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L ECTURE 1: B ASIC C ONCEPTS IN C OGNITIVE D EVELOPMENT Dr. Neil H. Schwartz Department of Psychology Psych 353.

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Presentation on theme: "L ECTURE 1: B ASIC C ONCEPTS IN C OGNITIVE D EVELOPMENT Dr. Neil H. Schwartz Department of Psychology Psych 353."— Presentation transcript:

1 L ECTURE 1: B ASIC C ONCEPTS IN C OGNITIVE D EVELOPMENT Dr. Neil H. Schwartz Department of Psychology Psych 353

2 P RELIMINARY A SSUMPTIONS Experience is essential in the development of thinking It takes nearly 20 years to develop an adult nervous system Cognition develops quantitatively and qualitatively during the life-span. That is, You dont just know more but think quite differently over time. The changes take place by virtue of: The The developmental function- the form cognition takes over time Individual differences- variations among people at any given developmental period.

3 C OGNITION : A C ONCEPTUAL D ESCRIPTION It is what laypersons call thinking. It is not directly observable, but implied from behavior. It is real and it exists. Cognition includes conscious and deliberate acts and non- deliberate processes. It is comprised of different types of activities.

4 T HOSE ACTIVITIES CONSIST OF : T HOSE ACTIVITIES CONSIST OF : acquiring, comprehending and modifying information. developing, executing and evaluating plans. (macro- mechanism) giving meaning to things we perceive. (micro- mechanism) forming concepts and classifying stimuli. (micro- mechanism)

5 C OGNITION : I TS D EVELOPMENT OVER T IME Cognition has structure and function. Cognition changes in both structure and function over time. Change is perpetual. Developmental progression is an interaction of biology and experience. Developmental progression moves from simple to complex, and incomplete to complete. Development is an active process.

6 S TRUCTURE Refers to the framework of knowledge that underlies behavior. Ex. knowledge comprised of how to put one leg in front of another to walk or knowledge of how to solve a calculus problem, Or how to program a VCR or set the table for dinner. Cognition organizes this knowledge. It is probably a neural network, and network of networks. F UNCTION Refers to what we do with the cognitive system. Perception, memory, reasoning, judgment, problem solving.

7 C OGNITION : I TS D EVELOPMENT OVER T IME Structure and function of cognition during development is bi-directional. Environmental stimulation and actions of a structure itself can change the structure. Changes in structure change the functions. Functions are limited by structures capability.

8 Function is necessary for development. Aspects of development are inter-related and integrated. Development is sequential but not continuous. It is discontinuous. Children will use a developmental accomplishment over and over once it is acquired.

9 Children will give cues to their environment that they are ready to move to the next developmental level. Children will seek out stimulation in order to develop.

10 D EVELOPMENTAL F UNCTION & I NDIVIDUAL D IFFERENCES Development is studied in stages and norms. Important differences do exist between and within individuals.

11 FIVE T RUTHS OF C OGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Cognitive development proceeds as a result of the dynamic and reciprocal transaction of internal and external factors; Cognitive development is constructed within social context Cognitive development involves both stability and plasticity over time; Cognitive development involves changes in the way information is represented; and Children develop increasing intentional control over their behavior and cognition

12 A DAPTIVE C ONSTRAINTS 1. Representational – hardwired into brain, such as the nature of objects. 2. Architectural – type and arrangement of neurons limit what information the brain can process, such as language. 3. Chronotopic – neural readiness for different areas is on a timeline.

13 E VOLUTION AND C OGNITIVE D EVELOPMENT Evolutionary theorys influence on cognitive development: Evolutionary psychology provides explanations for both the how and why questions about human behavior.

14 C OGNITIVE F LEXIBILITY Stability: degree to which ones intelligence maintains its relative rank order compared to ones peers Plasticity: degree of flexibility of a cognitive ability

15 A DEVELOPMENTAL CONTEXTUAL MODEL Time culture Society Community teachers classmates School Network Social network Parent peers Childs peers Nonnuclear family Nonnuclear family siblings Parent spouse Marriage network Work network Immediate job associates Indirect job associates child parent cognition personality Behavior Demands health Etc temperament Development level biology child cognition personality Behavior Demands Health EtcEtc Temperament Development level biology

16 D YNAMIC S YSTEMS A PPROACH Cognitive changes are emergent due to interaction among characteristics of structure and the environment. Change is nonlinear. Systems continually self-organized, transitioning from one stable state to another, known as phase transition.

17 D OMAIN - GENERAL VS. D OMAIN - SPECIFIC ABILITIES Both exist Domain-general: cognition is influenced by one set of factors Domain-specific: different cognitive domains are controlled by different brain functions or areas of the brain

18 C HANGES IN C OGNITIVE D EVELOPMENT Representation: Children and adults differ in the ways they represent information. Different techniques are particular to each stage of development. Intentional Control: Children develop strategies to solve problems. Strategies are intentional, goal-directed mental operations designed to solve a problem

19 S TAGES OF D EVELOPMENT : C HARACTERISTICS Stages are defined by qualitative differences: changes in type, often subjectively perceived as different. There is discontinuity from one stage to the next as different behaviors appear at once. Homogeneity of cognitive function is seen in stage related functions being done in the same way.

20 E VOLUTIONARY P SYCHOLOGY Cognitive development is contextual Cognition is shaped by domain-specific brain modules, and as such, function varies by each module.

21 Because of domain-specificity, representational, architectural, and chronotopic constraints on cognition, learning becomes more facilitated. Constraints allow the learner to filter and focus attention on what is important to learn.

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