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Piaget was right: Objects exist in the here-and-now of sensory-motor experience . Linda B. Smith Indiana University www.iub.edu/~cogdev.

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slide1

Piaget was right:

Objects exist in the here-and-now of sensory-motor experience

Linda B. Smith

Indiana University

www.iub.edu/~cogdev

slide2

Cognitive development as a progressive differentiation of intelligence from sensory-motor processes, as a moving away from the here and now of perceiving and acting.

Jean Piaget

slide3

The A not-B error - an example of sensori-motor intelligence

To Piaget, the A not-B error was important because it showed how immature thought was tied to the sensory-motor surface

Jean Piaget

slide5

The A not B error

A trials

A not-B error

slide6

The A not B error

A 3 to 5 second delay

A trials

A not-B error

slide7

The A not B error

A trials

This is repeated 4 - 6 times

A not-B error

slide8

The A not B error

B trials

A not-B error

slide9

The A not B error

3 - 5 sec delay

B trials

A not-B error

slide10

The A not B error: an error of spatial perseveration

The A not B task

B trials

A not-B error

slide11

For Piaget, the error reflected an inability

to represent objects independently of their

sensory-motor interactions with those objects.

For the infant the mental object is inseparable

from the location of bodily actions.

Jean Piaget

Piaget was right, it is a sensory-motor

representation, a sensory-motor form of intelligence,

that underlies the error

A not-B error

slide12

For Piaget, the error reflected an inability

to represent objects independently of their

sensory-motor interactions with those objects.

For the infant the mental object is inseparable

from the location of bodily actions.

Jean Piaget

But Piaget was wrong about sensori-motor intelligence

being a characteristic of only immature thought

A not-B error

slide13

The error reveals a fundamental aspect about all of human cognition

about how human cognition is grounded --

through the sensory-motor system --

to the physical world

functional, effective, human cognition --

no matter how abstract,

no matter how advanced it becomes --

is tied to here-and-now of

perception and action

sensory-motor thought

slide14

The plan:

    • Overview of a dynamic systems account of the A not-B error
    • How right Piaget was: this is sensory-motorthought
    • How these same processes are generally fundamental to human cognition, how early word learners link names to things
    • Grounding and intelligence that transcends the here and now

sensory-motor thought

dynamic systems accounts attempt to explain real time behavior as it happens in a task
Dynamic systems accounts attempt to explain real time behavior as it happens in a task

An account in terms of performance,

motor plans,

reaching to locations in visual space

  • Smith, Thelen, Titzer & McLin (1999) Knowing in the context of reaching: The task dynamics of the A-not-B error. Psychological Review, 106, 235-260.
  • Thelen, Schoner, Scheier, & Smith (2001) The dynamics of embodiment: A field theory of infant perseverative reaching. Target article, Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 24, 1-86.
  • Spencer, Smith, & Thelen (2001) Tests of a dynamic systems account of the A-not-B error: The influence of prior experience on the spatial memory abilities of two-year-olds. Child Development, 72, 1327-1346.
  • Smith & Thelen (2003) Development as a dynamic system. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 343-348.
  • Smith, L. B. (2005) Cognition as a dynamic system: Principles from embodiment. Developmental Review
  • Smith, Spencer & Samuelson (in preparation) The role of space in binding names to things.
  • Smith, Clearfield, Diedrich & Thelen (in preparation). Thinking close to the sensory-surface: The A not-B error

Dynamic Field Model

dynamic systems accounts attempt to explain real time behavior as it happens in a task1
Dynamic systems accounts attempt to explain real time behavior as it happens in a task

An account in terms of performance,

motor plans,

reaching to locations in visual space

Dynamic Field Model

slide17

A task analysis of reaching to a location in space

A transient visual event instigates a goal to reach

Dynamic Field Model

slide19

Memories for recent reaches

Dynamic Field Model

slide21

The dynamic field model

activation

space

TIME

Transient inputs

Tonic inputs

Memories for past actions

and events

The body’s position

A movement planning field

Dynamic Field Model

slide22

The activity in the movement planning field

is driven by two sensory fields and by a motor memory

Task input

Specific input

The lids on the table

The hiding event

A

B

Generate reach plan

time

Memory for just previous reaches.

Dynamic Field Model

slide23

The time evolution of activation in the planning field on the first A trial.

The activation rises as the object is hidden and, owing to self-organizing properties

in the field, is sustained during the delay.

The time evolution of activation in

the planning field on the first B trial. There is heightened activation at A before the hiding event, owing to memory for prior reaches. As the object is hidden at B, activation rises at B, but as this transient event ends, owing to the memory properties

of the field, activation at A declines and that at B rises.

slide24

Children make the error because their memory for the desired object is realized in the processes that plan (and remember) spatially directed action -- because the object (in this task) is bound to the location of action.

