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UT / Psychology / PSY 333D / Is it innate or developed through experience?

Is it innate or developed through experience?

Is it innate or developed through experience?


School: University of Texas at Austin
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Professor: Ann repp
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 50
Name: Study Guide for PSY 333D Exam 2
Description: These notes cover material for the exam on Wednesday, 3/08
Uploaded: 03/05/2017
16 Pages 132 Views 2 Unlocks

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Is it innate or developed through experience?

PSY 333D Test 2

Study Guide

- Intelligence: Is it innate or developed through experience?

• G intelligence is the general processing factor of intelligence - coined by Spearman • According to Gardner, there are 8 different types of intelligence

• Wexler screening for preschool, etc.: the purpose of these tests are to determine if  a child can judge, reason and comprehend well.

-IQ scores: average is 100 (regardless of age); scores are split up in standard  distribution of categories such as disabled, average, or gifted. If you want to learn more check out Which part of cerebral cortex is responsible for visual context?

-IQ scores are fairly good predictors of years of education, criminal conviction,  and academic achievement

-IQ scores become more stable around age 7+

What can explain the infants behavior here?

-To measure IQ of an infant, you take (rate of habituation)/(processing speed) -  similar to a G test

-The score of infants from 6 months of age have strong correlation to the  score they’ll have in adulthood

-Knowledge is innate AND influenced by the environment

Ex. Hothousing - the concept relies on the importance of synaptic connections and their  rapid growth at a young age; believe that introducing kids to plenty  

-because of this, younger kids are easier to teach

Critical/Sensitive Period: a period of time that requires child to be exposed to a stimuli  otherwise they’ll lose it

The “Domen Program,” supports hothousing; babies will thrive from enriched  environments (environments with lots of stimuli)

How practice problems are structured makes a difference?

Findings: 1. Brain grows most in early life; up to 80% of adult size in 2 yrs Don't forget about the age old question of What does our brain undergo to process stimuli?

2. Critical periods prohibit learning in later life (synapse connections  increase until age of 4)

3. Enriched environments enhance intellectual development


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learning relies on synaptic pruning: intact frequently used ones but not used ones will  wither away, GOOD TO MAXIMIZE COGNITIVE PROCESSING AND OPTIMIZING  THESE CONNECTIONS; indicative of learning

***Deprivation may hinder learning but enrichment doesn’t enhance these  connections***

Training used at Domen’s takes away from reading, imaginative play, collaborative play,  etc. Explicitly ignores kids cues of boredom or undesirable response to the cards which  can potentially harm the relationship with their child

-force feeding learning teaches kids that it’s a chore

-It would benefit kids to learn things they’re interested in and things about social  interactions

Bridging Disciplines Programs - interdisciplinary certificates Don't forget about the age old question of How was the first hypothesis tested?

READING: Learning Brain Book - Blakemore and Frith We also discuss several other topics like How do geologists classify metamorphic rocks?

All neurons that are in an infant’s brain are comparable to those of an adult -  neurogenesis occurs in the first three months of pregnancy

certain neural connections undergo PRUNING; destroying pathways that aren’t being  efficiently used

Brain Research: The 3 arguments

1. In infancy, there are dramatic increases in the number of connections between  brain cells

synaptogenesis is followed by synaptic pruning

connections start to proliferate at 2 months of age

synaptic density levels out to adult levels around 10 years old

2. Critical Periods: experiences shape the development of the brain ex. early visual deprivation can be very detrimental to neuron connections

fine-tuned visual field of details becomes sophisticated from 6-9 months (ex. knowing  details in human faces but losing it for those of monkeys, because not common or  needed in our real world)

skills that are acquired after the sensitive period are subtly different and rely on different  brain pathways


Saturday, March 4, 2017

3. Enriched environments: cause more connections to form

may not necessarily be much better than any normal environment

though there is a threshold of environmental richness below a deprived environment  could cause harm to a baby’s brain  If you want to learn more check out What are examples of projected resources?

