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HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 1 PSYCHOLOGY 3050: Thinking in Symbols: The Development of Representation (Ch 5) Dr. Jamie Drover SN-3094, 864-8383 --

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Presentation on theme: "HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 1 PSYCHOLOGY 3050: Thinking in Symbols: The Development of Representation (Ch 5) Dr. Jamie Drover SN-3094, 864-8383 --"— Presentation transcript:

1 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 1 PSYCHOLOGY 3050: Thinking in Symbols: The Development of Representation (Ch 5) Dr. Jamie Drover SN-3094, Winter Semester, 2013

2 Learning to Use Symbols Symbols: external referents for objects and events. Representational Insight: Knowledge that an entity can stand for something other than itself.

3 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models DeLoache (1987) had 2- and 3-year-old children search for a toy hidden in a room. Earlier, they are shown a model room that illustrates where the toy is. They then have to find the toy in the room. Then have to find the model toy in the model room.

4 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models 3-year-olds possess representational insight. 2.5-year-olds do not

5 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models If a picture is used instead of a scale model, 2.5- year-olds show representational insight, whereas 2-year-olds do not (DeLoache 1987). These findings may reflect difficulty with dual- representation. A model is its own item, worthy of its own attention. When models are made less interesting, performance changes.

6 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models When models were viewed through a window, 2.5 year-olds’ performance was better than on the model task. When 3-year-olds were allowed to play with the model beforehand, performance decreased. DeLoache et al. (1997) designed a task that did not require dual representation.

7 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models “credible shrinking room studies” yr olds can succeed –“shrinking machine” can shrink room –shown “Terry the Troll” –machine “shrinks” (then enlarges) Terry

8 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models

9 Standard model task – hide Terry in large room –Room was “shrunk” –2.5 yr can find Terry in small room No need for representational link between model and the room, instead -- large and small room believed to be the same thing –no dual representation needed

10 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models Even an 18 month-old will show basic symbolic play. But this is not necessarily dual representation. DeLoache et al. (1998) presented pictures to 9 to 19 month-old children from the US and the Ivory Coast. The youngest children treated them as objects.

11 Young Children’s Interpretation of Pictures and Models By 19 months of age, they realized the picture represented something else.

12 The Appearance/Reality Distinction The knowledge that the appearance of an object does not necessarily correspond to its reality.

13 The Appearance/Reality Distinction De Vries (1969) studied qualitative identity –Children were familiarized with a trained cat. –The cat was then fitted with a dog mask. –3-year-olds believed the mask changed the identity of the cat. Flavell (1986) poured white milk into a red glass while young children were watching. Showed children a sponge that looked like a rock.

14 The Appearance/Reality Distinction They were asked what does it look like to your eyes right now? Asked, what is it, really and truly? Made two kinds of errors. Phenomenism errors: said milk was really and truly red. Intellectual realism: Said the fake rock looked like a sponge.

15 The Appearance/Reality Distinction Young children’s poor performance on appearance/reality distinction tasks is surprisingly pervasive. Might stem from problems with dual encoding. They have trouble representing an object in more than one form at a time.

16 A Swiss philosopher/psychologist first trained as a biologist. Has had the greatest impact on developmental psychology. Emphasized the role of children in development. Children are not incomplete adults. –Think differently, qualitative differences. Jean Piaget

17 Assumptions of Piaget’s Theory We develop in discrete stages. Cognitive development is through a series of transformations. –But underlying functions are continuous. Mechanisms of cognitive development are domain-general (homogeneity of function). 17

18 Assumptions of Piaget’s Theory Children are not passive creatures, they are intrinsically active and possess an innate curiosity and seek stimulation. –The motivation for development is within the child. –They are primarily responsible for their own development.

