Human Development: Cognitive Development How to people learn to think, reason, communicate & remember
Understanding Human Development • Development – Continuity and change in human capabilities over a lifespan. • Physical • Cognitive • Social • Emotional
Cognitive Development • Theories of Cognitive Development: • Stagelike vs. continuous development • Stage Theorists - These psychologists believe that we travel from stage to stage throughout our lifetimes. • Domain-general vs. domain-specific • Physical exploration vs. social interaction
The Piaget Revolution • Until Jean Piaget came along, children were generally thought to be idiot versions of adults • His studies (although they have undergone much scrutiny over the years) changed psychological theory • Kids learn differently than adults
The Piaget Revolution Was intrigued by consistency in children’s wrong answers Child’s brain is not mini-adult’s brain Child development occurs through series of stages Motivation: allows child to make sense of experiences
The Piaget Revolution Piaget believed that the driving force behind intellectual development is our biological development (maturation) amidst experiences with the environment. Our cognitive development is shaped by the errors we make . . . but also by our active attempts to make sense of the world Scale Errors 18-24monts
Schemas • Schema: specific mental representation (molds) a personal develops from our experiences • Theory or model of how world works • Adjusted by: • Assimilation • Accommodation
Right now in your head, picture a model. Schemas • Children view the world through schemas (as do adults for the most part). • Schemas are ways we interpret the world around us. • It is basically what you picture in your head when you think of anything. These 3 probably fit into your concept (schema) of a model. But does this one?
Assimilation and Accommodation • The process of assimilation involves incorporating new experiences into our current understanding (schema). The process of adjusting a schema and modifying it is called accommodation. • When you first meet somebody, you will assimilate them into a schema that you already have. • If you see two guys dressed like this, what schema would you assimilate them into? • Would you always be right?
Accommodation • Changing an existing schema to adopt to new information. If I tell someone from the mid-west to picture their schema of the Bronx they may talk about the ghetto areas. But if I showed them other areas of the Bronx, they would be forced to accommodate (change) their schema to incorporate their new information.
Assimilation • Assimilation: interpret our new experiences in terms of existing schemas Horse Horse
Accommodation • Accommodation: adapt current understanding of schemas to incorporate new info Horse Horse “Lumpy Horse”
HORSE! Accommodation Assimilation ~ HORSE! Striped Horse!
Mental Reps • Complex Classification
Piaget’s Stages: Sensorimotor 2 YRS Preoperational 7 YRS Concrete Operational 11 YRS Formal Operational
Stages of Cognitive Development:Sensorimotor Stage CLICK • Infant experiences world through movement & senses • 0-2 Years (Roughly) • Milestone: object permanence • Objects continue to exist even if they are not visible • Advance to next stage (more like 6 months) Click Mom to see a baby with no object permanence.
Cognitive Phenomena • Stranger Anxiety • Separation Anxiety (depends on attachment to the parent) • Sense of Self
Stages of Cognitive Development:Preoperational Stage Click • Children learn to use language & represent things with symbols • Around 2-7 • Have object permanence • Begin to use language to represent objects and ideas • Egocentric: cannot look at the world through anyone’s eyes but their own. • Use intuition, not logic • Milestones: • Lack understanding of conservation • Animistic thinking • Egocentric thinking • Irreversibility • Perceptually Bound • Magical thinking
Preoperational Stage • DeLoache (1987) showed that children as young as 3 years of age are able to use metal operations. When shown a model of a dog’s hiding place behind the couch, a 2½-year-old could not locate the stuffed dog in an actual room, but the 3-year-old did. • Mental Representations are fully formed • Hence language development and pretend play
Theory of Mind Preschoolers, although still egocentric, develop the ability to understand another’s mental state when they begin forming a theory of mind. The problem on the right probes such ability in children.