critical period- requiring certain kinds of environmental stimulation at specific times ***NOW CHANGED TO SENSITIVE PERIODS***

sensitive period- subtle changes in the brain’s ability to be shaped and changed by  experiences  

-language and communication is very important here for development

CONCLUSIONS: deprived environments are never good for your brain, although  enrichment may not be necessarily good for it.

learning should be available at all ages, rather than selective educational focus on early  ages  

Math Development  

Hothousing is misguided, young kids can learn a lot in their infancy - Even 5 month olds can solve simple subtraction and addition problems  

• Karen Winn showed an infant two events, one possible and one impossible results  with the real world - “Winn’s Test”

- Infants understanding can be proven by how long they look at an INCONSISTENT/ IMPOSSIBLE pattern (the video showed the addition condition)

- Results of study: Babies can slightly use and understand addition because when  doing 1 +1, an infant is surprised by 1 object or 3, meaning they expect 2 and can  understand addition or subtraction If you want to learn more check out Why is enzyme regulation important?

In response to this study…

- Skeptics #1: Infants might simply just be tracking objects in space and seeing that  things were different once screen moved rather than actually counting the number 

Counterarguments: by Winn, revised procedure to test addition and subtraction of  larger numbers that were impossible to track because the rectangles being counted  were in constant motion


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Results: Infants looked longer at the impossible and wrong answer

Skepticism #2 - Were infants responding to the changes in some continuous  dimensions of quantity (the amount of whiteness) 

Counterarguments: changed the amount of whiteness by making the 10 rectangles all  smaller than the 5 rectangles, which were bigger. Babies were still surprised by the  impossible event

What can explain the infants behavior here? They can’t do the same math adolescents  and adults do….

- Two innate systems: Object tracking v approximate number  

Object tracking: used for examples with 3 or fewer items and precise small numbers  because it’s too hard to track numerous object at one time, nothing to do with number  system, just tracking

Approximate number: produces estimates of the number observed, can’t track precise  numbers, NOT PRECISE, system is limited by a ratio constraint, there is a proportional  difference between numbers being compared is SUBSTANTIAL, different levels of add ins to see if the infant will dishabituate to new item and there you can see how close the  number difference is determine the baby’s development  

-this improves with age, so eventually this difference can seem smaller and  smaller in order to be detected along developmental growth

1-6 months: 1 : 2 ratio

9 months: 2:3 ratio (twice as many - 50% larger difference)

Adults: 7:8 ratio (most precise estimation)

There are circumstances where infants can’t add or subtract using either system! Think  of the cracker in the cup problem with a nine month old

This is because object tracking doesn’t work in the 2nd cup because it only goes  up to numbers of 3, and it doesn’t work with the numerical magnitude system because  1. the proportion difference isn’t large enough and 2. it could only show the 4 crackers in  approximate terms, not precise system, so may not be able to tell the cups apart

Continuous magnitudes/quantities - length, height; think of this with Winn’s test because  there could be 3 (discrete) mickeys rather than a continuous system

More mature understanding of mathematics - COUNTING


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-language plays a key role in this; kids first map the word “one”

“one” - activation of object tracking system  

“some” - activation of approximate number system

“one, two and three” - are all different states of OTS

Child will give you one toy and every other number is a bunch, then they’ll understand  one and two and 3+ is a bunch, so forth and so on

Kids will learn that number symbols provided by our language have distinct meanings …  introducing a third system because no innate system usage here

Symbolic Number System: helps to sharpen the representations given to  us by the approximate number system, which now allows precision

According to Domen’s opinion: children were only understanding numbers by  dots (estimating) and not seeing the number it forms, this is an example of the  approximate number system

Babies can count to ten but can’t understand how many a number really is

Piaget’s conservation task: Little boy with the animal crackers, thinks spread out  crackers means he has more because he doesn’t understand that both having “6” is  equal