19 Cognition is a constructive process. We interpret the world through our own personal perspective, ie, through what we already know. –Constructivism Children at different levels construct different realities. Assumptions of Piaget’s Theory

20 The Constructive Nature of Cognition They come to know objects by acting on them – action schemes. Scheme: the basic unit of knowledge. These action schemes become internalized – operations or operational schemes. 20

21 Functional Invariants Processes that characterize all biological systems (including intelligence) and operate throughout the lifespan. Organization: Through organization, every intellectual operation is related to all other acts of intelligence. –Structures/schemes are not independent, but are coordinated. –Domain general 21

22 Functional Invariants Adaptation: the organism’s ability to adjust its structures to environmental demands. Assimilation: the incorporation of new information in already existing schemes. Accommodation: a current scheme is changed to incorporate new information. 22

23 Assimilation and Accommodation Knowledge is constructed by these processes. Every act of intelligence involves both. –One may predominate over the other. –Play, imitation 23

24 Equilibration The organism’s attempt to keep its cognitive structures in balance. When information does not match current schemes, disequilibrium results. Achieved through alteration of cognitive structures (e.g., accommodation). The child may also assimilate. 24

25 Stages of Development The order of the stages are invariant and culturally universal. Development is epigenetic –Based on bidirectional interactions between structure and function. –Later development is based on earlier development. –New structure is a transformation of an earlier one. 25

26 The Sensorimotor Stage Birth to 2 years. Intelligence is limited to one’s own actions on the environment. Do not form mental representations. –Understand only what is physically present. Knowledge progresses from sensorimotor to representational thinking. 26

27 The Sensorimotor Stage There is a change in personal perspective. –Learn to differentiate themselves from the external world. There are six substages 1) the use of reflexes: Birth to 1 month Use reflexes to interpret the world They apply reflexes to objects and assimilate them to their schemes. 27

28 The Sensorimotor Stage Highly restricted in what they can know. They do not behave intentionally, but can adapt. 2) Primary circular reactions: 1 to 4 months Reflexes are extended, new patterns of behavior are acquired. Can modify reflex schemes. 28

29 The Sensorimotor Stage Primary Circular Reactions: the first class of acquired repetitive behaviors. Based on hereditary reflexes Show primitive signs of intentionality. 29

30 The Sensorimotor Stage 3) Secondary Circular Reactions: 4 to 8 months. Not based on reflexes, but represent the first acquired new behaviors. These behaviors first appear by chance. 4) Coordination of secondary circular reactions: 8 to 12 months. Show goal-directed behavior and cause and effect. 30

31 The Sensorimotor Stage Coordinates secondary circular reactions. 5) Tertiary Circular Reactions: 12 to 18 months. Characterized by clear means/end differentiation. Can alter existing schemes directly related to obtaining a solution. Show increasing locomotive abilities. Show a peak in curiosity. 31

32 The Sensorimotor Stage Still cannot form mental representations. Solve problems through trial and error. 6) Invention of new means through mental combinations. Symbolic functioning is first seen. New means are invented through mental combinations. 32

33 The Sensorimotor Stage Show symbolic function through language, deferred imitation, gestures, and mental imagery. 33

34 The Development of Operations In the three stages following the sensorimotor stage, children can form mental representations. Preoperations: 2-7 Concrete Operations: 7-11 Formal Operations: Begins at 11 34

35 The Development of Operations Operations: Cognitive schemes that describe ways in which children act on their world. Mental; require the use of symbols Derive from action. They are internalized actions. Exist within an organized system. –All cognitive operations are integrated. 35

36 The Development of Operations Operations are logical and follow rules. Reversibility – knowledge that an operation can be reversed. Two types: – negation – an operation can be negated, or inverted (5+2 = 7; 7-2 = 5) – compensation -- change in one dimension offset by changes in another -- a tall thin man and a short fat man can weigh the same 36

37 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought Thinking in the preoperations stage is intuitive, lacking logic. More concerned with appearance than logic Conservation The realization that an entity stays the same despite changes in its form. This is the sign that one has achieved concrete operations. 37

38 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought E.g. conservation of liquid (volume). 5-year-olds cannot solve this problem. 8-year- olds can solve the problem and explain why. 38

39 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought The pre-operational child thinks intuitively. If the liquid is poured back into the original container, preoperational children claim the amounts are equal. This does not produce contradiction (disequilibrium) in the preoperational child. –But it does in older children. They will soon accommodate. 39

40 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought Conservation does not develop simultaneously for all properties of materials. Number before mass before weight before volume –Note that there is heterogeneity here. Conservation of Number 40

