CHDV 137 – Cognitive Development

Associationist Perspective(Infant innateness)
Infants are only born with the ability to associate experiences with one another. They acquire all capacities through learning.

Constructivist Perspective (Infant innateness)
Infants are born with the ability to associate experiences as well have motor and perceptual skills. Allows for exploration and concept construction.
Competant-infant Perspective (Infant innateness)
Infants are born with all the tools they need.

Supporting evidence: perception of distance, properties of objects and learning mechanisms.

Perception of Distance (Competant-infant perspective)
Babies are born with some ability to percieve distances between objects (at 1d) without the need to crawl and judge the amount of movement needed for contact.
Properties of Objects (Competant-infant perspective)
3m infants show some understanding that objects exist when hidden, that objects will fall w/o support, that solid objects cannot move through each other and that they move along a spatially continuous path.

Learning Mechanisms (Competant-infant perspective)
Help infant acquire a wide range of new knowledge – Imitation and Statistical learning.
The ability to replicate movements of behaviors shown such as sticking tongue out and moving head. Helps learn new behaviors and form bonds.
Statistical learning
Extracting sequential patterns from input (patterns in tones, sounds, colors etc). Help detect regularities in environment.

Flavell’s (4) Implications
Qualitative changesConcurrence assumptionAbruptness assumptionCoherent organization
Qualitative changes (Flavell Implication)
A child’s thinking becomes not only better but different. (A girl makes a genuinely funny joke and understands it after years of making nonsensical jokes.)
Concurrance Assumption (Flavell implication)
Children transition from one stage to another on many concepts simultaneously. If they do not understand a concept, they would not understand concepts of comparable complexity.
Abruptness Assumption (Flavell implication)
Children can move from 1 stage to the next abruptly rather than gradually. (Stage 1 for long time, brief transition, stage 2 for long time etc.)
Coherent Organization (Flavell implication)
Child’s understanding is organized into a sensible whole instead of many seperate pieces of knowledge.

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(Change from one coherent way of thinking to a different coherent way.

Assumption of IQ Tests
Not all children of a given age think and reason at the same level.
IQ Formula
IQ = Mental Age / Chronological Age x 100 (IQ = MA/CA * 100)
Habituations (IQ)
When interest is lost babies become habituated and look away. The faster they habituate the higher the IQ scores 4-10 years later. Children with the slowest rates at 7m have higher rates of disability at 6y. More intelligent babies are quicker to encode info.
Hempishperes of the brain operate opposite sides of the body.

Left brain processes logic and linguistic info, right brain processes emotional and spatial info. Infants at 6m show hand preferences in motor tasks.

The formation of synapses. Overproduction and pruning – a burst of synapses in early development which is pruned throughout childhood.

Timetables of overproduction and pruning (synaptogenesis)
Frontal lobe – density increases tenfold between birth and 12m, twice as many as adults by age 2, reaches adult levels by age 7. Visual cortex – peak density at 1y, adult level at 11y.
Synaptic connections and experience
Experience plays a vital role – helps determine which synapses are maintained or pruned. Children are able to pick up the sounds, phonetics and syntax of language more effieciently than adults because those synapses have not been pruned.
Transforming incoming information to fit existing way of thought. Ex.

After learning what a dog is, a child might believe that all 4-legged furry animals are dogs. Extreme assimilation is fantasy play (glossing over physical properties of items for make-believe).

Adapting thinking to new experiences. Ex.

Being told that a cat is not a dog as previously thought, the child would understand that other animals can have 4 legs and fur and not be a dog, or a child adjusting their grip to hold new objects. Mutually influences assimilation and vice versa. Extreme accommodation is imitation where they minimize interpretations.

Functional Assimilation
Tendency to use mental structure as soon as it becomes available. Ex.

doing somersaults over and over even when told to stop. The reward for engaging is internal; the sheer delight of mastering a task.

Extreme case of Accommodation
Imitation – children stop all personal interpretations and simply mimics behavior.
Extreme case of Assimilation
Fantasy play – children gloss over physical properties of an object for make-believe (though usually not out of the realm of comprehension – beds are not imagined as teacups etc.)
Methodological Assumptions
He used diff. methods to study different topics. Always decided to flexibly tailor tasks and questions to the child, rather than following traditional standards. Early studies relied on child’s answers to hypotheticals.