Piaget is right

slide25

Objects represented in terms of

sensory-motor interactions, in terms of

bodily actions in space.

Jean Piaget

Piaget is right

slide26

The plan:

    • Overview of a dynamic systems account
    • How right Piaget was: this is sensory-motorthought
    • How these same processes are generally fundamental to human cognition, how early word learners link names to things
    • Grounding and intelligence that transcends the here and now
    • Extension of the dynamic systems model to the grounding of word learning

Piaget is right

slide27

A not-B experiments with infants

  • 8 to 10 month olds
  • 6 A trials, 2 B trials
  • 3 sec delay

at the sensory surface

slide28

Claim 1: The processes that remember objects and create the error are

processes tied to acting in space

general processes of

visually directed action

at the sensory surface

slide29

No hidden object

The A not B error with no hidden object!

embedded in the processes that keep track of even in-view objects, embedded in the processes that take a hand to that object’s location in space

at the sensory surface

slide30

Claim 2: The visual events in the task drive the activations in the motor planning field and in so doing createthe error

Task input

The lids on the table

Specific input

The hiding event

A

B

Generate reach plan

time

Memory is carried over to the next trial.

at the sensory surface

slide31

The specific input (the hiding event, the transient cue that signals the target):

Increasing the attention-grabbing properties during the hiding of A

increases the error; increasing the potency of the B hiding event

decreases the error

We can make the error come and go at will by manipulating only

these aspects

The error is a blend of (a competition between) the strength of the more immediate memory of the B event and the memory for just previous events (and actions) at A

at the sensory surface

slide32

The task input (tonic persistent cues, the lids)

Increasing the attention-grabbing properties of the persistently present

visual input increases and decreases the likelihood of the error

We can make the error increase by increasing the salience of the A lid,

And make it decrease by increasing the salience of the B lid

The error is a blend --an integration -- of the memory for the specific input (the hiding event), the persistent visual cues (the lids on the table), and previous actions

at the sensory surface

slide33

Claim 3: The decision field is continuously coupled to the world

through the body

Task input

The lids on the table

Specific input

The hiding event

A

B

Generate reach plan

time

Memory is carried over to the next trial.

at the sensory surface

slide34

From the baby’s view

at the sensory surface

slide35

Pulling attention to the left --midreach -- pulls the reach to

to the left; pulling attention to the right -- midreach-- pulls

the reach to the right.

at the sensory surface

slide36

Where the infant searches for the object is tied to

where the infant looks, to the spatialorientation of the body,

and that orientation is tightly tied to the events in the world

at the sensory surface

slide37

Claim 4: The processes that remember objects, actions, locations in space --and that tie them to one another -- are very much in the language of the body

at the sensory surface

slide38

NO ERROR!

THE USUAL

ERROR

A sensory-motor intelligence

A trials (6 trials): SIT

B trials (2 trials): STAND

SIT TO STAND

STAND TO SIT

SIT-SIT VISUAL DISTRACTION BETWEEN A AND B

STAND-STAND (visual distraction)

at the sensory surface

slide39

The processes that keep track of objects in space are tightly tied to the body’s position in space

at the sensory surface

slide40

A trials

B trials

error

No weight

No weight

*

Control

error

100% arm weight

100% arm weight

NO ERROR

No weight

100% arm weight

NO ERROR

Exp.

100% arm weight

No weight

*the experimenter pretended to put weights on/off between A and the B trials

Perturbing babies’ bodies

between A and B trials: Wrist weights (to both arms)

at the sensory surface

slide41

The memories that make the error --that tie objects to locations -- take place in the processes that plan action such that a change in posture or a change in the feel of the arm resets those plans and those memories.

at the sensory surface

slide42

This is sensory-motor intelligence -- .

Piaget was right

the object is represented in the infant’s own perceptions and actions

close to the sensory surface, through bodily interactions in space

Jean Piaget

This is not just about immaturity,

it is a fundamental truth about all of human cognition

at the sensory surface

slide43

The plan:

    • Overview of a dynamic systems account
    • How right Piaget was: this is sensory-motorthought
    • How these same processes are generally fundamental to human cognition, how early word learners link names to things
    • Grounding and intelligence that transcends the here and now
slide44

Word learning

Children say their first word by 12 months

By 18 months 100 words

By 24 months 300 words

By 36 months 1500 words

By 48 months 4000 words

The processes that bind actions, objects, and locations (and make the A not-B error) also bind names to things

Binding names to things

slide45

The phenomenon (Baldwin, 1993):

Very young word learners (20 month olds)

map names to objects even when those names

and objects are experienced

separated in time.

