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Cognitive Development - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Cognitive Development. Food for thought . Do babies have “naïve concepts” – that is, do that have some sense of physics, math, etc. from birth? How can you tell what a baby knows? How can you tell what a baby remembers?. Spatial Cognition. How do we know/remember where things are?

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Food for thought

  • Do babies have “naïve concepts” – that is, do that have some sense of physics, math, etc. from birth?

  • How can you tell what a baby knows?

  • How can you tell what a baby remembers?

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Spatial Cognition

  • How do we know/remember where things are?

  • How do we find our way around in the world?

  • How is our brain involved in where we direct attention?

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  • Dorsal/ventral pathway

    • From visual cortex through parietal lobes into prefrontal cortex.

    • Dorsal pathway areas in visual cortex receive input from cells in the retina/thalamic pathway that are sensitive to movement and peripheral stimuli

    • “Where” pathway

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Searching tasks

  • AB error



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Searching tasks

  • AB error



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Searching tasks

  • AB error



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Searching tasks

  • AB error



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What does the AB task involve?

  • Memory for location – originally thought to be a memory task

  • Systematic changes in the length of delay required to get the AB error.

  • Implicates areas other than memory areas

    • Inhibition

  • Experience has an effect

    • Infants who walk are less likely to make the AB error

    • Healthy premature infants outperform term infants of the same conceptual age

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Spatial Attention

  • Right hemisphere – Global attention

  • Left Hemisphere – Local attention

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Brain basis of spatial attention

  • Children are less lateralized than adults

  • Children with lesions recover function

    • Recovery is very slow

    • Processing is not always typical

  • These differences are apparent in other tasks (e.g., block construction).

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Number processing

  • Infants attend differentially as if they understand number concepts

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Number processing

  • Infants attend differentially as if they understand number concepts

  • Infants have a non-linguistic “counting” mechanisms

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Systems for number representation

  • Object-file representations

    • Infants visually track objects and their properties, including number

    • Quantity is limited (up to 4 objects)

    • Object representations are affected by inferior parietal damage in adults

    • Activity in these areas is observed when people do object processing tasks

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  • Analog-magnitude representation

    • Number is represented not as an absolute integer based on its magnitude

    • Also likely to involve inferior parietal cortex

    • Unclear whether it’s the same part of inferior parietal cortex

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  • Integer lists

    • Later developing

    • One to one correspondence between number word and object

    • Probably involves inferior parietal cortex, as well and language areas

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(More) food for thought

  • Can infants form memories?

  • What do infant memories look like?

  • If infants can form memories, why don’t adults remember things that happened to them when they were infants?

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  • Explicit vs. implicit memory

    • Explicit memory

      • Able to talk about/describe what you remember

      • Characteristics of explicit memory

        • Fast

        • Flexible

        • Fallible

    • Implicit Memory

      • Not explicit

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Brain systems

  • Explicit Memory

    • Medial Temporal Lobe

      • Hippocampus

      • Surrounding cortex

    • Medial thalamus

    • Cortex

      • Prefrontal

      • Association networks

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Neural Circuit for Explicit Memory

  • Frontal Cortex and Temporal Pole

  • Matures late

  • Involved in retrieval from long-term memory and memory for temporal order

  • Medial diencephalon

  • Matures early

  • Involved in integration of information across modalities

  • Medial Temporal Lobe

  • Matures early

  • Involved in encoding and consolidation of new memories

  • Cortical Association Areas

  • Mature late

  • Involved in storage of representations

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  • Implicit Memory

    • Basal ganglia, Caudate, Putamen (skilled learning)

    • Hippocampus, cerebellum (conditioning)

    • Perceptual areas (priming)

  • Most areas and functions mature early in development

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Development of explicit memory

  • Early developing components of system

    • Medial temporal lobe

      • Habituation, novelty preference

    • Thalamus

      • Integration of information

  • Later developing components

    • Association cortex

    • Prefrontal cortex

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How do you study explicit memory in nonverbal infants?

  • Imitation tasks

  • Infants can remember some aspects of events as early as 6 months of age

  • Infants remember events for long periods of time only at the end of the first year of life

    • 9 month olds remember for 1 month

    • 10 month-olds may remember for up to 6 months

  • Changes in this ability are related to changes in brain development

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Memory development after infancy

  • Strategies

    • Rehearsal

    • Chunking

  • Source memory

    • Knowing where and when you learned information

  • Both strategy and source memory likely depend on maturation of frontal areas

  • Develop gradually over childhood

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Later memory development

  • Source memory

    • Children begin to perform at adult-like levels in tasks of source memory by about age 6

    • Likely involves frontal lobe areas that in adults are involved in source memory

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  • Knowing what you know

  • Using strategies to improve your performance

    • Some lesion studies in adults suggest that frontal lobe damage impairs metamemory

      • Ventral medial prefrontal

    • Other research suggests that this depends on the nature of the task

    • Very little has been done about the brain basis of metamemory

      • Some behavioral research suggests that children start using strategies somewhere around age 6.

      • Not clear whether this is related to other memory development (e.g. source memory) that occur around this same time.

      • Likely continues through adolescence

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Development of Implicit Memory

  • Procedural learning

    • Infants as young as 4 – 5 months can do some version of serial reaction time tasks

    • There is a gradual increase through at least childhood in speed of learning and accuracy

      • May involve motor as well as memory development

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  • Infants can be conditioned from very early in life

  • Example: Contingent response paradigms

  • Suggests that the hippocampal – brainstem – cerebellum circuit is mature early in development

  • Some components of this implicit system are shared with the explicit system

    • So there is likely overlap in systems used for different tasks

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  • Some evidence that infants can be primed

  • ERP study: Infants shown repeating or non-repeating stimuli

    • Infants brain activity is different for repeated than for unrepeated stimuli

    • Is this priming or recognition???

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  • Ability to understand that similar things belong in the same category

  • Sequential touching tasks

    • Develops in the second and third year of life

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Generalization and analogy

  • Ability to apply information from one setting into another

    • Example: Imitation tasks

      • Can infants use different props to complete the same event?

      • Can infants solve problems with new tools, if they’ve been shown how with old tools

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Generalization and analogy

  • Brain systems for categorization, analogy, and generalization are unknown, but likely involve frontal areas

    • Development is gradual

    • Analogy can be seen in preschoolers, full development occurs over childhood