Chapter 6 - Cognitive Development in Infancy
Chapter 6 - Cognitive Development in Infancy HD 1004
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jess on Saturday October 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HD 1004 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University taught by Katarina Krizova (Doctoral Student) in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Human Development I in Human Development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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Chapter 6- Cognitive Development in Infancy REVIEW STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT Piaget’s Approach to Cognitive Development Jean Piaget (1896-1980) theory of “Action=Knowledge”. Argued that infants do not acquire knowledge from facts communicated by others, nor through sensation and perception. Suggested that knowledge is the product of direct motor behavior. Piaget’s Theory: Based on a stage approach to development. Assumed that all children pass through a series of four universal stages in a fixed order from birth through adolescence: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Movement from one stage to the next occurred when a child reached an appropriate level of physical maturation and was exposed to relevant experiences. Without experiences, children are assumed to be incapable of reaching their cognitive potential. Critical to consider the changes in the quality of children’s knowledge and understanding as they move from one stage to another. Believed that the basic building blocks of the way we understand the world are mental structures called schemes (organized patterns of functioning that adapt and change with mental development). As children develop, schemes move to a mental level, reflecting thought. Suggested that two principles underlies the growth in children’s schemes: assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the process by which people understand an experience in terms of their current stage of cognitive development and way of thinking. In contrast, when we change our existing ways of thinking, understanding, or behaving in response to encounters with new stimuli or events, accommodation takes place. Believed that the earliest schemes are primarily limited to the reflexes with which we are all born, such as sucking and rooting. The Sensorimotor Period: Six Sub-stages: Sensorimotor stage = the initial major stage of cognitive development. The ages at which children reach each stage are different. The exact timing of each stage reflects an interaction between the infant’s level of physical maturation and the nature of the social environment in which the child is being raised. Substage 1: Simple Reflexes- The center of a baby’s physical and cognitive life, determining the nature of his or her interactions with the world. Provides the newborn with information about objects- information that paves the way to the next substage of the sensorimotor period. Some of the reflexes begin to accommodate the infant’s experience with the nature of the world. Substage 2: First Habits and Primary Circular Reactions- Occurs from 1 to 4 months. Infants begin to coordinate what were separate actions into single, integrated activities. Repetition of a chance motor event helps the baby start building cognitive schemes through a process known as circular reaction. Primary circular reactions are schemes reflecting an infant’s repetition of interesting or enjoyable actions, just for the purpose of doing them. They are primary because the activities they involve focus on the infant’s own body. Substage 3: Secondary Circular Reactions- Occurs from 4 to 8 months. Infants begin to act upon the outside world, seeing to repeat enjoyable events in their environments if they happen to produce them through chance activities. Secondary circular reactions are schemes regarding repeated actions that bring about a desirable consequence. The difference is whether the infant’s activity is focused on the infant and his or her own body (primary) or involves actions relating to the world outside (secondary). Babies’ vocalization increases as infants realize they can make noises. Substage 4: Coordination of Secondary Circular Reactions- Occurs from 8 to 12 months. Infants begin to employ goal-directed behavior, in which several schemes are combined and coordinated to generate a single act to solve a problem. They begin to anticipate upcoming events. They can also owe their developmental achievement to object permanence, the realization that people and objects exist even when they cannot be seen. Object permanence extends to people too. Substage 5: Tertiary Circular Reactions- Occurs around 12 months to 18 months. Infants develop tertiary circulatory reactions, schemes regarding the deliberate variation of actions that bring desirable consequences. Infants appear to carry out miniature experiments to observe the consequences. The world is their laboratory. Infant’s discoveries can lead to newfound skills, some which may cause a certain amount of chaos. Substage 6: Beginnings of Thought- lasts from 18 months to 2 years. Major achievement is the capacity for mental representation, or symbolic thought. A mental representation, is an internal image of a past even or object. Argued that this stage infants can imagine where objects might be that they cannot see. They can plot in their heads unseen pathways of objects. Their understanding of causality also becomes more sophisticated. The attainment of mental representation also permits another development: the ability to pretend. Deferred Imitation, in which a person who is no longer present is imitated later, children are able to pretend that they are driving a car, feeding a doll, or cooking dinner long after they have witnessed such scenes played out in reality. Appraising Piaget: Support and Challenges- Substantial disagreement over the validity of the theory and many of its specific predictions. His descriptions of growth during infancy remain a monument to his powers of observation. The broad outlines sketched of the sequence that occur during infancy are generally accurate. Specific aspects of the theory have come under scrutiny and criticism. Some question the stage of conception that forms the basis of his theory. Some dispute his notion that cognitive development is grounded in motor activities. They charge that he overlooked the importance of the sensory and perceptual systems that are present from an early stage in infancy. Some cast doubt that infants are incapable of mastering the concept of object permanence until they are close to a year old. Information-Processing Approaches to Cognitive Development Information-processing approaches seek to identify the way that individuals take in, use, and store information. The quantitative changes in infants’ abilities to organize and manipulate information represent the hallmarks of cognitive development. Cognitive growth is characterized by increasing sophistication, speed, and capacity in processing information. Focuses on the types of “mental programs” that people use when they seek to solve problems. Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval: The Foundations of Information Processing Three basic aspects: encoding, storage and retrieval. Encoding is the process by which information is initially record in a form usable to memory. People encode selectively, picking and choosing the information to which they will pay attention. This does not guarantee that they will be able to use it in the future if it is not stored in memory properly. Can be thought of as a computer’s keyboard. Storage regress to the placement of material into memory. Storage is the computer’s hard drive. Retrieval is the process by which material in memory storage is located, brought into awareness, and used. Thought of as the software that accesses the information for display on the screen. Automatization is the degree to which an activity requires attention. Processes that require relatively little attention are automatic; processes that require large amounts of attention are controlled. Automatic mental processes help children in their encounter with the world by enabling them to easily and “automatically” process information in particular ways. Depending on the experimental condition, one of two outcomes occurred. In the “current addition” condition, the screen dropped, revealing the two statuettes. But in the “incorrect addition” condition, the screen dropped to reveal just one statuette. Memory during Infancy Infants have memory capabilities, the process by which information is initially recorded, stored, and retrieved. Infants can distinguish new stimuli form old stimuli, and this implies that some memory of the old must be present. Some lose memories but can remember them with reminders. Duration: The quantity of information stored and recalled does differ markedly as infants develop. Older infants can retrieve more rapidly and they can remember it longer. Infantile amnesia is the lack of memory for experiences occurring prior to 3 years of age. This suggests that memories, even from infancy, may ne enduring. One reason infants appear to remember less may be because language plays a key role in determining the way in which memories from early in life can be recalled. Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory: Explicit memory is memory that is conscious and which can be recalled intentionally. Implicit memory consists of memories of which we are not consciously aware but that affect performance and behavior. Includes motor skills, habits, and activities that can be remembered without conscious cognitive effort. These two types emerge at different rates and involve different parts of the brain. The forerunner of explicit memory involves the hippocampus, but true explicit memory doesn’t emerge until the second half of the first year. When explicit memory does emerge, it involves an increasing number of areas of the cortex of the brain. Individual Differences in Intelligence- Developmental Quotient: formulated by Arnold Gesell, the developmental quotient is an overall developmental score that relates to performance in four domains: motor skills (balance and sitting), language use, adaptive behavior (alertness and exploration), and personal-social behavior. Bayley Scales of Infant Development: Developed by Nancy Bayley, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development evaluate an infant’s development from 2 to 42 months. The scales focus on two areas: mental (senses, perception, memory, learning, problem solving, and language) and motor abilities (fine- and gross- motor skills). Visual-Recognition Memory Measurement: Measures of visual-recognition memory (the memory of and recognition of a stimulus that has been previously seen) also relate to intelligence. The more quickly an infant can retrieve a representation of a stimulus from memory, the more efficient, presumably, is that infant’s information processing. Mental Scale: 2 months- Turns head to locate origin of sound; visibly responds to disappearance of face 6 months- Picks up cup by handle; notices illustrations in a book 12 months- constructs tower of 2 cubes; can turn pages in a book 17-19 months- mimics crayon stroke; labels objects in photo 23-25 months- pairs up pictures; repeats a 2-word sentence 38-42 months- can identify 4 colors; past tense evident in speech; distinguishes gender Motor Scale: 2 months- can hold head steady and erect for 15 seconds; sits with assistance 6 months- sits up without aid for 30 seconds grasps foot with hands 12 months- walks when holding onto someone’s hand or furniture; holds pencil in fist 17-19 months- stands on right foot without help; remains upright climbing stairs with assistance 23-25 months- strings 3 beads; jumps length of 4 inches 38-42 months- can reproduce drawing of a circle; hops two times on one foot descends stairs, alternating feet Information-Processing Approaches to Individual Differences Contemporary approaches to infant intelligence suggest that the speed with which infant’s process information may correlate most strongly with late intelligence, as measured by IQ tests administered during adulthood. Measures of visual-recognition memory, the memory and recognition of a stimulus that has been previously seen, also relate to IQ. The more quickly an infant can retrieve a representation of a stimulus from memory, the more efficient, presumably, is that infant’s information processing. The multimodal approach to perception, may offer clues about later intelligence. The ability to identify a stimulus that previously has been experienced through only one sense by using another sense (cross-modal transference) is associated with intelligence. Other