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Chapter 4

Psychology 2040A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Object Permanence, Cognitive Development, Problem Solving

Course Code
Laura Reid

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Chapter 4 Theories of Cognitive Development
Piaget’s Theory
Emphasize children’s innate motivation to explore the environment
View of Children’s Nature (Assumption)
- From birth onward they are active mentally and physically, and that their activity greatly
contributes to their own development
It’s labeled constructivist, because it depicts children as constructing knowledge for
themselves in response to their experiences.
Three most important constructive processes: generating hypotheses, performing
experiments, drawing conclusions.
- Children learn many lessons on their own
- Children are intrinsically 本本本 motivated to learn and do not need rewards from adults to do so
Central Development Issue
Nature and Nurture
1. Nature and nurture interact to produce cognitive development
2. Nurture includes every experience the child encounters
3. Nature: a. mature brain and body
b. ability to perceive, act and learn from experience
c. motivation to meet adaption (the tendency to respond to the demands of the
environment in ways that meet one’s goals) and organization (the tendency to
integrate particular observations into coherent knowledge)
Part of children’s nature is to respond to their nurture
Sources of Continuity
1. Assimilation
The process by people translate incoming information into a form that they can understand
2. Accommodation
Adapt current knowledge structures in response to new experience
3. Equilibration

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Balance assimilation and accommodation to create stable understanding
Sources of discontinuity
Distinct stages of cognitive development
Each stage represents a coherent way of understanding one’s experience, and each transition
between stages represents a discontinuous intellectual leap from one coherent way of
understanding to the next, higher one
Central properties of Piaget’s stage theory
1. Qualitative change
Children of different ages think in qualitatively different ways
2. Broad applicability
The type of thinking characteristic of each stage influences children’s thinking across diverse
topics and contexts
3. Brief transitions
Before entering a new stage, children pass through a brief transitional period in which they
fluctuate between the type of thinking characteristic of the new and the old. (more advanced
—less advanced one)
4. Invariant sequence
Everyone progresses through the stages in the same order and never skips a stage
1. Sensorimotor stage (birth -2 years)
- Intelligence develops and expressed through sensory and motor abilities. Use these abilities
to explore the world
- Intelligence is bound to their immediate perceptions and actions (recall just now things)
- Link with object permanence and problem solving observations.
Substage 1 (birth-1 month)
a. Infants are many with reflexes
b. Infants accommodate their actions to the parts of the environment with which they
Eg., suck differently on a milk-yielding nipple than on their finger

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Substage 2 (1-4 months)
a. Their reflexes serve as building blocks for more complex behavior
b. Organize separate reflexes into larger behaviors
Eg., when an object touches their palm, they can grasp it and bring it to their mouth
Substage 3 (4-8)
a. Objects out of sight, out of mind
Substage 4 (8-12)
a. Can perceive unseen objects mentally represent the object’s continuing existence even
when they no longer see they object
b. But make A-Not-B error
Substage 5 (12-18)
a. Begin to actively and avidly explore the potential uses to which objects can be put
Substage 6 (18-24)
a. Able to form enduring mental representations  deferred imitation
Activities centre on their own bodies- activities include the world around them form mental
representations from out of sight, but of mind to deferred imitation
Mental representation preoperational thinking
2. Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)
- Symbolic representations
- Limitations
Egocentrism (self focused)
Perceiving the world solely from one’s own point of view
a. Difficult to form conservation concept
b. They center their attention on the single, perceptually salient dimension of
height/length, but ignore other relevant dimensions
c. Fail to realize the appearance. Fail to consider the difference
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