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Infancy: Cognitive Development

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1 Infancy: Cognitive Development
CHAPTER 6 Infancy: Cognitive Development

2 Learning Outcomes LO1 Examine Jean Piaget’s studies of cognitive development. LO2 Discuss the information-processing approach. LO3 Identify individual differences in intelligence among infants. LO4 Examine language development in infancy. This slide serves as an overview of the topics presented in this chapter. They correlate to the Learning Outcomes in the text. © Botanica/Jupiterimages

T F For 2-month old infants, “out of sight” is “out of mind.” T F A 1-hour old infant may imitate an adult who sticks out his or her tongue. T F Psychologists can begin to measure intelligence in infancy. T F Infant crying is a primitive form of language. T F You can advance children’s development of pronunciation by correcting their errors. T F Children are “pre-wired” to listen to language in such a way that they come to understand rules of grammar. Pre-Quiz to stimulate class discussion of topics covered in this chapter. Answers will be inserted in notes as the material is encountered. ©

4 LO1 Cognitive Development: Jean Piaget
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5 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Focus on development of how children perceive and mentally represent the world PIAGET’S HYPOTHESIS Cognitive processes develop in an orderly sequence of stages Rate of development is variable to individuals but sequence remains constant TERMS AND CONCEPTS Schemes Children’s concepts of the world Assimilation Incorporating new events into existing schemes Accommodation If assimilation does make sense of new events, children try to modify existing schemes through accommodation.

6 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Piaget’s FOUR STAGES of cognitive development: Sensorimotor: B-2 yrs Preoperational: 2-7 yrs Concrete operational: 7-11 yrs Formal operational: 12 yrs - adult In this chapter we will be discussing the 1st Stage only. Sensorimotor- as it applies to Infancy

7 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage The first 2 years of cognitive development It is divided into six sub-stages. Simple Reflexes Primary Circular Reactions Secondary Circular Reactions Coordination of Secondary Schemes Tertiary Circular Reactions Invention of New Means through Material Combinations Each Sub-stage will be addressed individually on separate slides.

8 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 1 – Simple Reflexes B-1 month Dominated by assimilation of stimuli into reflexes Within first few hours, infants began to modify reflexes as a result of experiences There seems to be no connection between stimuli from different sensory modalities Making no effort to grasp objects they visually track

9 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 2 – Primary Circular Reactions 1-4 months Beginning to coordinate different schemes Focus on the infant’s own body rather than external stimuli 3-months: infants examine objects intensely No longer simply looking but “looking in order to see” Sensorimotor coordination is self-reinforcing because they repeat actions that allow them to “see.” The desire to prolong stimulation is seen as a “basic” drive much like hunger and thirst.

10 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 3 – Secondary Circular Reactions 4-8 months Focus shifts from self to objects and environmental events Patterns of activity are repeated because of their effect on the environment Infants may now lean to shake a rattle

11 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 4 – Coordination of Secondary Schemes 9-12 months Can now coordinate schemes to attain specific goals Begin to show intentional, goal-directed behavior Gain capacity to imitate gestures and sounds they previously ignored

12 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 5 – Tertiary Circular Reactions 12-18 months Infants now engage in tertiary circular reactions or purposeful adaptation of established schemes to specific situations Become “budding scientists” experimenting with their actions dozens of times in deliberate trial-and-error testing to learn how things work

13 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Sensorimotor Stage Sub-stage 6 – Invention of New Means Through Mental Combinations 18-24 months Transition stage between sensorimotor development and the development of symbolic thought External exploration is replaced by mental exploration By 18 mos, child may also use imitation to symbolize a plan of action Also begin to exhibit concept of deferred imitation Imitation of an action that may have occurred hours, days, or even weeks earlier

14 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Development of Object Performance Awareness that an object or person continues to exist when out of sight Object permanence is tied to the development of the infant’s working memory and reasoning ability Newborns Show no tendency to respond to objects not within their immediate grasp Answer to T-F? # 1 - For 2-month-old infants,”out of sight” is “out of mind”. TRUE - Two-month-olds have not yet developed object permanence.

