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Infancy: Cognitive Development

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1 Infancy: Cognitive Development
CHAPTER 5 Infancy: Cognitive Development

2 Cognitive Development: Jean Piaget
Some children may advance more quickly than others, but the sequence remains constant.

3 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Piaget hypothesized that cognitive processes develop in an orderly sequence of stages (4). Stage 1: Sensorimotor Stage 2: Preoperational Stage 3: Concrete operational Stage 4: Formal operational Some children may advance more quickly than others, but the sequence remains constant.

4 Piaget Basics Schemes -Children’s concepts of the world
Cognitive development -Way of perceiving and mentally representing the world Assimilation -Absorbing new events into existing schemes Accommodation -Modifying existing schemes when assimilation does not allow the child to make sense of novel events

5 Sensorimotor Stage Refers to 0-2 years of cognitive development
First substage (1st month after birth) -Dominated by assimilation of sources of stimulation into inborn reflexes such as grasping, visual tracking. Second substage (1 to 4 months) Primary circular reactions -characterized by beginnings of the ability to coordinate various sensorimotor schemes -focus on the infant’s own body rather than on external environment

6 Sensorimotor Stage (cont’d)
Third substage (4 to 8 months) Secondary circular reactions -include repeated patterns of activity due to effect on the environment -focus shifts objects and environmental events Fourth substage (8 to 12 months) -Infants begin to show intentional, goal-directed behavior in which they differentiate between the means of achieving a goal and the goal or end itself Fifth substage (12 to 18 months) Tertiary circular reactions -purposeful adaptations of established schemes to specific situations

7 Sensorimotor Stage (cont’d)
Sixth substage (18 to 24 months) -Transition between sensorimotor development and the development of symbolic thought -External exploration replaced by mental exploration -Use imitation to symbolize or stand for a plan of action Object permanence -Recognition that an object or person continues to exist when out of sight -Advances in the development of the object concept by about the sixth month

8 Figure 5.1: Development of Object Permanence.
To the infant who is in the early part of the sensorimotor stage, “out of sight” is truly “out of mind.” Once a sheet of paper is placed between the infant and the toy monkey (top two photos), the infant loses all interest in the toy. From evidence of this sort, Piaget concluded that the toy is not mentally represented. The bottom series of photos shows a child in a later part of the sensorimotor stage. This child does mentally represent objects and pushes through a towel to reach an object that has been screened from sight. Fig. 5-1, p. 95

9 Evaluation of Piaget Confirmation
Remains a comprehensive model of infant cognition Many of his own observations of his own infants have been confirmed by others. Pattern and sequence of events he described have been observed among American, European, African, and Asian infants

10 Piaget Criticisms Cognitive development not as tied to discrete stages
Emphasis on maturation with exclusion of adult and peer influences on cognitive development Underestimation of infants’ competence Infants display object permanence earlier than Piaget believed. Infants display deferred imitation as early as 9 months and not 18 months as Piaget believed. The interpersonal influences have been shown to play important roles in cognitive development.

11 Information Processing
Some children may advance more quickly than others, but the sequence remains constant.

12 Information Processing
Memory Memory improves between 2 and 6 months of age. Older infants more capable of encoding than younger ones Infant memory can be improved if infants receive a reminder. Deferred Imitation -Imitation of actions after a time delay occurs as early as 6 months -Imitation of neonates likely reflexive

13 Figure 5.2: Investigating Infant Memory.
In this technique, developed by Carolyn Rovee-Collier, the infant’s ankle is connected a mobile by a ribbon. Infants quickly learn to kick to make the mobile move. Two- and three-month-olds remember how to perform this feat after a delay of a few days. If they are given a reminder, such as simply viewing the mobile, their memory lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. Fig. 5-2, p. 96

14 Figure 5.3: Imitation in Infants.
These 2- to 3-week-old infants are imitating the facial gestures of an adult experimenter. How are we to interpret these findings? Can we say that the infants “knew” what the experimenter was doing and “chose” to imitate the behavior, or is there another explanation? Fig. 5-2, p. 97

15 Mirror Neurons Activated when the individual performs a motor act or observes another individual engaging in the same act Also connected with emotions in humans The frontal lobe is active when people experience emotions such as disgust, happiness, pain, and also when they observe another person experiencing an emotion Has been suggested that mirror neurons are connected with the built-in human capacity to acquire language

16 Individual Differences in Intelligence Among Infants
Some children may advance more quickly than others, but the sequence remains constant.

