over first month of life many involuntary behaviours are replaced by behaviours that are similar but controlled voluntarily. Infants only look at objects directly in front of them. ( birth to one month) Substage 2- They produce repetitive behaviours that are focused on the infant’s own body. They repeat actions that are pleasurable. If toy vanishes, will not look for it. Objects don’t have existence of their own. (1 to 4 months) Substage 3- Interested in making things happen outside his own body. Repetitive behaviours focused on external objects. Baby is capable of combining schemes and shows some awareness of object permanence. Will search for partially visible but not covered object. ( Four to Eight Months) Substage 4- More sophisticated behaviours directed toward objects and reflect intentionality. Able to plan to attain a goal. Beginning of problem solving. Child will search for completely covered objects but A not B searching if moved. (8 to 12 months) Substage 5- Use trial and error to learn more about the properties of objects and to solve problems. “little scientist” Can produce simililar but not exact behaviour like before. Understands permanence of object hidden from view but have trouble following more than one displacement of an object. Invisible displacement still not understood. ( Twelve to Eighteen months) Substage 6- Inventing new means by mental combination. Beginning of symbolic thought. Can attain goal by mentally combining schemas. Deferred imitation and full understanding of object permanence. ( 18 to 24 months). Piaget criticized for only measuring manual searching- poor hand eye coordination, could be wrong. Rene Baillargeon tried to measure how much infants understood about objects before capable of manually searching for them. Impossible vs. Possible event. Infants look longer at impossible event. This suggests they understood object permanence before Piaget thought. Core knowledge systems are understandings about the world so fundamental to cognitive development that they appear early in life (like physical laws). The violation of expectation method is a method for testing purposes to test infants’ even knowledge. Infants look longer at unexpected events. An issue is that although an infant looks longer, we don’t know exactly why they do it. Some argue that perceptual processes rather than conceptual processes explain infant’s longer looking at impossible event Preoperational stage is the child’s development of symbolic function. Preconceptual Substage: (2 to 4 years) Emergence of symbolic capabilities is evident in their rapid development of language, interest in imaginative play and use of deferred imitation. Animistic thinking tends to attribute life to inanimate objects. In this substage they also view the world from their own perspective and have difficulty seeing things from someone else’s point of view= egocentrism Piaget’s mountain task was problematic for 3 reasons: 1. He used simple models that lacked clear functions. 2. Choosing the appropriate drawings may be beyond the ability of a young child. 3. Choosing the correct perspective may not be an activity that makes sense to young children. Borke made two changes and got results that showed most children between three and a half and five were able to provide correct answers to the questions. A. Placed familiar things to make mountains more distinctive and B. Asked children to rotate small model of display to present the appropriate view rather than reconstruct the display or choose from drawing.
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