Counting Principles- universal : describing all children’s counting (aspects of  understanding)

1. One to one : each item gets a single unique tag

2. Stable Order: Tags must be placed in the same order each time

3. Cardinality: The last number you say correlates to the specific number of items in  the set you are counting

4. Order Irrelevance: can count items in any order

5. Abstraction: anything at all can be counted, not just objects

To systematically study, Gelvin and Mac attempted to puppet counting… 5

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Puppet counted wrong or correct and children had to tell them if the puppet’s counting  was correct; detected about 75% of one to one, cardinality and stable order issues.  However, order irrelevance was harder, that will develop more around 5 years old

Counting helps path the way for arithmetic (counting from one; fingers are held up  before they are all counted, count-on; begin with the larger (4 then adding two and  saying “5, 6”, finally, recognizing when the number of fingers are up)

-In order to continue understanding larger addition problems, the child has to recall from  memory, a smaller problem without the aid of external support - NOT THE SAME AS  RECOGNITION

Robert Segler first understood how the successful use of finger-based strategies (as  listed above) can lead to their demise and their replacement by automatic retrieval as  dominant strategy. Successful understanding of these methods leads to stronger  ASSOCIATIONS between particular problems and their solutions (example of  associative learning and similar to synaptic pruning and strengthening) 

Automatic retrieval is more likely to be successful if repeatedly activated and the  correct solution takes precedent over all other false solutions that begin to fall away  (synaptic pruning!)

Abstract Principles:

1. Commutativity- order in which addends are considered is irrelevant to the  answer (develops in 2nd grade) can be highlighted by putting reversed additions next to  each other (2+3=? next to 3+2=?)

2. Decomposing - numbers can be broken down into components to make  problems easier (develops in 2nd grade)

3. Inversion Rule - adding and then subtracting same number yields original  quantity (12+32-32=?) larger addends take longer to solve; highlighted by also  juxtaposing the order of the numbers in the problems

Consequences of poor number sense or poor mathematical skills…

dysfunction of approximate number system correlates to the likelihood that a  child will be diagnosed with dyscalculia: disorder in which math skills are impaired (often  left undiagnosed)

BEDTIME MATH: full experience outperformed those in reading only condition in math  in their first year


Saturday, March 4, 2017

effect very strong for math-anxious parents

Everyday math curriculum is also helpful for young kids  

Community Connection

Women in engineering: making a program that could impact kids with a one-day  event; kindergarten through 8th grade  

-introduce a girl to engineering day (have them do hands on stuff)

-math behind these hands on activities are what make the objects they’re creating

STEM - must receive exposure for each person in order for them to understand what  STEM is and if they like it/want a STEM career or not

Reading - Mongeau

How to lay children’s mathematical reasoning…

1. Children need to understand the concepts undergirding mathematics and memorize basic math facts.

2. How practice problems are structured makes a difference.

ex. placing 3+2=? next to 2+3=?

3. Understanding the equal sign early is important.

-otherwise they’ll think it just means addition

4. Using hands-on materials to learn basic math is fine, but don’t overdo it. -need to eventually learn symbols and objects will distract them sometimes 5. Preschool math should be taught purposefully.

6. Numbers are very important in preschool — and that doesn’t just mean kids need to  know how to count.

-can count but with no understanding, there was no meaning included to counting  them (won’t recognize the last number they counted is how many objects there are) 7. Patterns should probably be part of the Common Core State Standards for  kindergarten math.

-suggests an app that helps relieves child’s math anxiety (bedtime math) -and also says that placing a pattern like ABBABB and having kids repeat it with  different materials: circle, square, square, circle, square, square, is very beneficial


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Reading - Feigenson

ANS is a system that both humans and animals have, however humans hsbr s  more precise system that develops linguistically

- Understanding numerical representations is present in multiple species,  depicting that there is a core evolutionary element to this

-Numbers that are closer together are hard to distinguish (think of graph - like  chemistry wave)

-ANS continues to develop and sharpen to 6 years of age with a 6:7 ratio and this  continues to sharpen until age 30

-dyscalculia affects 6-%10% of the total population with stems from the difficulty  of decoding numeric symbols or domain-general deficits in working memory

-ANS acuity also relates to adult’s precision and GRE or SAT exams, etc.

