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Chapter 8


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Mark Schmuckler

PSYB20 CHAPTER 8 PIAGET AND VYGOSTKY PIAGET THEORY OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Worked w/ Alfred Binet in development of first intelligence test- standardized IQ tests for children 2 observations associated to it o children of the same age tended to get the same answers wrong o observed that the errors of children of particular age differed in systematic way from those older or younger to study childrens thinking- he relied on 2 methods o interviews o observations Piaget theories became popular in North America in 1960s Child actively seeks knowledge Piaget argues that children play active role in acquiring knowledge Argued that children actively seek out info o Children construct their own understanding TF he came up w/ constructivist view The idea that children actively create their understanding of the world as they encounter new info and have new experiences He was mainly interested in development of knowledge about logical properties of the world Piaget believed that throughout development, childrens knowledge becomes organized into more complex cognitive structures Cognitive structures (organized group of interrelated memories thoughts, that kids use to try to understand a situation) o Course organization Children use cognitive structures to understand a situation Piagets theory was built around schemas (an organized unit of knowledge that the child uses to try to understand a situation; a schema forms the basis for organizing actions to respond to the environment) Organization entails the combination of simple mental structures into more complex systems The organization of knowledge enable the child to act on and interpret the world in a particular way As child grows older and gain experience, kids shift from using schemata (based on physical activities) to operations (based on internal mental activities) When substantial # of changes in schemata occur children change from 1 organized way to understanding to an entirely new way of approaching it These changes are organized in stages Thus, development of 4 stages of cognitive development Each stage is qualitatively different from the one preceding it Children dont reach them at exactly the same age Children pass through the stages in the same order it cannot be skipped o Cognitive adaptation Adaptation the individuals tendency to adjust to environmental demands Children use the process of adaptation to modify their own schemas in relation to new experiences Process involves determining how this new info will fit with their existing knowledge What changes to existing knowledge need to be made to incorporate new info Assimilation Maudling a new experience to fit an existing way of responding to the environment Children use this process to understand a new experience Children try to apply what they know (existing schemas) into new schemas/ new experience Accommodation modifying an existing way of responding to the environment to fit the characteristics of a new experience Babies will use accommodation when they encounter that some experiences are hard to assimilate They modify existing scheme to fit the characteristics of the new situation Assimilation and accommodation work together to organize childrens knowledge and behaviour into complex structures Stages of cognitive development (qualitative changes over time in the way a child thinks) 1. Sensorimotor stage (spans 2 years) Moving from purely reflexive behaviour to symbolic thought and goal directed behaviours By the end of this stage children form mental representations of objects and events and use this info to solve problems and form new behaviours Due to its complexity sensorimotor stage is divided into 6 substages Major achievement during this stage = development of object concept Object permanence occurs o The notion that objects continue to exist even if its out of sight a. Basic reflex (birth to 1 month) Proficient in use of innate reflexes (grasping and sucking) b. Primary circular rxn (1-4 months) Focus on their own body behaviours Produce repetitive behaviours focused on their own body Repeat and modify axns they find pleasurable (often by chance) Do not understand objects exist on their own when toy vanishes they do not look for it (if toy drops, they stare at their hand rather than follow the foaling objects path to floor) c. Secondary circular rxn (4-8 months) Interested in making things happen outside his own body Repetitive behaviour is Focused on external objects Engage in behaviours that please him Show some awareness of object permanence will visually search for an object if its lost Child will search for partially visible object but not covered one Even if child watches object being covered- will not attempt to retrieve it d. Secondary schemata (8-12 months) Infant combines different schemes to achieve a specific goal Aka coordination of secondary schemata Behaviours are more sophisticated and directed toward objects reflecting intentionality Awareness of object permanence is developed Will search for missing object, but if object was moved will continue to search in 1 hiding spot (recall: a not b error- maybe short term memory) e. Tertiary circular rxn (12 18 months) Infant experiments w/ the properties of external objects and try to learn how objects respond to various axn Will use trial and error to learn more about the object and to solve problems Piget referred these kids as little scientist Display understanding of object permanence But still have trouble following more than 1 displacement of object f. Inventing new means through mental combinations (18-24) Last stage of sensorimotor period Combine shemes mentally- rely less on physical trial and error Beginning of symbolic thought appears No longer limited to physically exploring, manipulating and acting on objects Emerging ability to use language Shows deferred imitation- child successfully mimics actions after sometime of observing it g. Research findings Many argued that bc of developmental limitations- such as poor hand-eye coordination, some children who have acquired object concept may be unable to reveal it in manual search activities Violation of expectation method Renee Baillargeon 1993 Measured the amount of time infants look at a situation using objects (aka an event) in order to reveal info about infants understanding of objects before being able to manually search for it Presented impossible event (car rolling down a ramp and disappearing behind a screen) Found that infants looked longer at the impossible event than the possible event even as young as 3 month demonstrate an awareness of object permanence under those conditions Suggest that infants know a great deal more about objects than Piaget thought they did These types of understandings are core knowledge systems ways of reasoning about ecologically important objects and events- such as
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