Later studies relied on children’s interactions w/physical objects, and their explanation of reasoning. Led to underestimating children’s knowledge but helped with remarkable insights and discoveries.

(3) Limits of Substage 2 (1-4m) (Sensorimotor)
(1) 1-4m DO NOT vary actions. Repeat behavior that produced event.(2) Lots of trial and error. Infants actions are poorly integrated.(3) Outcome of the action only involves their own bodies (sucking on finger)
(3) Achievements of goal development in substage 4 (8-12m) (Sensorimotor)
(1) Babies become able to coordinate 2 or more secondary circular reactions (pushing 1 object aside to reach for a hidden object).

(2) A-not–B error – hide object under cloth A and they find it, hide it again under cloth B but they still look under A.(3)Out of sight is NOT out of mind.

Changes in circular reactions (Sensorimotor)
(1) Activities: own body to external world(2) Goals: concrete to abstract(3) Correspondence (intention, behaviors) = more precise(4) Exploration: increasingly adventuresome
Earliest sign of symbolic representation
Deferred imitation – imitating behavior that was seen hours or days before (image of action was maintained internally)
Deferred Imitation
Imitating behavior that was seen hours or days before (image of action was maintained internally)
~ Conventional~ Used for communication~ Does not resemble object it represents ~ Arbitrarily agreed upon ~ Used later than symbols.
~ For personal use~ Resembles object it represents~ Use of symbols come first
Egocentric Communication
A child’s thinking about the external world is always in terms of their own persepectives. Often have conversations that are one sided and non-related to peers statements.

Less egocentric 4-7 y. Earliest sign is the ability to argue with peers

A limit in preschooler’s thinking – it centers on the individual, perceptually striking features of objects to the exclusion of less striking features.
When do children master the concepts of time, distance, and velocity?
Around age 9
Preoperational Limits
(1) Egocentrism(2) Centration(3) Focus on static not transformation
Concrete Operational Limits
(1) Counterfactual thinking(2) Thinking about thinking(3) Abstract scientific concepts (force, acceleration, inertia..


(3) Steps in Solving Conservation Tasks (Concrete Operational)
(1) Mental representation(2) Not focus on salient features(3) Understand own perspective can be misleading
Sensorimotor Period – Conservation of ______________.
ExistenceConservation of Existence = Object Permanence
Preoperational + Concrete Operation = Conservation of ___________________.
Formal Operational = Conservation of _____________.

(4) Assumptions of Piaget’s Theory
(1) Qualitative changes – Improve AND differ.(2) Concurrent – Reason similarily on many problems.(3) Abrubt – Abruptly change from 1 stage to another.(4) Coherent – 1 cohesive way of thought changes to a different cohesive way of thought.
What are the possible development patterns of prenatal and after birth
Before Birth: a capability can develop fully, partially, or not at all.

After Birth:an already developed ability can be maintained or decline; a partially developed ability can grow, stay the same, or decline; and an undeveloped ability can grow or stay undeveloped.

Why are IQ tests still widely used?
They predict academic performance and are stable over time; they identify children who would have difficulty with standard classroom procedures.
IQ tests developed for children younger than age____ were unrelated to later age.
Age 4 years
Brain changes in 3 ways during the course of development: size, structure and connection patterns
Size: increases from about 400 grams at birth to about 1450 grams in adulthood.Structure: cerebral cortex (immature) and sub-cortex.Connection patterns: neurons increasingly interconnected.
Cerebral cortex includes four lobes, what are they and what connects the halves of the brain?
Frontal, Parietal, Occipital, and Temporal lobes.

Connected by the Corpus Callosum.

What is lateralization?
One hemisphere is dominant (ex. handedness) in carrying out functions: ie.,right handed, left hemisphere dominates for sequential, analytic info processing, and right for holistic processing.

A single neuron often has about___synapses.
;1,000 synapses with other neurons.
What is neural plasticity?
The capacity to adapt to variations in experience as well as the ability to recover from injury or stroke.
What are the different types of childrens’ thinking?
Basic (breathing, sleeping, drinking, eating, walking, language)Higher (reasoning, creativity, memorization, problem solving)Other (moral, emotional, profanity)
What are the characteristics of childrens’ thinking?
Differing levelsConstantly changingProcesses used to transform their minds
List all six key issues of childrens’ thinking discussed in our text.