“Participants’ w scores correlated with their self-reported ability in school math ematics when controlling for self-reported ability in school

science, writing, and computer proficiency at every age examined,

from 11 to 85 years”

-approximate number representations might make some individuals better at  math

-ANS acuity can be affected/increased by differences in exposure to or practice  in math

-ANS is linked to formal mathematical ability

Pint-sized Physicists  

-how children come to understand physical laws of how objects behave and interact - Piaget took an empiricists view


Saturday, March 4, 2017

• children were intrinsically motivated to construct their own knowledge and  understanding through active exploration of the environment

• DID NOT BELIEVE IT WAS INNATE, believed it was learned through fundamental  learning mechanisms, children are active participants in their own learning

• coined the term for “little scientists”

2 processes to understand their learning results: (types of associative learning)

Assimilation - as kids explore, they consider if their current abilities(understandings)  align well with these contexts, if two different looking animals are both dogs or if one is a  cat and one is a dog

Accommodation: child experiences disconnect between their understanding of the  world and context, so they revise their conceptual knowledge to adapt to new  experiences that can’t be assimilated properly  


-begin with no understanding of this, born thinking objects come and go  

Object permanence - LEARNED AT ABOUT 9 MOS. cover up object to hide from  baby to see if the baby will understand it’s there, just covered, so they should reach for  it (“simple retrieval task”)

-Piaget thought that at this stage, babies understanding of object permanence  was still incomplete

Children will make the A not B error until their about 12 mos.

-hiding an object in the A position numerous times and allowing child to find it,  then moving it to B location, though child still searches in the A position

Nativists claim that this concept is so important to survival that it would have to be an  innate understanding and claimed that memory, motor control, inhibition and planning  could be problems that occurred on Piaget’s test

-Common for baby to reach for A but look at B, they do know where it is, but can’t  control their arm (babies can actually reach to B but have repeated A so it’s hard  to stop an inhibited response, reaching to A) -> can’t plan and execute this complex  motor sequence to reach for the B

-If you strip away the task demands but turn out the lights, infants can grab it 9

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Core Knowledge of Object Permanence - Rene Biagene??

infants are first habituated to 180 degree drawbridge, then an object is placed on the  table in the position placed on the screen, screen rotates only to the top of the object,  impossible event is when it goes all the way across (180)

-events at 4 months were surprised when bridge did a 180  

-the knew objects continued when out of sight and also had some understanding  of the dimensions

-Object tracking task also pertains a bit to understanding object permanence (OT  could only be done correctly if they understood object permanence)

B’s study also suggests that infants need to understand solidity as well!  

Infants as young as 3.5 mos. of age understand that objects continue to exist when  hidden

-they can also understand effects of gravity some (understood by some as young as 3  mos.)

found by B, babies understand that unsupported things should fall

contact is required to support another object, so maybe they would think that box  on the side may not fall (this is finally understood at 5 mos.) At about 6.5 months, infants  understand that at least 50% of supported object must be supported and it must be  vertical in order to stay upright and not fall, 12.5 month year olds can then understand  proportional weight and ability to be supported

-Can teach more sophisticated rules by showing these events to infant

Infants learn to understand distribution of weight through this as well, as long as they  see the violation of this rule as well. (this was done 2.5 months earlier than they  naturally learn)

***Current ways of thinking are modified and refined when discrepancies are detected  between current idea of reality and their experiences


Core component of understanding physical knowledge is that objects interact  CASUALLY with each other


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Empiricists like Piaget think that infants are highly regulated to understand the casual  interaction (understood through experience and physical interactions) - understood  through their own actions and the reactions of certain objects, around 2 years they  should be able to understand objects when unrelated to themselves, thought that this  could only be acquired through interacting directly with physical objects