15 Cognitive Development – Jean Piaget
Development of Object Performance 2 - 6 months At 2 months they may show surprise at missing objects but make no attempt to search for them Typically infants at this stage behave as if object is gone if out of sight But by 6 months infants will tend to look for objects they have dropped months (sub-stage 4) Baby now seeks to find objects that have been hidden from their sight. “A not B” error: baby will continue to seek lost object in the place where they have found it before, even if they see it has not been placed there By 9-10 months this error no longer occurs if the retrieval is immediate; if having to wait 5 or more seconds they tend to revert to the error behavior

16 Evaluation of Piaget’s Theory
Pros Still provides a comprehensive model of cognitive development Confirmation of patterns and sequences observed in many other cultures worldwide Cons Process appears to be more gradual; not tied to discrete stages Overlooks the importance of interpersonal influences Seems to underestimate competency of infants Infants seem to display object permanence earlier than (s)he thought Deferred Imitation also occurs earlier than (s)he indicated (9 mos instead of 18 mos) Just a note for thought on the “cons” to open for class discussion. Is the earlier maturation due to error in his observation, or is it perhaps a function of faster development in our children today as opposed to 50 years ago?

17 LO2 Information Processing
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18 Information Processing
Focuses on how children manipulate new information or previously stored information Tools for processing include: Memory Memory is critical in development of all cognitive development. Newborns display memory for stimuli previously exposed to them. Dramatic improves are seen between 2-6 months and again at 1 yr. Infant memory skills can be improved with use of reminders (“priming”). Courtesy of Prof. Carolyn Rovee-Collier / © Don Wilkie/ / © Stefan Klein/

19 Information Processing
Tools for processing include: Imitation “Infant see, infant do” Imitation is basis for much of human learning. Some studies show neonates only 0.7 to 71 hrs. old display imitation of adult gestures other have not. The key may be up to 2 wks imitation appears to be a reflex and it typically disappears as reflexes “drop out” and re-emerge later. These early imitations could be an evolutionary response to assist survival by helping to form infant/caregiver bonding.

20 LO3 Individual Differences in Intelligence among Infants
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21 Individual Differences in Intelligence Among Infants
Cognitive development does not proceed the same in all infants. Measuring cognition/intelligence in infants is very different from adults. Bayley Scales of Infant Development Originally developed in 1933 Current updated version consists of: 178 mental scale items Verbal, perceptual, problem-solving, learning, memory skills 111 motor scale items Gross skills: standing, walking, climbing; Fine: hand, finger dexterity Behavior rating (based on examiner observations) 1. Attention Span 2. Goal directedness 3. Persistence 4. Social and Emotional development

22 Table 6.1 - Items from the Bayley Scales of
Infant Development

23 Individual Differences in Intelligence Among Infants
Testing Infants: Why and with What? Screening for handicaps one major reason Difficult to test infants; administered one-to-one, individual judgments prevail Number of tests developed: Bayley Scale; Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale; Denver Developmental Screening Test Instability of Intelligence Scores in Infancy Screening is also done to predict future development Overall they fail to predict accurately over long period © / © Jan Tyler/ / © Wolfgang Amri/

24 Individual Differences in Intelligence Among Infants
Use of Visual Recognition Memory Ability to discriminate previously seen object from new ones (based on habituation) Infants with greater visual recognition later attained higher IQ scores In Sum: Scales of infant development may prove useful as screening devices, or for research or descriptive purposes but their predictive power is not valid.

25 LO4 Language Development in Infancy
© Botanica/Jupiterimages

26 Language Development in Infancy
Early Vocalizations Prelinguistic Vocalizations Actual words are symbols of objects and events; prelinguistic vocalizations do NOT represent objects or events. Newborns Utilize crying as an effective form of verbal expression 2 months Cooing (happy sounds) Use tongue more; sounds are more articulated; linked to pleasure or excitement; not associated with hunger or pain Answer to T-F? # 4 - Infant crying is a primitive form of language. FICTION - Not so; cries do not represent objects or events. Therefore, crying is a pre-linguistic event, not a form of language at all.

27 Language Development in Infancy
Prelinguistic Vocalizations 6-9 months Babbling (first sounds resembling human speech) 8 mos cooing decreases and babbling begins Frequently combining consonant and vowel sounds; ( ba ba - ma ma - da da) 10-12 months Echolalia (begin to repeat syllables at length) Ah bah bah bah bah bah Intonation (begin to use patterns of rising and falling tones)

28 Table 6.2 – Milestones in Language Development In Infancy
Source: Table items adapted from Lenneberg (1967, pp. 128–130). Note: Ages are approximations. Slower development does not necessarily indicate language problems. Albert Einstein did not talk until the age of 3.