17 Individual Differences in Intelligence Among Infants
Understanding of infants’ intelligence based on scales of infant development Bayley Scales of Infant Development -Consists of 178 mental-scale items and 111 motor-scale items -Mental scale assesses verbal communication, perceptual skills, learning and memory, and problem-solving skills -Motor scale assesses gross and fine motor skills -Behavior rating scale based on examiner observation of the child during the test also used Testing used to identify handicaps

18 Instability of Intelligence Scores Attained in Infancy
Scores obtained during first year of life correlated moderately with scores obtained a year later. Bayley scales and socioeconomic status were able to predict cognitive development among LBW children from 18 months to 4 years. Bayley and other scales do not predict school grades or IQ scores very well. Bayley scales are best at identifying gross lags in development and relative strengths and weaknesses.

19 Table 5-1, p. 98

20 Use of Visual Recognition Memory
- Ability to discriminate previously seen objects from novel objects; procedure based on habituation Children with greater visual recognition memory attained higher IQ scores. Individual differences in capacity for visual recognition memory are stable. Capacity for visual recognition memory increases over first year after birth. Studies on visual recognition memory and later IQ scores show good predictive validity for broad cognitive abilities throughout childhood.

21 Language Development Some children may advance more quickly than others, but the sequence remains constant.

22 Early Vocalizations Children develop language according to an invariant sequence of steps or stages. Language begins with prelinguistic vocalizations. -Cooing (2nd month) -Infants use tongues, vowel-like sounds -Appears to be linked to pleasure -Babbling (6-9 months) -Combination of consonants and vowels Echolalia (10-12 months) -Infants repeat syllables Intonation (end of 1st year) -Use of patterns that rise and fall; resembles adult speech

23 Table 5-2, p. 101

24 Development of Vocabulary
First word -Spoken between months -Brief and consist of one or two syllables Vocabulary acquisition -Slow at first -3 or 4 months from when the first word is spoken, children learn words -18-month-old vocabulary may be 50 words -22-month-old vocabulary may be 300 words General nominals -Similar to nouns -Includes names of classes of objects Specific nominals -Proper nouns

25 Overextension Overextension
Children extend the meaning of one word to refer to things and actions for which they do not have words. Overextensions gradually pulled back to proper references

26 Development of Sentences
Telegraphic speech -Brief expressions that have meanings of sentences Mean length of utterance (MLU) -Average number of morphemes that communicators use in their sentences Morphemes -Smallest units of meaning in a language -e.g. Walked is two morphemes: walk = verb, -ed = past-tense suffix MLU increases rapidly once speech begins MLU = Mean length of Utterance -patterns of growth are similar for each child with swift upward movement, broken by intermittent and brief regressions

27 Figure 5.5: Mean Length of Utterance for Three Children.
The mean length of utterance (MLU) increases rapidly once speech begins. Fig. 5-5, p. 103

28 Development of Sentences (cont’d)
Holophrases -Single words that are used to express complex meanings -e.g., “Mama” means… “There goes Mama” Telegraphic speech -Two-word sentences -e.g., “That ball”; words is and a are implied -Shows understanding of syntax -Rules in a language for placing words in order to form sentences

29 Theories of Language Development
Nurture view -Holds that a child learns the language that the family speaks 1. Imitation -Children learn language, at least in part, by observation and imitation. 2. Reinforcement -Children learn language due to the social cues of smiling, stroking, and talking back to them. Extinction -Foreign sounds drop out due to the lack of reinforcement. Shaping -Reinforcing children’s utterances as they approximate actual words (may be selective)

30 Theories of Language Development (cont’d)
Nature -Holds that children have inborn tendency in the form of neurological “pre-wiring” to language learning Psycholinguistic theory -Language acquisition involves interaction between environmental influences. -Innate tendency labeled language acquisition device (LAD) -Inborn tendency supported by studies of deaf children and in the language development among all languages

31 Theories of Language Development (cont’d)
Surface and deep structure -On the surface, languages differ in vocabulary and grammar. -However, languages share “universal grammar” allowing for transforming ideas into sentences. Chomsky maintains children are genetically pre-wired to attend to language and deduce the rules for constructing sentences from ideas.

32 Brain Structures Involved in Language
Biological structures of LAD based in left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex for nearly all right-handed people and for 2 out of 3 left-handed Damage to Broca’s or Wernicke’s area called aphasia -Disruption in the ability to understand or produce language -Located left hemisphere Broca’s aphasia -Can understand but not reproduce speech well Wernicke’s aphasia -Can speak freely with proper syntax -Have trouble understanding speech and finding the words to express themselves

33 Figure 5.4: Broca’s and Wernicke’s Areas of the Cerebral Cortex.
Fig. 5-6, p. 107

34 The Sensitive Period Language learning most efficient beginning at 18 to 24 months (sensitive period) During this period, neural development provides plasticity of the brain. Damage to the brain easier to heal the younger the child Social contacts important in the development of language Malnutrition and abuse can contribute to poor language learning and ability.

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