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Part II. Chapter Six. The First Two Years: Cognitive Development. Sensorimotor Intelligence Information Processing Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?. The First Two Years: Cognitive Development. Infant cognition cognition = “thinking”

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part ii

Part II

Chapter Six

The First Two Years: Cognitive Development

Sensorimotor Intelligence

Information Processing

Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?

Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.

the first two years cognitive development
The First Two Years: Cognitive Development
  • Infant cognition
    • cognition = “thinking”
      • “thinking” in a very broad sense includes…
        • language
        • learning
        • memory
        • intelligence
the first two years cognitive development3
The First Two Years: Cognitive Development
  • Infants organize by the end of the first year…
    • sensations and perceptions
    • sequence and direction
    • the familiar and the strange
    • objects and people
    • events and experiences
    • permanence and transiency
    • cause and effect
sensorimotor intelligence
Sensorimotor Intelligence
  • Piaget’s first stage
    • infants learn through senses and motor actions
piaget and research methods
Piaget and Research Methods
  • Sensorimotor intelligence actually occurs earlier for most infants than Piaget predicted.
  • Habituation, the process of getting used to a stimulus after repeated exposure.
  • If a new object appears and the infant reacts, it is assumed they recognize the object as something different.
information processing theory
Information Processing Theory
  • “a perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output”
information processing theory7
Information Processing Theory
  • Affordance
    • “…an opportunity for perception and interaction that is offered by a person, place, or object in the environment”
  • Perceptionis the mental processing of information that arrives at the brain from the sensory organs
information processing theory8
Information Processing Theory
  • Affordance
    • two people can have discrepant perceptions of the same situation, not only interpreting it differently but actually observing it differently
    • depending on:
      • past experiences
      • current developmental level
      • sensory awareness of opportunities
      • immediate needs and motivation
information processing theory9
Information Processing Theory
  • Information processing improves over the first year as infants become quicker to remember
  • Experiences affect which affordances are perceived…
information processing theory10
Information Processing Theory
  • Sudden Drops
    • …the visual cliff, an apparatus to measure depth perception
    • infants become interested in “crossing” the cliff about 8 months (having had experience falling)
    • the cliff “affords” danger for older infants
information processing theory11
Information Processing Theory
  • Movement and People
    • dynamic perception
      • primed to focus on movement and change
    • a people preference
      • a universal principle of infant perception, an innate attraction to other humans, which is evident in visual, auditory, tactile, and other preferences
information processing theory12
Information Processing Theory
  • Memory
    • Even very young infants can remember under the following circumstances:
      • experimental conditions are similar to “real life”
      • motivation is high
      • special measures are taken to aid memory retrieval
information processing theory13
Information Processing Theory
  • A Little Older, a Little More Memory
    • after about 6 months infants can retain information for longer periods of time… with less training or reminding
    • by the middle of the 2nd year toddlers can remember and reenact more complex sequences
information processing theory14
Information Processing Theory
  • Memory is not one “thing”
    • brain-imaging techniques reveal many distinct brain regions devoted to particular aspects of memory
      • implicit memory is memory for routines and memories that remain hidden until particular stimulus bring them to mind
      • explicit memory is memory that can be recalled on demand
language what develops in the first two years
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • “The acquisition of language,… its idiomatic phases, grammar rules, and exceptions, is the most impressive intellectual achievement of the young child.”
language what develops in the first two years16
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • The Universal Sequence
    • Around the world children follow the same sequence of early language development
language what develops in the first two years17
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Listening and Responding
      • infants begin learning language before birth…
      • infants prefer speech over other sounds
    • child-directed speech
      • the high-pitched, simplified, and repetitive way adults speak to infants
language what develops in the first two years18
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Babbling
    • repeating certain syllables (e.g., da-da-da).
      • all babies babble, even deaf babies (although later and less frequently).
      • babbling is a way to communicate.
language what develops in the first two years19
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • First Words
    • usually around 1 year the average baby speaks, or signs a few words
    • by 13 months spoken language increases very gradually
    • 6 to 15 month-olds learn meaning rapidly and comprehend about 10 times as many words as they speak
language what develops in the first two years20
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • The Naming Explosion
    • a sudden increase in an infant’s vocabulary, especially in the number of nouns begins at about 18 months
    • vocabulary reaches about 50 expressed words at a rate of 50 to 100 per month, 21 month-olds saying twice as many as 18 month-olds
language what develops in the first two years21
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Cultural Differences
    • the ratio of nouns to verbs and adjectives show cultural influences.
    • one explanation is the language itself (i.e. English, Chinese differ)
    • another explanation is social context (toys and objects)
    • every language has some concepts encoded in adult speech
language what develops in the first two years22
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Sentences
    • “The first words soon take on nuances of tone, loudness, and cadence that are precursors of the first grammar, because a single word can convey many messages by the way it is spoken.”
language what develops in the first two years23
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Sentences

“Dada!” “Dada?” and “Dada.”

  • each is a holophrase, a single word that expresses a complete, meaningful thought.
  • intonations varying in tone and pitch is extensive in babbling and again in holophrases at about 18 months
language what develops in the first two years24
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theories of Language Learning
    • 2 year olds worldwide use language well
    • bilingual children keep two languages separate and speak whatever language a listener understands
language what develops in the first two years25
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theories of Language Learning
    • There are 3 theories of how infants learn language:
      • they are taught (view of B. F. Skinner)
      • they teach themselves (view of Noam Chomsky)
      • social impulses foster learning
language what develops in the first two years26
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theory One: Infants Need to Be Taught
    • 50 years ago the dominant learning theory in North America was behaviorism
    • B. F. Skinner (1957) noticed that spontaneous babbling is usually reinforced… a grinning mother appears, repeating, praising, giving attention to the infant
    • Parents are expert teachers, other caregivers help
    • Frequent repetitions instructive when linked to daily life
language what develops in the first two years27
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theory Two: Infants Teach Themselves
    • a contrary theory is that language learning is innate--adults need not teach it
    • Norm Chomsky (1968,1980) felt that language is too complex to be mastered merely through step-by-step conditioning
language what develops in the first two years28
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theory Two: Infants Teach Themselves
    • universal grammar--all young children master basic language at about the same age
    • Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
      • a hypothesized mental structure that enables humans to learn language, including the basic aspects of grammar, vocabulary and intonation
language what develops in the first two years29
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • Theory Three: Social Impulses Foster Infant Language
    • called social-pragmatic perceives the crucial starting point to be neither vocabulary reinforcement (behaviorism) nor innate connection (epigenetic), but rather the social reason for language; communication
    • Infants communicate in every way they can because humans are social beings and depend on one another for survival and joy
language what develops in the first two years31
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
  • A Hybrid Theory
    • the integration of all three perspectives…
    • their model an emergentist coalition… combing valid aspects of several theories about the emergence of language during infancy
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