29 Language Development in Infancy
Development of Vocabulary Refers to learning the meanings of words Receptive vocabulary: words they can understand Expressive vocabulary: words they can use At any given time, children can understand more words than they can use. © Galina Barskaya/

30 Language Development in Infancy
Development of Vocabulary, con’t Child’s First Words (a milestone in development) Usually between months Range of 8-18 months considered normal Brief, one or two syllables Acquisition slow at first; taking 3-4 months to achieve words By 18 months, producing up to 50 words 65% of first words are: General nominals: names and classes of objects Specific nominals: proper nouns Words expressing movement are also common 18-24 months: rapid burst, increasing from 50 to 300 words A.K.A. “naming explosion” because 75% are nouns Growth continues with acquisition of average of 9 new words a day

31 Language Development in Infancy
Development of Vocabulary, con’t Referential language style Uses language primarily to label object in the environment Expressive language style Uses language primarily for engaging in social interactions Uses more pronouns and words involved in social routines More children use expressive style; most use a combination Overextension Extending the meaning of one word to refer to things and actions for which they have no words yet Generally based on perceived similarities in function or form between original object or action and the new one Overextensions gradually correct as child’s vocabulary and classification skills improve

32 Language Development in Infancy
Development of Sentences Typically one-word utterances but express complete ideas Telegraphic Speech Brief expressions that have the meaning of sentences Holophrase: single words used to express complex meanings Two-Word Utterances: brief and telegraphic but show understanding of syntax (proper word order); start around months (when vocabulary reaches words) Mean Length of Utterance (MLU) The average number of morphemes used in a sentence Morphemes: the smallest units of meaning in a language Patterns in rate of increase in MLU are similar for each child.

33 Theories of Language Development
Languages are passed down from generation to generation (with minor changes). Possible roles of Nurture & Nature Nurture: Learning Theories Nature: Nativist Views © Leah-Anne Thompson/

34 Theories of Language Development
Views that Emphasize Nurture Role of Imitation Parents are models with children learning in part from observation and imitation. But some language is spontaneous and resistant to adult correction. Role of Reinforcement Skinner theorized cooing and babbling may be innate but due to reinforcement they lead to language. Extinction of foreign sounds and adherence to native tongue language takes place through shaping (moving a desired behavior toward a goal by gradual progressive reinforcement). Selective reinforcement of pronunciation can also “backfire” Children whose parents reward proper pronunciation but correct poor pronunciation develop vocabulary slower than those whose parents are more tolerant of errors. Answer to T-F? # 5 - You can advance children’s development of pronunciation by correcting their errors. FICTION - Selective reinforcement of a child’s pronunciation can actually backfire by delaying language development.

35 Theories of Language Development
Views that Emphasize Nurture, con’t. Learning theory also cannot account for invariant sequences and spurts in acquisition. Types of questions, passive vs. active sentences, etc. all emerge in the same order But some aspects of environment do influence and enhance language development, such as: Use of “Motherese” a simplified form of speech Using questions that engage child in conversation Making positive responses to child’s expressive language attempts Joining in child’s play and paying attention to their interests Making gestures to help child understand Describing aspects of environment that have gained child’s attention Reading to the child Talk to the child a great deal Next slide will be inserted box on topic of Motherese

36 Theories of Language Development
Views that Emphasize Nature Nativist View: holds inborn factors cause children to attend to and acquire language in certain ways: Evolutionary Theory: Structures that enable humans to perceive and produce language evolved in bits and pieces. Individuals endowed with those were more likely to reach maturity and transmit their genes because communication ability increased their chances of survival. Next slide will be inserted box on topic of Motherese

37 Theories of Language Development
Views that Emphasize Nature, con’t. Psycholinguistic Theory: (Noam Chomsky) Language acquisition involves interaction between various environmental influences and an inborn tendency to acquire language. Chomsky labeled this innate tendency a language acquisition device (LAD). Evidence for support is found in: Universality of language abilities; Regularity of early sounds (even among deaf children); Commonality of sequencing in all languages Inborn tendency primes the nervous system to learn grammar: Surface Structure: languages vary greatly Deep Structure: but all variations share a “universal grammar” Chomsky believes children are pre-wired to attend to language and deduce rules for making sentences from ideas. Answer to T-F? # 6 - Children are “pre-wired” to listen to language in such a way that they come to understand rules of grammar. TRUE - This pre-wiring has been termed a language acquisition device (LAD).

38 Theories of Language Development
Views that Emphasize Nature, con’t. Brain Structures Involved in Language Left Hemisphere of Cerebral Cortex Broca’s Area Located near section of motor cortex controlling muscles of tongue, throat, and other areas of face involved in speech If damaged the ability to speak is compromised but can still understand speech of others: Broca’s Aphasia Wernicke’s Area Located near auditory cortex; connected to Broca’s area by nerves If damaged can still speak, but have trouble finding words to express thoughts, and in understanding speech of others: Wernicke’s Aphasia Angular Gyrus Located between visual cortex and Wernicke’s Area Translates visual information (written words) into auditory information (sounds) and sends to Wernicke’s area If damaged can cause problems in reading.

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