41 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought Reversibility Preoperational children can not apply negation or compensation to conservation problems. Centration v. Decentration Preoperational children’s perception is centered. They make judgments based on the most salient aspect 41

42 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought Concrete operational children are decentered. Can remove their attention from specific aspects of the conservation problem and make decision based on all dimensions. Centration is not limited to conservation tasks but is found in everyday life –Use height to estimate age 42

43 The Transition from Preoperational to Concrete Operational Thought Egocentricity Preoperational children assume that others see the world as they do. This permeates their complete cognitive world. Perhaps this egocentricity is adaptive. 43

44 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought In early adolescence, children’s thoughts are no longer applied to the concrete. –Not limited to tangible facts or object Hypothetico-Deductive Reasoning The benchmark of formal operations. They can generate hypotheses. Can think solely on the basis of symbols. 44

45 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought Can generate ideas not yet experienced. Thinking like a scientist Can think inductively. Go from specific observations to broad generalizations. Hypotheses are generated then systematically tested. 45

46 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought Pendulum problem Given four factors that can affect pendulum speed –String length, weight of object, height of release, force of push. Must formulate a hypothesis Vary a single factor while holding the others constant. 46

47 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought Preoperational children can carry out the first step. Concrete operational children can’t get the right answer. –Can’t isolate a variable. Thinking About Thinking Can examine the content of their own thought. 47

48 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought Can acquire new information from internal reflection. Reflective abstraction: a rearrangement, by means of thought, of some matter previously presented to the subject in a rough or immediate form. Egocentricity Adolescents demonstrate centration. 48

49 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought Believe that their abstract ideas are unique to them. Adolescents are extremely self-conscious. Playing to an imaginary audience. Leads to the personal fable –Belief in uniqueness and invulnerability. –May explain reckless behavior May be adaptive by ensuring experimentation and independence. 49

50 Transition from Concrete to Formal Operational Thought It’s debatable whether adolescents or even adults are the logical thinkers Piaget thought they were. Formal operational thought is used by adults in some contexts, but not in other. 50

51 The State of Piaget’s Theory Today Piaget’s theory continues to influence us today. But is it accurate? Contributions Founded cognitive development as we know it. –Became task focused Emphasized the active role of the child. –Constructivism 51

52 52 The State of Piaget’s Theory Today Equilibration as an explanation. Introduced critical concepts. –Scheme, object permanence, egocentrism Provided an accurate description of development. Influence went beyond cognitive development.

53 The State of Piaget’s Theory Today Piaget’s intent was to measure competence. May have underestimated the competence of children. –Object permanence, mental representation, egocentricity Children can be trained to think at a higher level. –Conservation –May be context specific 53

54 In some cases, Piaget may have overestimated how adults think. –See garlic powder example (p 182; Capon & Kuhn, 1977). The State of Piaget’s Theory Today 54

55 Fuzzy Trace Theory Piaget’s theory is not perfect. New forms of thinking don’t necessarily replace older ones. Older children and adults can solve problems illogically. Dual-Processing: There are multiple ways of knowing, or of solving problems.

56 Fuzzy Trace Theory Based on intuitionism: People think, reason, and remember by processing inexact “fuzzy” memory representations. Cognition is intuitive. Memory traces exist on a literal/verbatim – fuzzy/gistlike continuum. People of all ages prefer to use fuzzy traces when solving problems. –The extent of this preference changes with age. Reduction to essence rule

57 Fuzzy Trace Theory Fuzzy traces are more easily accessed than verbatim traces. Verbatim traces are more susceptible to interference. Making responses produces output interference that hinders performance. –Scheduling effects: caused by serial nature –Feedback effects

58 Developmental Differences There are changes in gist extraction. Young children are biased toward storing and retrieving verbatim traces. A verbatim to gist shift occurs during the elementary school years. Brainerd and Gordon (1994) have provided evidence for this (p. 191). –Preschool children showed better memories for verbatim questions than for other questions.

59 Developmental Differences Age differences have been found in sensitivity to output interference. Verbatim memory traces are more sensitive to interference than fuzzy traces.

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