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University of Toronto St. George
Justin Mc Neil

PSY210. Ch.6 Cognitive Development 10/4/2012 11:1o:o0 AM • Piagetian, Core Knowledge, & Vygotskian Perspectives • Overview : o Piaget's cognitive developmental theory • Sensorimotor stage • Preoperational stage • Concrete operational stage • Formal operational stage c Piaget and Education c Overall evaluation of Piaget's Theory o The Core Knowledge Perspective o Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory • Vygotsky and Education • Evaluation of Vygotsky's Theory Ch. 6 Cognition: refers to the inner processes and products of the mind that lead to "knowing". • It includes all mental activity - attending, remembering, symbolizing , categorizing, planning, reasoning, problem solving, creating, and fantasizing . Issues: • Course of cognition = one or many? • Individual differences • Mechanisms of cog development = genetic/environmental factors combine to yield patterns of change Piaget's Cognitive Developmental Theory • Piaget viewed children as discovering/ constructing virtually all knowledge about their world through their own activity by themselves . • His theory is described as a constructivist approach to cognitive development • Basic characteristics of Piaget's Stages o 4 stages • Sensorimotor, Preoperational, concrete operational formal operational o 3 important characteristics : • Stages provide general theory of development (stages change in an integrated fashion , following a similar course) • Stages are invariant (occur in a fixed order, no stage is skipped) • Stages are universal. (assumed to characterize children everywhere) • Piaget: Ideas about cognitive change o Specific psychological structures called schemes- organized ways of making sense of experience - change with age o Infant first acts on objects, and later on thinks before acting • This change = the next step of cognition from sensorimotor to representational schemes (via adaptation and organization) o Mental representations: internal depictions of info that the mind can manipulate • Placing objects into concept categories to sort them into schemas • Adaptation: building schemes through direct interaction with the environment. o Via assimilation (using current schemes to interpret the external world) and accommodation (creating new schemes/adjusting old ones) o Cognitive equilibrium = When children aren't changing much anymore ,they assimilate more than they accommodate. • Equilibration = When children move back and forth between equilibrium and disequilibrium. (When modifying schemes and returning to assimilation before moving back to accommodation again.) • Organization: New schemes are rearranged and linked with other schemes, to create a strongly interconnected cognitive system. Stage Characterised by Sensori -motor Differentiates self from objects (Birth-2 yrs) Recog nises self as agent ofactio n and begins to act intentionall y: e.g . pull s a string to mobile in motion or shakes a rattle to make a noise Achieves object perman ence: realises that things conti nue to exist even when no longer pres ent to the sense (pace Bishop Berkele y) Pre -operational Learns to use language and to represent objects by ima ges and words (2-7 years) Thinking i s still egocentric: difficulty taking the viewpo int of others Classifies objec ts by a single feate.g. groups together all the red blocks regardless of shape or all the square bloregardless of colour Con crete operational Can think log ically about objects and events (7-11 yea rs) Achieves conservation of number (age 6 ), mass (age 7), and w eight (age 9) Classifies objec ts acco rding to several featu res and can order them in series Formal operational Can think logic ally about abstract propo sitions and test hypotheses { 11yea rs an d up ) system tic ally Becomes concerned with the hypothetical , the future , and ideolo gic al problems (1) Sensorimotor sta e: 0-2 :iea-s = 6 ste s • Children think with senses • Circular reaction: baby stumbles onto new experience caused by their own motor activity. Infant tries to repeat the event again and again (circular). First focus is on own body, then manipulation of objects. o Repeating Chance Behaviours (circular reaction developments) o Intentional Behaviours: goal directed behaviour, coordinate schemes deliberately to solve simple problems • Retrieving hidden objects = object permanence • A not B search error = if they reach several times for an object at hiding place A, then see it moved to another (hiding place B), they still search for it in the first hiding place (A}. o Mental representations: No more trial and error behaviour, solutions are more sudden (experimentation with actions is done in their heads now instead) e.g. Doll carriage bumping into wall (keep bumping or move direction) • Deferred imitation: ability to remember and copy behaviour of models who aren't present. Sensorimotor Substage Typical adaptive behaviours 1. Reflexive schemes (0- Newborn reflexes (e.g. sucking) 1month) 2. Primary circular reactions (1- Motor habits centered 4months) round infants own body, limited 3. Secondary circular reactions (4- Actions aimed at Smonths) repeating interesting effects in environment, imitation of 4. Coordination of secondary Intentional behaviour, object circular reactions permanence (can find hidden (8-12months) objects in 1place), improved anticipation of events, imitations Exploring objects by acting 5. Tertiary circular reactions (12- 18months) on them in new ways, imitation of novel behaviours, can find 6. Mental Internal depictions of representation objects/events, as indicated (18 months - 2 years) by sudden solutions to problems, ability to find object that has been moved while out of sight (invisible displacement), deferred