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Infant Abilities and Perceptions What does an infant feel and perceive? William James : “booming, buzzing confusion.” ??

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Presentation on theme: "Infant Abilities and Perceptions What does an infant feel and perceive? William James : “booming, buzzing confusion.” ??"— Presentation transcript:

1 Infant Abilities and Perceptions What does an infant feel and perceive? William James : “booming, buzzing confusion.” ??

2 Infant Abilities immature visual system –can detect movement and large objects Other senses function well on day 1 –will orient to sounds –turn away from unpleasant odors –prefer sweet to sour tastes Born with a number of reflex behaviors

3 Methods for Studying Infants Infant reflexes provide insight into their mental life –gaze duration related to visual perception –head turning related to auditory attention –sucking, reaching, kicking can be used to measure interest

4 Infant Perception Not just a blur or a buzz In first week –will recognize their mother’s smell –will show preference for novel stimuli –gaze at face-like pattern rather than similar non face-like pattern

5 Infant Perception How does knowledge of physical laws arise? Research on infant selective attention –habituation; measure gaze duration –physically impossible events: infants notice at 3-4 months –rudimentary arithmetic around 5 months (Wynn, 1992) Depth perception- visual cliff

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7 Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget ( ) “children are active thinkers, constantly trying to construct more advanced understandings of the world”

8 Stages and Schemas Schemas: frameworks; help organize knowledge; structures of “understandings”: Assimilation - new information or experience is fit it into existing schema Accommodation - existing schemas are changed or new schemas are created to fit new information operations: reversible actions

9 Sensorimotor Stage (birth - 2) Information gained through senses and motor actions child perceives and manipulates but does not reason Object permanence is acquired

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11 Preoperational Stage (2-7 years) Emergence of symbolic thought –video: symbolic hiding place Lack the concept of conservation operates on appearance rather than principles

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13 Adult Conservation problem Jar1: 200 red jelly beans Jar2: 200 black jelly beans scoop holds exactly 15 beans take 1 scoop out of red jar, put in black jar mix up black and red beans in jar take 1 scoop out of (mostly) black Jar2, put in Jar1 How does number of black beans in Jar1 compare to number of red beans in Jar2

14 Concrete Operational Stage (7-12years) Understanding of mental operations leading to increasingly logical thought Inability to reason abstractly or hypothetically

15 Formal Operational Stage (12 - adult) Hypothetico-deductive reasoning –think theoretically, apply principles to hypothetical cases

16 Critique of Piaget’s Theory Underestimates children’s abilities Overestimates age differences in thinking Vagueness about the process of change Underestimates the role of the social environment

17 Information-Processing Perspective mind as system, like computer, for analyzing information Developmental improvements reflect –increased capacity of working memory –faster speed of processing –new algorithims (methods) –more stored knowledge

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20 Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective Vygotsky: –interaction with the social world as cause of development (zone of proximal development) –language : foundation for social interaction and thought (dialogue for critical thinking) Piaget - –interaction with the physical world –language was a byproduct of thought

21 Language development Evidence of prenatal speech detection: Mothers read “Cat in the Hat” aloud each day of last 6 weeks of pregnancy by changing suckling pattern (IBI), 2 days old infants could change story played over earphones (IBI had to increase in some, decrease in others) infants changed pattern so that they could hear “Cat in the hat” (this worked for other stories, too…)

22 Language Development MONTH Speech Characteristic 2Cooing vowel sounds 4Babbling consonant/vowel 10Babbling native language sounds 12One-word stage 24Two-word stage 24 +Sentences

23 Supports for Language Development Chomsky’s language-acquisition device (LAD) - innate foundations for grammar and learning unique rules of a language critical period Language-acquisition support system - aspects of the social world that help infants acquire language (e.g., parentese)


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