Nativists, like Leslie believe that this is an evolutionarily privileged capacity; there is an  innate causal module in the brain so they can understand this from the beginning


1. Direct launch - movement of balls is contiguous (2nd ball moves right when the  first one hits it), TEMPORALLY AND SPATIALLY CONTIGUOUS (ONLY TRUE  CASUAL LAUNCH)

2. Collision-free launch - the 2nd ball starts moving right when the first one stops,  balls remain spatially separated

3. Delayed launch - The 2nd ball is launched, only by spatial contiguity but only  after a delay

Do infants see these all as the same? Continuous

-dishabituate to either of the non casual once habituated to the casual, or will  dishabituate to the casual if habituated to the non casual events

contiguous = next or together in sequence

Blicket detector - box plays music when blocks are placed on top of it, using blue and  red blocks on detector, the red one placed on the box alone doesn’t produce any music

Which block is a causal blicket? 2 year olds say the blue block

Children are more interested in toys that have ambiguous causal structure because they  want to figure it out

-Piaget was right that children want to guide their own learning

-7 month olds understand the casual displays while 6 month olds don't Community Connection:  

Thinkery- children’s museum in ATX

-Mission: to equip and inspire creative problem solvers, STEAM (Education, Arts) -goal to walk away with new or deeper interest


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Aspects of child development: learner directive and driven, exploratory play,  multiple outcomes and encourage collaboration, durable, creativity (learning goals)

Space 8 maker lab: encouraging kids to learn new skills and use those skills to make  something of their own imagination

-Doing a simplistic and practical job and relating it to how they could help make  an advancement in the world -> self-confidence


Turner - Why Babies love and learn from Magic Tricks

When the babies were given info about the “magical” objects, they were more likely to  retain it, ex. ball squeaks

-babies preferred to play with these toys over others and wanted to learn with  them (see the way they played) -> taking surprising events as opportunities to learn

“What's new is this idea: that core knowledge seems to motivate babies to explore  things that break those rules and, ultimately, to learn new things.”

Article supports nature DOING the nurturing

Legare - Explanation

Children’s exploration helps generate evidence and explanations is relevant to  disambiguating different casual variables and apparently most effective when directed  toward explaining inconsistent outcomes -> can also promote generalizations which  also enhance learning

Explanation: an attempt to understand a causal relation by identifying relevant  functional or mechanistic info

Focuses on a study with two questions….

1. Does explanation provide unique leverage in learning about a causal system?

2. To what extent does explanation result in general benefits for learning as  opposed to selective benefits or even potential costs?

-constructing explanations are better for understanding functions of causal effects 12

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-exploration is a mechanism for testing explanations/hypothesis

-all of this provides insight into the development of scientific reasoning


- Average ability to remember is 3.5 - 4 yrs of age

- “infant amnesia”

- Short term memory is revealed in habituation (think about it), also evident in  object permanence tasks

Long-term memory in infants:  

-ex. recognizing mothers voice or songs in-utero

-definitely there, but how good?

Roe V Cawler created - Conjugate Reinforcement Paradigm: infant lying on back with  ribbon that records their kicking; then attaching this ribbon to a mobile that jiggles when  they kick -> they kick 50% more in this state and realize their kicking makes the mobile  jiggle

-If they continue to kick on the ribbon connected to the recorder more than usual  a few days later, they can remember that their kicking makes it shake

**Retention increases with age; ex. in 6 months (the infant will kick for 2 weeks) -they grow out of this at 6 months bc start sitting

-New train exercise that studies the same thing

Some argue that this paradigm only reinforces IMPLICIT PROCEDURAL MEMORY -  eliciting a response from the recognition of the object (mobile)

Explicit Declarative Memory- memories that you can talk about or recall, telling our  memories and our experiences, images; how do we test this?