imitation, make-believe play • Correct time frame expectations of Piaget's sensorimotor theory: o Anticipate events o Actively search for hidden objects o Display and accurate A-B search o Flexibly vary their sensorimotor schemes o Engage in make believe play o Treat pictures and images symbolically • Criticisms of Piaget- Summary of traits that emerge sooner than Piaget expected: o Secondary circular reactions • Criticism: This happens much before the 4-8 months Piaget said it occurred at c Newborns already able to detect physical natural laws (e.g. gravity)by showing surprise when violation-of-unexpected method is done in front of them. c Baby shows heightened attention towards the unexpected event . = A criticism of Piaget's secondary circular reaction time o First signs of object permanence • Object permanence happens much sooner than Piaget expected. It happens in the first few months of life. • Used violation-of-unexpected method again o Carrot behind a screen experiment (baby still kept looking at it to appear even after it disappeared behind the screen for a bit) o Deferred imitation • Mental Representations o New research showed that 8-10month year olds ability to recall location of hidden objects after delays of more than a minute o Babies construct mentasl representations of objects and their whereabouts o Deferred and inferred imitation studies = children can do it earlier. o Categorization o Problem solving by analogy • Critique of Piaget's problem solving stage: • Infants representational skills permit more effective problem solving than Piaget's theory suggests • (That infants 7-8months develop intentional means) • By 10-12 months infants can engage in analogical problem solving - applying solution strategy from one problem to other relevant problems. • E.g. Pulling string to get toy experiment o Displaced reference of words • Displaced reference = A symbolic capacity, the realization that words can be used to cue mental images of things not physically present. Emerges around 1st birthday. • Stuffed wet frog called Lucy e.g. (Children explained that frog is called Lucy, and she got wet. ..children presented with dry frog, wet frog and pig....only 22 month old picked up wet frog when asked to "get Lucy") • Core Knowledge: Built in, innate knowledge one starts life with. Makes it able for child to perform in violation-of-expectation findings. Child is surprised when natural laws/expectations are broken. The Preo..Perational Sta e: 2 to 7 ears • Children increase representational/symbolic activi • Advances in Mental Representation o Language is our most flexible means of mental representation (private speech) o Sensorimotor activity first, which leads to internal images of experience, which are then labeled with words o Piaget underestimated the power of language to spur children's cognition • Piaget = Language is just an INDICATOR of cognitive development • Vygotsky = Language is an important SOURCE of cognitive development o Make Believe Play • Example of the development of representation • 3 Advances in play with development of representation: o 1. Play detaches from the real-life conditions associated with it. • A cup can be played with as more than a cup , it can symbolize a hat now too. o 2. Play becomes less self-centered. • Play goes from pretending to be feeding themselves to feeding a doll/friend/parent. o 3. Play includes more complex combinations of schemes. • Sociodramatic play: make believe with others that is under way by the end of the 2nd year and increases rapidly in complexity (roles, storylines etc) during early childhood • E.g. pretending to drink from a cup only by putting mouth to it. o More complex = pretending to drink from a cup by pouring and sipping. • Benefits of Make-Believe o Piaget's view too limited. Play not only reflects but also contributes to children 's cognitive and social skills. o Improves sustained memory , logic, reason, language , literacy, imagination, creativity, emotional awareness, reflection and to see perspective of others. o Imaginary friends = shows complex representation ability o Drawings • From scribbles pictures a. Scribbles b. First representational forms (age 3) e.g. stickmen c. More realistic drawings • Cultural variations: artistic traditions and importance of art per culture vary o Symbol - Real- World Relations • Symbol corresponds to something in everyday life • Dual representation: viewing a symbolic object as both an object in its own right and a symbol e.g. A bird house o Children grasp dual representation more easily when adults point our similarities between models and real world spaces • Limitations of preoperational thought: o Preoperational stage: young children not capable yet of operations • Operations: Mental representations of actions that obey logical rules o Children at the preoperational stage are strongly influenced by the way things APPEAR at the moment (rather than using logical rules to judge a situation) o Egocentric & Animistic Thinking: • Egocentrism: deficiency of preoperational thinking where the child has a failure to distinguish others' symbolic viewpoints from one's own. o E.g. Piaget's Three Mountains Problem • Animistic Thinking: Belief that inanimate objects have lifelike qualities (e.g. thoughts, feelings, wishes, intentions) o E.g. Children who believe their stuffed toys will feel pain if they fall off the bed . • Inability to conserve: (due to egocentrism stage lack of ability to accommodate, reflect or revise their faulty reasoning in response to physical/social world) o Conservation: refers to the idea that certain physical characteristics of objects remain the same, even when their outward appearance changes. o E.g. Testing conservation using same amount of objects but
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