Conservation • Conservation: properties such as mass, volume, & number remain same despite changes in form of object • Exhibit centration • Lack reversibility
Animistic thinking Animistic thinking: inanimate objects have lifelike qualities, such as thoughts, feelings, wishes, & intentions
Egocentrism • Egocentric: difficulty taking another person’s point of view; lack theory of mind • False belief task
Stages of Cognitive Development:Concrete Operational • Think logically about concrete events; grasp concrete analogies & basic arithmetic operations • Way the world appears isn’t necessarily the way the world is • Can demonstrate concept of conservation. • Learn to think logically Click
Concrete Operational Stage In concrete operational stage, given concrete materials, 6- to 7-year-olds grasp conservation problems and mentally pour liquids back and forth into glasses of different shapes conserving their quantities. Children in this stage are also able to transform mathematical functions. So, if 4 + 8 = 12, then a transformation, 12 – 4 = 8, is also easily doable.
Stages of Cognitive Development:Formal Operational • Around age 12, our reasoning ability expands from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. We can now use symbols and imagined realities to systematically reason. Piaget called this formal operational thinking. • Suppes et al (82’) showed that rudiments of such thinking begin earlier (age 7) than what Piaget suggested, since 7-year-olds can solve the problem below • If John is in school, Mary is in school. John is in school. What can you say about Mary?
Formal operational • Thinking transforms from concrete (about actual experience) to abstract (involving imagined realities & symbols) • Solves non-physical problems • If-then reasoning • Conceptualization of love, freedom, etc.
Formal Operational Stage • What would the world look like with no light? • Picture god • What way do you best learn? • Abstract reasoning • Manipulate objects in our minds without seeing them • Hypothesis testing • Trial and Error • Metacognition • Not every adult gets to this stage
Criticisms of Piaget • Piaget believed children in the sensorimotor stage could not think, however, recent research shows that children in the sensorimotor stage can think and count. • Some say he underestimates the abilities of children. • Information-Processing Model says children to not learn in stages but rather a gradual continuous growth. • Studies show that our attention span grows gradually over time. • Develop skills earlier than he suggested • Acquisition of these skills is much less abrupt • Focused too much on interaction with physical environment; what about social environment?
Criticisms Children can also count. Wynn (1992, 2000) showed that children stared longer at the wrong number of objects than the right ones.
Reflecting on Piaget’s Theory Piaget’s stage theory has been influential globally, validating a number of ideas regarding growth and development in many cultures and societies. However, today’s researchers believe the following: Development is a continuous process. Children express their mental abilities and operations at an earlier age. Formal logic is a smaller part of cognition.
Lev Vygotsky • Focus on social/cultural influences • Noted parental influence on learning • Ideas remained hidden as they were controversial in Soviet Union • Study of Play - through play the child develops abstract meaning separate from the objects in the world, which is a critical feature in the development of higher mental functions. • Rejected previous theories (Construction, behaviorism, gestalt) Showed that through the assistance of a more capable person, a child is able to learn skills or aspects of a skill that go beyond the child’s actual developmental or maturational level. (ZPD) • Head of Vygotsky Circle • Scaffolding • Parents provide initial assistance in children’s learning and gradually remove structure as children become able to do it on their own
Zone of Proximal Development • Learning period where children benefit from assistance (make use of caregivers) • Different zones for different skills • Ex: learning to ski
Piaget vs. Vygotsky • Piaget’s Theory • Stagelike or Continuous? • Domain-General or Domain-Specific? • Physical or Social Interactions? • Vygotsky’s Theory • Stagelike or Continuous? • Domain-General or Domain-Specific? • Physical or Social Interactions?
Cognitive Development Adolescence and Adulthood
Adolescent Cognitive Development • The return of egocentrism • Focused different, belief that others are preoccupied with him or her as the adolescent is changing • Teen also believes they are unique and invincible • Recent research suggest maybe not in all circumstances (death) • Believe others observe them way more than is the case • From pimples to performances.
Cognition in Adulthood • Cognitive abilities believe to peak around same time as physical • Realistic, Pragmatic Thinking sets in • If you want to keep cognitive abilities, you got to keep them all in tune • Perceptual speed decreases along with numerical ability • Crystallized Intelligence (Vocab) and fluid intelligence (inductive reasoning) peak during middle adulthood. • Memory declines in late adulthood as does speed processing • Wisdom over practical aspects of life shows importance of experiences