Children are compelled to copy, so if they imitate a process that is slightly bizarre,  “deferred imitation tasks” - delayed before trying to act  

-these can’t be solved by the implicit procedural memory because they never got  to practice with the item’ all they did was OBSERVE

- At 9 months, retain info for a day


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- At 18 months, retain info for 2 weeks

-At 2 years, a child can remember an explicit memory for UP TO 3 MONTHS

Autobiographical Memory: repeated recall and connections can enhance this,  elaborating upon it helps  

-Young children don’t really elaborate though, unlikely to list details periodically recalling a memory affects its longterm retention (could increase) PARENTS CAN INCREASE REPEATED RECALL

Highly elaborative parenting style when talking about the past- keep convo going, egg  kids on to give more details, add associative talk

Low elaborative - ask the same questions, not helping them connect that with richer  experience to help maintain this  


-Repeated elaborative stories are the key!!! Highly elaborative kids can create more  complex narratives, key to enduring biographical memories

Rehearsal- pneumonic strategy that involves explicitly keeping to be remembered info  active in short term memory in retention interval

-increases likelihood of longterm retention

To investigate children’s use of this strategy, experiment told kids they were needed for  space mission and to memorize a few pictures  

-audio and video recorded to see if the children repeated words to themselves -By 5, kids TRIED to repeat words to themselves

-Not until 10 years, 85% repeated the list to remember it this way (PEAK AGE AT  WHICH IT’S USED BY KIDS)

Long-term Memory Strategy: When kids are 16-18, only 3% use rehearsal theory and  the majority use elaboration  

Successful elaboration dependent on being aware of this strategy and previous  knowledge stored as memory for meaningful connections

At 9 years old, kids can remember detailed images and familiar figures because they  can weave them into meaningful stories


Saturday, March 4, 2017


Quality of Autobiographical memories…

-not very detailed, may only remember general concept; providing more details  sounds more convincing but she could be making it up because young children don’t  usually provide more elaborative stories (there’s been an influence on the child)

Eye-witness testimony: could give bias info to the child because they just want child to  reinforce their opinion/belief

-Simon Says Study: one month after playing the game, interviewed children to  hear their experiences; told to find out what each child remembers about that day

-experimenter tended to ask leading questions though

-Mouse trap study: wanted to see if they could make an infant think they had an  experience when they really didn’t, interviewed weekly for 10 weeks about their  personal experiences (One question always remained the same - Did you ever get your  finger caught in a mouse trap?)


-creativity increases a child’s suggestibility

-language skills and strength of self-concept decrease suggestibility

-strong positive relationship w parents decreases suggestibility (maybe this fosters more  extended conversation -> more robust memories)

Source attribution- the problem of not knowing where a memory came from  Reading: Hamilton

-childhood amnesia onsets around age 7-8

Types of Memories that persist:  

-memories that carry a lot of emotion with them, ex. going to the hospital for an  injury at a very early age

-Because of this evidence, more courts are allowing kid eyewitnesses; the interviewers  just have to be careful not to put words in their mouth


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-Making stories out of this also helps children remember; helps shape and structure the  context into a memory - PARENTS CAN HELP WITH THIS (think of lecture)

Reading - Brown: Can Children be Good Eyewitnesses?

Sociocultural theory of autobiographical memory  

-explained how early convo exchanges b/n parents and children shapes child’s  development of memory and ability to recount experiences

-false responding can be a result of suggestive and leading questioning -kids have more accurate responses when answering open-ended questions • kids ages 3-4 need more leading questions for accuracy

• 5+ answer better to broadly-asked questions

-kids answers may also be altered by non-verbal cues

*open-ended questions are the most useful approach for minimizing the likelihood and  impact of contamination by the interviewer

NICHD Investigative Interview Protocol -  

1. Presubstantive phase: practice recalling and answering questions with  honesty, asking kids to talk about daily experiences

2. Substantive phase: asking children what they have come to talk about that day 16

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