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Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition Chapter 5: Cognitive Development in Infancy ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition Chapter 5: Cognitive Development in Infancy ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition Chapter 5: Cognitive Development in Infancy ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Cognitive Processes Piaget proposed that we build mental structures that help us adapt to the world Adaptation involves adjusting to new environmental demands Piaget stressed that children actively construct their own cognitive worlds through interaction with the environment Systematic changes in children’s thinking occur at different points in their development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

3 Cognitive Processes Schemes: actions or mental representations that organize knowledge Behavioral schemes (physical activities) characterize infancy Consist of simple actions that can be performed on objects Mental schemes (cognitive activities) develop in childhood Include strategies and plans for solving problems ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

4 Cognitive Processes Assimilation: occurs when children use their existing schemes to deal with new information or experiences Accommodation: occurs when children adjust their schemes to take new information and experiences into account Organization: the grouping of isolated behaviors and thoughts into a higher-order system ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Cognitive Processes Equilibration: the mechanism by which children shift from one stage of thought to the next Disequilibrium: child’s inevitable experience of cognitive conflict Brought about by inconsistencies in his or her existing schemes Internal search for equilibrium creates motivation for change Assimilation and accommodation are used to resolve conflict and bring about a new way of thinking ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

6 Cognitive Processes According to Piaget, individuals go through four stages of development Cognition is qualitatively different from one stage to another Sensorimotor Stage: infant cognitive development lasting from birth to 2 years Infants understand the world through their sensory experiences JVhjS0 ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

7 Sensorimotor Substages ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

8 Cognitive Processes Object Permanence: the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched Developed by the end of the sensorimotor period Studied by watching infant’s reaction when an interesting object disappears Violation of Expectations method suggests that infants understand object permanence earlier than Piaget proposed ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

9 Object Permanence ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

10 Object Permanence ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

11 Cognitive Processes Evaluating Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage: Piaget claimed that certain processes are crucial in transitions between stages; data do not always support this Example: the A-not-B Error Infant’s perceptual abilities may be much more developed than Piaget thought Studies by Elizabeth Spelke and others Piaget was not specific enough about how infants learn about their world ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

12 Conditioning and Attention Conditioning: Infants can learn through classical and operant conditioning Rovee-Collier (1997) demonstrated that infants can retain conditioning experiences Attention: the focusing of mental resources on select information Newborns can detect and fix their attention on contours 4-month-olds can scan more thoroughly and show selective attention ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

13 Conditioning and Attention Infants’ attention is strongly governed by novelty and habituation Habituation: decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations Dishabituation: increased responsiveness after a change in stimulation Habituation is studied to determine the extent to which infants can see, hear, smell, taste, and experience touch ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

14 Conditioning and Attention Joint Attention: individuals focus on the same object or event Requires an ability to track another’s behavior One person directs another’s attention Reciprocal interaction Joint attention skills emerge by 7 to 8 months but are not frequently observed until the end of the 1 st year Plays a role in language development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

15 Memory Memory: retention of information over time Encoding: the process by which information gets into memory Implicit memory: memory without conscious recollection Skills and routine procedures that are performed automatically Explicit memory: conscious memory of facts and experiences Occurs in infants after 6 months Maturation of hippocampus and surrounding cerebral cortex ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

16 Memory Infantile or childhood amnesia: inability to recall memories of events that occurred before 3 years of age May be caused by immaturity of prefrontal lobes of the brain ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

17 Memory Imitation: Meltzoff: infants’ imitative abilities are biologically based and are characterized by flexibility and adaptability Deferred Imitation: imitation that occurs after a time delay of hours or days Piaget: deferred imitation does not occur until about 18 months Meltzoff: research suggests it can occur as early as 9 months ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

18 Concept Formation and Categorization Categories: groups of objects, events, and characteristics on the basis of common properties Concepts: ideas about what categories represent Perceptual categorization: 3-month-olds can group together objects with similar appearances Conceptual categorization: by 7–9 months, infants form categories that are global in nature By age two, general concepts become more differentiated Intense, passionate interest in particular categories is more common in boys than girls ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

19 Measures of Infant Development Individual differences in infant cognitive development are important Development testing emphasizes “norms” Infant assessments mostly based on assessment scales and intelligence tests Gesell Test has four categories of behavior: motor, language, adaptive, and personal–social Bayley Scales of Infant Development has three components: mental scale, motor scale, and infant behavior profile Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence focuses on infant’s ability to process information ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

20 Predicting Intelligence Scores on infant tests are not highly correlated with IQ scores in childhood Components of tests are very different Exception: Fagan test Measures of habituation and dishabituation are linked to intelligence in childhood and adolescence Many important changes in cognitive development take place after infancy ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

21 Language Development Wild or feral children are raised in isolation and are unable to recapture normal language development despite intensive intervention later Victor, Wild Boy of Aveyron Genie: 13-year-old found in 1970 in Los Angeles Both cases raise questions about biological and environmental determinants of language Language: a form of communication – whether spoken, written, or signed – that is based on a system of symbols Infinite Generativity: the ability to produce an endless number of meaningful sentences using a finite set of words and rules ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

22 The Rule Systems of Language ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

23 Language Development Language develops in infants throughout the world along a similar path and sequence Recognizing language sounds With age, infants get better at perceiving the sounds in their own language and worse at distinguishing sounds in other languages Detecting boundaries between words Occurs by about 8 months ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

24 Language Development Babbling and other vocalizations Crying Cooing Babbling Gestures are used by about 8 to 12 months Pointing, waving “bye-bye” First words: Children understand first words earlier than they speak them On average, a child understands about 50 words at age 13 months but can’t speak 50 words until 18 months Children typically speak their first word at 10–15 months ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

25 Language Development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

26 Language Development Vocabulary spurt begins at approximately 18 months of age Overextension and underextension of words are common Overextension: tendency to apply a word to objects that are inappropriate for the word’s meaning Underextension: tendency to apply a word too narrowly Two-word utterances occur at about 18–24 months Telegraphic speech: use of short and precise words without grammatical markers ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

27 Language Milestones in Infancy ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

28 Language Development Biological Influences: Evolution of nervous system and vocal apparatus Similarities in language development across the world suggest a biological basis Particular brain regions used for language: Broca’s area: language production Wernicke’s area: language comprehension ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

29 Language Development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

30 Language Development Biological Influences (continued): Language Acquisition Device (LAD; Noam Chomsky): theory that a biological endowment enables children to detect certain features and rules of language Theoretical concept only Critics argue that the LAD cannot explain all of language development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

31 Language Development Environmental Influences: Behaviorists claim language is a complex learned skill acquired through responses and reinforcements Interaction view (Tomasello): children learn language in specific contexts Children’s vocabulary is linked to family socioeconomic status and the type of talk parents direct toward their children ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

32 Language Development ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

33 Language Development Child-Directed Speech: language spoken in a higher pitch than normal with simple words and sentences Captures infant’s attention and maintains communication Three strategies to enhance child’s acquisition of language: Recasting: rephrasing something the child has said Expanding state: repeating what the child has said but in correct structure Labeling: identifying the names of objects Children vary in their ability to acquire language ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


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