factors such as degree of environmental stimulation, also play a crucial role in helping to determine adult intelligence. Assessing Information-Processing Approaches- Rather than focus on broad explanations of the qualitative changes that occur in infants’ capabilities, as Piaget does, information processing looks at quantitative change. Piaget sees cognitive growth occurring in fairly sudden spurts; information processing sees more gradual, step-by-step growth. The Fundamentals of Language- Language, the systematic, meaningful arrangement of symbols, provides the basis for communication. It is closely tied to the way we think and understand the world. It enables us to reflect on people and objects and to convey our thoughts to others. Has several formal characteristics that must be mastered as linguistic competence is developed. Phonology: refers to the basic sounds of language, called phonemes that can be combined to produce words and sentences. Morphemes: The smallest language unit that has meaning. Some are complete words, while others add information necessary for interpreting a word, such as endings. Semantics: The rules that govern the meaning of words and sentences. As their knowledge of semantics develops, children are able to understand the subtle distinction between “Ellie was hit by a ball” and “A ball hit Ellie”. Comprehension is the understanding of speech, and linguistic production is the use of language to communicate. Comprehension precedes production. Throughout infancy, comprehension also outpaces production. Early Sounds and Communication- Prelinguistic communication is through sounds, facial expressions, gestures, imitation, and other nonlinguistic means. Its repetition, however, which mimics the give-and-take of conversation, teaches the infant something about turn taking and the back-and-forth of communication. Babbling, is making speech-like but meaningless sounds, starting at the age of 2 or 3 months and continues until the age of about 1 year. Infants repeat the same vowel sound over and over, changing the pitch from high to low. Babbling is a universal phenomenon, even with deaf children. It typically follows a progression from simple to more complex sounds. First words: Usually spoken somewhere around the age of 10 to 14 months. Typically child will say “mama”, “dada” or “baba” but this is the same sound that will be used if the child is asking for a cookie or a blanket. Disagreement over what is the first word. In a short period (16 and 24 months) there is an explosion of language, child’s vocabulary increases from 50 to 400 words. First words typically regard objects and things, both animate and inanimate. Most refer to people or objects who constantly appear and disappear. These are often holophrases, one- word utterance that stand for a whole phrase, whose meaning depends on the particular context in which they are used. Culture has an effect on the type of first words spoken. Unlike North American English- speaking infants, who are more apt to use nouns initially, Chinese Mandarin-speaking infants use more verbs than nouns. First Sentences: The linking together of individual words into sentences that convey a single thought. Although there is a good deal of variability in the time at which children first create two-word phrases, it is generally around 8 to 12 months after they say their first word. Telegraphic speech is when kids leave out words during sentences that aren’t critical to the message. Underextension is when words are used too broadly, overgeneralizing their meaning. Infants also show individual differences in the style of language they use. Some use a referential style, in which language is used primarily to label objects. Others tend to use an expressive style, in which language is used to mainly to express feelings and needs about oneself and others. The Origins of Language Development- Learning theory approach is the language acquisition follows the basic laws of reinforcement and conditioning. This reaction reinforces the child, who is more likely to repeat the word. Suggests that children learn to speak by being rewarded for making sounds that approximated speech. Through the process of shaping, language becomes more and more similar to adult speech. Children can apply linguistic rules to nonsense words. Nativist Approach: Argues that there is a genetically determined, innate mechanism that directs the development of language. Developed by Noam Chomsky. Says people are born with an innate capacity to use language, which emerges, more or less automatically, due to maturation. Suggests that all the world’s languages share a similar underlying structure, which he calls universal grammar. The human brain is wired with a neural system called the language-acquisition device, or LAD, that both permits the understanding of language structure and provides a set of strategies and techniques for learning the particular characteristics of the language to which a child is exposed. Language is uniquely human, made possible by a genetic predisposition to both comprehend and produce words and sentences. His approach comes from identification of a specific gene related to speech production. Interactionist Approaches: Suggests that language development is produced through a combination of genetically determined predispositions and environmental circumstances that help teach language. Accepts that innate factors shape the broad outlines of language development. Argue that the specific course of language development is determined by the language to which children are exposed and the reinforcement they receive for using language in particular ways. Social factors are considered to be key to development. Speaking to Children Infant-directed speech is a style of speech that characterizes much of the verbal communication directed towards infants. This type of speech patter used to be called motherese, because it was assumed that it applied only to mothers. It is characterized by short, simple sentences. Pitch becomes higher, the range of frequencies increases, and intonation is more varied. There is also repetition of words, and topics are restricted to items that are assumed to be comprehensible to infants, such as concrete objects in the baby’s environment. Sometimes involves amusing sounds that are not even words. Changes as children become older. Occurs all over the world.