Binding names to things

slide47

Where is the modi?

MODI!

Time

Binding names to things

slide48

Space

Where is the modi?

Linked by space

MODI!

Time

Binding names to things

slide49

A not-B

A trial

B trial

time

Children reach and look to locations to interact with objects and objects become bound to those actions and locations, creating an error

Binding names to things

slide50

There is a modi

in here

Look at this

Binding names to things

time

Children reach and look to locations to interact with objects. If -- as in the A not-B task --objects become bound to those locations of action, can children be using those locations to solve Baldwin’s task, to map a name to a thing?

Binding names to things

slide51

Claim 1. It’s about space.

If children link the name to the object through a spatial location, weakening the link between the object and its location `should weaken children’s ability to map the name to the intended referent.

Binding names to things

slide52

Step 1:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 3:

MODI

MODI

Step 4:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 6:

Where is the modi?

Where is the modi?

No switch

Switch

slide53

Design:

  • 18 to 20 months of age (n = 24)
  • half in Switch condition
  • half in No Switch condition
  • Side of target and target object counterbalanced

Results:

No switch (consistent spatial cue) 73%

Switch (less consistent spatial cue) 46%

Binding names to things

slide54

In the task, children are learning about

the relations between objects and their

locations in space and using this relation to map a not present object to the name.

Binding names to things

slide55

Claim 2. It is not specifically about hidden objects

If children use the body’s direction of attention to bind the name to thing, then the buckets -- and the ruse of hiding objects and naming things inside them-- should be irrelevant.

Binding names to things

slide56

Step 1:

Step 2:

Point to spot

on table and

say “Modi”

Step 3:

MODI

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Where is the modi?

slide57

Results:

71% of the time chose the spatially

linked object

  • Design:
  • children 19 to 20 months (n = 16)
  • 4 test trials
  • Side labeled/target object counterbalanced
  • across children

Binding names to things

slide58

This tells us the phenomenon is not

about hidden objects.

Rather, it may be about how objects, actions, and locations

are bound --and thus remembered -- together.

Binding names to things

slide60

Step 1:

Step 2:

Click to the

left

and say “Modi”

Step 3:

MODI

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Where is the modi?

slide61

If it is the body’s direction of attention that matters --and not a specific location in space-- pulling attention generally to the left during the naming event should activate memories for the object seen on the left and the name should be linked to that object.

Binding names to things

slide62

Results:

68% of the time chose the spatially

linked object

  • Design:
  • children 19 to 20 months (n = 16)
  • Half the subjects click to right/half click to left
  • 4 test trials

Binding names to things

slide63

It is not a location per se, but where one looks,

real time perception and action.

Binding names to things

slide65

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Where is the modi?

Step 5:

MODI

Step 6:

A not-B error in mapping names

slide66

MODI

On the left

Input at the moment

of naming

Look left

Infant’s actions in space

at that moment

Memories for objects

recently bound to that

direction of attention

Binding names to things

slide67

Results (chose the temporally linked object)

40%

16 children (18 to 20 months)

Side of target and target object counterbalanced

Binding names to things

slide68

The prior experience of seeing one object consistently on the left, disrupted linking

a name to a different but physically present object when

attention was directed to the left.

Where one looks, selects and activates

memories, enabling one to bind events in the just previous past to those in the present.

Binding names to things

slide69

Claim 6. Close to the sensory surface

A posture shift experiment

Binding names to things

slide70

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 4:

MODI

Step 5:

Where is the modi?

Posture shift

While sitting

Step 3: Stand up!

5 sec delay

slide71

Step 1:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 2:

Step 4:

Step 4:

MODI

MODI

Step 5:

Where is the modi?

Posture shift

No Posture shift

Step 3: Visual distraction

and clapping

Step 3: Stand up!

5 sec delay

5 sec delay

Step 5:

Where is the modi?

slide72

Stand-stand

Sit-Sit

Sit-Stand

Stand-Sit

Results:

posture shift: 50% (chance)

visual distraction: 70% (target choice)

The memory for the object is in

processes tightly tied to the body’s orientation in space

Binding names to things

slide73

The processes that make the A not-B error show a sensory-motor intelligence, a grounding of cognition in perception and action, an in-the-moment product of the body’s spatial interaction in a physical world.

The processes that make the error also do real cognitive work beyond infancy. They are not even specific to the A not-B error, to a deficit in intelligence, but are instead fundamental to how human cognition is grounded to reality -- in the moment -- through perceiving and acting.