1. Innateness2. Stage Theory3. How Change Occurs4.

Individual Differences5.Changes in the Brain6. Social Factors

A newborns brain weighs about ____ of that of an adults brain.

What are the 3 orienting assumptions for Piaget’s theory?
1.Child as scientific problem solver2. Role of activities3. Methodological Assumptions
Critical Concepts(class/relations-preoperational and concrete operational)
Seriation: Organize by size; 2-4yo incorrect; 5-6yo correct but cannot insert an extra object after; over 6yo, can insert extra object into set; 9-10yo can to multiple extras
What is the current status of Piagetian Theory? 5 items
1. Underestimates sensory motor vs overestimates concrete operational2. Tangibility, right direction3. Discovery of unexpected intelligences4.

Recognizes child’s differing view from adults5. Right basic questions-what’s innate, what’s required, what’s the process

Three issues related to particular aspects of Piagetian theory.

Can the results be replicated? Yes, using Piaget’s methods.2. Can we accept these replications at face value? Perhaps not;verbal method may underestimate childs’ knowledge.3.

Do children possess conceptual understanding not revealed by Piaget’s experiments? Children seem to have basic understanding not evident in their performance on Piaget’s problems.

The process where children integrate all the pieces of knowledge of the world into a whole. Requires balancing assimilation and accommodation.
(3) Phases of Equilibration
(1) Children are satisfied with their way of thinking = Equilbration(2) Children become aware of shortcomings in their thinking and lose equilibration.(3) Children change their thinking to fix the shortcomings = equilibration
Piaget’s belief regarding equilibration
He was interested in children’s capacity to produce far-reaching longer term changes, such as going from one stage to another.

Believed children generalize assimilations, accommodations and equilibrations which causes a shift from emphasizing external appearances to emphazing deeper, enduring qualities.

Infant as a “Scientific Problem Solver”
Infant’s use scientific experimentation to better understand their surroundings. Ex. Infant varying height from which she drops food from her high chair to see the different results.
What is the central arguement for the issue of innateness?
In relationship to learning abilities, if children are poorly endowed how do they develop so rapid? if they are richly endowed, why does it take so long to develop?
When do children master the concepts of time, distance and velocity?
Simultaneously during the concrete operations period.

What are limits in the preoperational period? Which limit is appearent when preop. children answer questions about time, distance and velocity.
Limits-(1) Egocentrism (in language and spacial) (2) Centration (they focus on the standout feature)(3) They focus on static (the end result and ignore transformations)
What are mental operations?
Mental operations are ones that allow children to represent transformations as well as static states.
What are the 3 phase procedures of conservation tasks?
Phase 1- child is asked & agrees identical objects or sets of objects are equalphase 2- one object or set is transformed in appearance but not affect dimension of interest (pour liquid into taller glass).Phase 3- Child is asked if objects or sets are equal following the transformation.
What do children need to solve “conservation problems”?
They must mentally represent the transformation involved in the problem.They must consider cross-sectional area and density (not focus on sailent dimension.They need to realize that although the transformed object appears to have more it does not (understanding their own perspective can be misleading)
Limits of Concrete operational period
1- Counterfactual thinking2-Thinking about thinking3-Abstract scientific concepts (force, inertia, torque, acceleration)
Critical concepts (conservation)
Sensorimotor = ExistencePre-operational = QualityConcrete = Transformation
4 assumptions of Piaget Theory
(1) Children’s reasoning in earlier stages differ QUALITATIVELY from reasoning later(2) At a given point in development, children reason similarly on many problems.(CONCURRENT)(3) Prolonged time in a stage, children ABRUPTLY make transistion to next stage (4) UNIVERSAL (this one different from Flavell)
What explains the longevity of Piaget theory?
– Tangibility – makes sense to people who are dealing w/children- Relevant – to the child care field- Breadth – broad age span (birth to adulthood) ; wide range of dimensions of thinking- Interesting observations – he had a knack for making interesting observations
What are the 3 orienting assumptions for Piaget’s theory?
1- The child as scientific problem solver.2-The role of activities.3-Methodological assumption.
Catastrophe theory (goes against qualitative assumption)
Provides justification (allows us to explain) developement as both a continuous and discontinuous process
Horizontal decalage (against concurrent assumption)
;A child’s inability to transfer learning about one type of conservation to other types, because of which the child masters different types of conservation tasks at different ages