Chapter Eight: Cognition

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
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Lori Astheimer Best

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Developmental Psychology Chapter Eight: Cognition Cognition are those thought processes and mental activities, including attention, memory, concept formation, and problem solving, that are evident from early infancy onward. Theories of cognitive development: Piaget’s theory,  Saw himself as a genetic epistemologist, a scholar who was interested in the origins of knowledge from a developmental perspective.  Promoted the idea that human thinking is characterized by adaptation and organization. Children actively construct their knowledge of the world, incorporating new information into existence, schemas, by assimilation and accommodation.  Children develop in stages; sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational.  Development is domain-general as in it is not tied to knowledge about any specific content. Piaget: Sensorimotor stage,  Birth to two years, thought is based primarily on action.  Actions become increasingly goal directed and aimed at problem solving. Able to distinguish self from environment and learns about the properties of objects and how they are related to one another.  Object permanence refers to the realization that objects exist even when they are within view.  The completion of this stage is signaled by deferred imitation, or the ability to imitate a model that is no longer present. (example: when a child mimics the temper tantrum displayed by another infant the day before). Piaget: Preoperational stage,  Two to seven years, thought becomes symbolic in form.  Semiotic function is the child’s ability to use a symbol, object or a word to stand for something.  In this stage, children are thought of as egocentric or the child is unable to separate his own perspective from those of others. They lack the logical thought structures necessary to reason accurately.  Conservation tasks require the child to make judgments about the equivalence of two displays.  Children display centration, the tendency for the child to focus on only one aspect of a problem. Piaget: Concrete operational stage,  Seven to eleven years, thought is logical when stimuli are physically present.  Can now see conservation tasks correctly. The child can now perform operations or mental actions such as reversibility. Piaget: Formal operational stage,  Eleven to fifteen years, thought is abstract and hypothetical.  The child can reason hypothetically or she can generate potential solutions to problems in a thoroughly systematic fashion.  Child is more aware of idealism. Vygotsky’s theory: All about culture. The concept of scaffolding is a way of thinking about the social relationship involved in learning from another person. Temporary structure that gives the support necessary to accomplish a task.  Zone of proximal development is the span or disparity between what children are able to do without the assistance of others and what they are often able to accomplish by having someone more expert assist them at key points. Information-processing theory, The mind has limited space and resources.  Mental processes are broken down into encoding, storage and retrieval phases.  Multistore models posit several mental structures through which information flows. Control processes are mental activities that move information from one s
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