In the world through our bodies

slide74

The plan:

    • Overview of a dynamic systems account
    • How right Piaget was: this is sensory-motorthought
    • How these same processes are generally fundamental to human cognition, how early word learners link names to things
    • Grounding and intelligence that transcends the here and now
    • Extension of the dynamic systems model to the grounding of word learning
slide75

Cognitive development as a progressive differentiation of intelligence from sensory-motor processes, as a moving away from the here and now of perceiving and acting.

Jean Piaget

Grounded and transcendent

slide76

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

MODI

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Where is the modi?

Using space to bind the name

to the thing, but then the link

transcends location in space

slide77

The word bound to the object

Cognition

In the here and now, through perceiving and acting, children naturally link

the object and the direction of attention while seeing it

the word and the direction of attention while hearing it

Real time and space

Grounded and transcendent

slide78

With John Spencer and Gregor Schoner: an extension of the dynamic field model to

object name learning

Space-word

Space-object

Sensory

fields

time

time

Word-Object

Association field

time

at the sensory surface

slide79

The A not B error is not about immaturity

about how human cognition is grounded in

sensory-motor representations

how those representations are part of the process

that enables us to transcend the here and now

that happens,

through a sensory-motor system

bound in time and space

to the physical world

Piaget was right

slide80

Melissa Clearfield

Fred Diedrich

Larissa Samuelson

Adam Sheya

Gregor Schoner

John Spencer

Esther Thelen

the [sensory-motor] interaction unites the organism to the environment and which…. is so close and direct that objects exist in that sensory-motor interaction

NIMH and NICHHD

The construction of reality

in the child

In the world through our bodies

slide81

The plan:

    • Overview of a dynamic systems account
    • How right Piaget was: this is sensory-motorthought
    • How these same processes are generally fundamental to human cognition, how early word learners link names to things
    • Grounding and intelligence that transcends the here and now
    • Extension of the dynamic systems model to the grounding of word learning
slide82

A dynamic field model:

The dynamics of the fields operate just as in the motor planning field; activation rises

and falls in real time, as

a consequence of sensory input, sensori-motor memories, and the cooperativity (lateral inhibition and excitation)

in the fields

Coupled -- activation in each

field drives activation in the

others

Object-space field

Words-space field

Word-Object field

Dynamic fields coupled in real time

slide83

This point corresponds to an

attended object at

a particular location

An object-space field

Activation

Different objects

Spatial location

The object-space

field is a sensory-motor field.

It represents

attention to an

object at a location

slide84

This point

corresponds to a

word heard while

attending to a

a particular location

An word-space field

Activation

Different words

Spatial location

Tthe word-space

field is a sensory-motor field.

It represents

a word and the location

of attention when the word

is heard

slide85

This point

corresponds to a word and

the object to which it refers.

There is no representation of space

in this field.

An object-word field

Activation

Activation

Different objects

Different words

This is an association

field. The object-word

field binds an object to

a word.

slide86

a flower

Object-

Space

driven

by the

input

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide87

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

The activation

in the Word-Object

is driven by

by the activation in the other

two fields

Word-

Object

slide88

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide89

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide90

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide91

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide92

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide93

a flower

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide94

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide95

Space

Where is the modi?

MODI!

Time

Binding names to things

slide96

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Input

driven

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide97

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide98

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide99

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide100

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide101

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide102

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide103

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide104

“Look, look at this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

ridges of activation

of activation corresponding

to the object and location

but no word

Word-

Object

slide105

The field maintains a memory of the binoculars at that location

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide106

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide107

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide108

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide109

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide110

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide111

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide112

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide113

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide114

“Look, look a this”

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

ridges of activation

of activation corresponding

to the object and location

but no word

Word-

Object

slide115

The field remembers the activations associated with the

two objects and their respective directions of attention

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide116

The experimenter directs attention to a location and says “Modi’”

Object-

Space

memory

Word-

Space

Input

driven

Word-

Object

slide117

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide118

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide119

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide120

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide121

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide122

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide123

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide124

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide125

A mapping in the word-object field, even though the word

and object were not experienced together

Modi!

Object-

Space

An inference

made through attention in space

but no longer linked to space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide126

Memory for objects, locations, and word --

and the associations between them.

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide127

Where is the modi?

Objects at new locations for test

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide128

Where is the modi?

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide129

Where is the modi?

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide130

Where is the modi?

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide131

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide132

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide133

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide134

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide135

Modi!

Attention should be directed toward and the child

should choose the intended referent

Object-

Space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object

slide136

Modi!

Attention should be directed toward and the child

should choose the intended referent

Object-

Space

Solving the reference problem

Binding cognitive contents to each other

with space

Word-

Space

Word-

Object