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PSYC 2110 (131)
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2110
Professor
Gillian Wu
Semester
Fall

Description
CH 8: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT  Cognitive development: changes that occur in a child’s mental abilities over the course of their lives PIAGET’S THEORY OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT  Created genetic epistemology: the experimental study of the origin of k/l o Originally he studied his children and then moved on to larger samples of children in how they solve various problems  Intelligence: basic life fn that helps an organism adapt to their environment o Goal of intelligence is to form equilibrium b/w ones environment and their thought process (known as cognitive equilibrium) – achieving this equilibrium is known as equilibration  Children are interactionist in this case, since there is conflict b/w ones internal mental scheme and their environment  Children are considered constructivist: they are individuals that act on novel objects/events and gain some understanding of their essential features (construct their k/l on their own) o They can only construct their reality w/ what k/l is available to them  Cognition develops through the refinement of ones schemes (unobservable mental systems that underlie intelligence) o They are ones representation of reality – ppl interpret and organize their experiences w/ their schemes  Schemes are formed by 2 inborn intellectual processes:  Organization: child combine their existing schemes into new, more complex intellectual schemes  The goal of organizing of ones schemes is for adaptation (the process of adjusting to the demands of the environment) o Adaptation takes places using assimilation and accommodation  Assimilation: interpreting new experiences w/ the schemes one already posses i.e. thinking all four legged animals are dogs  Accommodation: process of modifying existing schemes to account for new experiences o The goal of using ass and acc is to gain a state of equilibrium b/w ones cognitive structures and their environment PIAGET’S STAGES OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT (4 Stages)  Invariant developmental sequence: thought that all children progress in these stages in the same order (cant be skipped bc you need one to get to the next) o The ages that children go through the stages can differ and this is based on peoples individual differences (can be due to cultural and environmental factors) SENSORIMOTOR STAGE: from birth – 2 years  Use senses and motor capacities to get to know the environment  Three important aspects of this stage: problem-solving skills, imitation and growth of object concept  There are 6 sub-stages to this stage (encompasses how children go from reflexive to reflective individuals 1. Reflex activity: first month of life – reflexes are shown to ass to new objects (sucking on different things) and acc to things that re novel objects 2. Primary circular reaction: the first motor habits to appear by an infant that they continue to do (sucking their thumb); these actions are satisfying, so they will continue to repeat it 3. Secondary circular reaction: doing things to novel objects by using their body (squeezing of a rubber ducky) – they now differentiate themselves from other objects so they find them of interest 4. Coordination of secondary schemes: infants start coordinating 2 or more actions to achieve an objective (i.e. lifting a cushion to get a toy [by grasping on the toy]) – earliest form of goal-directed behavior 5. Tertiary circular reactions: create new methods to solve problems – start to have a motivation to understand how things work 6. Mental representation: start to perform inner experimentation: trying to problem solve by visualizing behaviours before doing something  Imitation starts at around 8-12 months, but is very imprecise at the beginning  Deferred imitation can occur w/ older infants, bc they can now have the capacity to store memories and then retrieve them later on – Piaget felt that deferred imitation occurs a lot later in life then we now know it does: HE WAS INCORRECT  Object permanence: objects continue to exist even if they are no longer visible (or detectable by other senses) o Children until 4 months do not have this ability and if something is hidden from view, they will eventually loose interest in it o Even by 4-8 their ability is still selective; if something is partially hidden, they are likely to retrieve it, but if its still completely hidden, they will loose interest in it o By 8 months they will use the A-not-B error: if somethings hidden in a spot, they will search and find it, but when the same object is hidden somewhere else they child will go back to the original spot they thought it was (they think their behavior will determine where something is found)  Piaget’s ideas of this stage in development are somewhat accurate and things that parents can see in their children, however he underestimates an infants cognitive capacity  Neo-nativists: theorist that believe infants are born with substantial innate k/l about their world (which doesn’t need as much time to be shown as Piaget stated) o Baillargeon: stated that object permanence can be detected in infants earlier than Piaget thought – infants are not only aware of objects permanence, but they also are aware that solid objects cant go through each other (argument made by Baillargeon)  Theory theories: combine Piaget’s ideas w/ that of neo-nativists – say that infants are prepared at birth to make sense of certain information (like the neo’s say), but the k/l is incomplete and requires experience for infants to construct their reality (like Piaget says) – infants do this by constructing theories and testing/modifying them until they are correct PREOPERATIONAL STAGE: 2-7 years  Preoperational period: symbolic functioning occurs – the ability to make one thing stand for something else o Representational insight: k.l that an entity can stand for something other than itself  Language is the most obvious form of symbolism children display; cognitive dev promotes lang dev, not the other way around Piaget says  2 thing that occurs is: pretend (symbolic) play; playing make-believe and creating imaginary playmates is healthy dev – can lead to growth of social and interpersonal skills  Children that are 2 ½ are not skilled at using a scaled down model of a room to find a toy in a larger scaled room (unlike the 3 year olds); they do better with using a 2-D picture rather than the 3-D model o This is bc 2 ½ year olds lack dual representation so scale models are to use as symbols: the ability to think about an object in 2 different ways at a time (since you know the picture is just picture, it is not the same object as the model/room object) Deficits during the pre-operational stage  Children display animism: attributing lifelike qualities to inanimate objects  Children are egocentric: difficulty viewing the world from another persons perspective – self-centered thinking  Have trouble w. appearance/reality distinction: don’t have the ability to keep the true properties of characteristics of an object in mind when deception of the object is created (even if the deception is in front of them) i.e. showing them a cat, and then putting a dog mask on the cat they will say the animal is now a dog o Their problem is they cant dual encode: think of an object in more than 1 way  Have centered thinking: can only focus on one aspect of stimulation at once – not able to consider all info about the stimulus o Children are incapable of conservation: they don’t realize certain properties of an object remain unchanged (like volume of liquid) when the appearance is altered (putting it in different glasses) o This happens bc they lack decenteration (considering 2 properties that could change) and reversibility (ability to mentally undo an action)  Children younger than four, can be trained to conserve by different techniques; like identity training: teaching children that an object which was transformed in a conservation task is still the same object, just in a different appearance  Theory of mind (TOM): refers to children’s developing concepts of mental activity (adults TOM is based on belief-desire reasoning [behavior is based on our belief (what we know) and what we desire]) - children’s mental abilities start with the desire portion; thinking that everyone wants the same thing that they do  To assess a children TOM: false-belief task: child must infer that another person does not possess k.l that he/she possess (so the other persons belief is “false”) – 3 years olds fa
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