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Cognitive Development in Infancy

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1 Cognitive Development in Infancy
Chapter 6: Cognitive Development in Infancy McGraw-Hill © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Piaget’s Theory of Infant Development

3 Piaget proposed that Physical bodies can adapt to the world
Humans build mental structures to aid adaptation Humans interactive with their environment Children think differently at various points in their development

4 Schemes are patterns of actions and thoughts that organize knowledge.
Actions are behavioral schemes. Their development characterizes infancy, such as that of simple actions and reflexes. Thoughts are cognitive activities or mental schemes, which develop in childhood, such as classifying objects by size, color, or shape.

5 Assimilation incorporates new information into existing knowledge.
Accommodation adjusts existing knowledge to fit new information. Organization is Piaget’s concept of grouping isolated behaviors into a higher-order system The child becomes skilled at using tools over time, one at a time until experiences become skills

6 Equilibration: Piaget’s mechanism to explain how children shift from one stage of thought to another It is lost when children have cognitive conflicts Achieved when assimilation and accommodation are used together to resolve a conflict Piaget’s 6 substages of the sensorimotor stage of infant development last from birth to 2 years of age

7 Piaget’s 6 Substages of Sensorimotor Development
Description Simple reflexes birth–1 month Coordinates sensations, reflexes First habits, primary circular reactions 1–4 months Coordination of sensations, habits, and primary circular reactions; body is still main focus of infant Secondary circular reactions 4–8 months Infant becomes more object-oriented, repeats interesting/pleasurable acts Coordination of secondary circular reactions 8–12 months Coordination of vision and touch, eye–hand coordination, intentional acts, coordination of schemes Tertiary circular reactions, novelty, & curiosity 12–18 months Infants intrigued by properties of, and things done with, objects; experiments with new behaviors Internalization of schemes 18–24 months Infant develops ability to use primitive symbols, forms lasting mental images Figure 6.1

8 At the end of sensorimotor stage:
Object permanence is understood Infant understands a differentiation between self and world At around 5.5 and 6.5 months of age, an infant can understand simple causal factors Piaget’s work is criticized as Being too vague Underestimating infant ability Being based mostly on his children’s infancy

9 Learning and Remembering

10 Conditioning: Consequences following a behavior affects whether behavior is repeated Rovee-Collier showed infants have memory of conditioned experiences Attention: Infants can scan and fixate on objects 4-month-olds show selective attention Infant attention governed by novelty and habituation, respond to changed stimuli

11 Meltzoff: imitation abilities are biological because infants can imitate facial expressions within a few days after birth Piaget: deferred imitation occurs at about 18 months but Meltzoff showed that it occurred at 9 months

12 Memory: retention of information over time
Implicit memory is performed automatically without conscious recollection Explicit memory is conscious memory of facts and experiences; occurs in infants after 6 months 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

13 Differences in Intelligence
Individual Differences in Intelligence

14 Individual differences in infant cognitive development are important:
Development testing emphasizes “norms” Infants assessed mostly based on assessment scales and intelligence tests Identifying an infant’s development as slow, normal, or advanced has advantages: If slow – provide more enrichment If advanced – provide more stimulating toys

15 Types of infant cognitive assessment:
Gesell’s developmental quotient (DQ) has 4 categories of behavior: motor, language, adaptive, and personal–social Bayley Scales of Infant Development have three components to predict later development: mental scale, motor scale, and infant behavior profile

16 Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence focuses on infant’s ability to process information
Estimates a baby’s intelligence by comparing amount of time spent looking at an object with amount of time spent looking at familiar object Infant intelligence tests are valuable in assessing effects of maternal deprivation and environmental stimulation; but not highly correlated with later childhood IQ scores

17 Language Development

18 Wild or feral children are raised in isolation and unable to recapture normal language development despite intensive intervention later For example: 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 is a system of words, symbols, and gestures that create shared communication that transcends time (future, present, and past)

19 Language’s five systems of rules:
Phonology: sound system of language, with phoneme being smallest unit of sound with meaning Morphology: units of meaning in word formation, with morpheme being the smallest unit of meaning Syntax: how words are combined Semantics: the meanings of sentences and words Pragmatics: use of appropriate language in different contexts

20 Language develops in infants throughout the world along a similar path and sequence
Infant’s ability to recognize native language, for English speakers this includes distinguishing “r” from “t” On average, a child Understands about 50 words at age 13 months Speaks first word at 10–15 months of age Can speak about 50 words at 18 months of age

21 Variation in Language Milestones
27 24 21 18 15 Age in months 12 9 First words Vocabulary spurt Language Milestone Figure 6.9

22 Average 2-year-old can speak about 200 words
Vocabulary spurt begins at approximately 18 months of age Two-word utterances occur at about 18–24 months Overextension and underextension of words are common Telegraphic speech is use of short and precise words

23 Some Language Milestones in Infancy
Birth Crying 1 to 2 months Cooing begins 6 months Babbling begins 8 to 12 months Use of gestures (showing and pointing); comprehension of words appears 10–15 months First word spoken 18 months Vocabulary spurts starts 18 to 24 months Use of two-word utterances; rapid expansion of understanding of words Figure 6.10

24 Specific regions of the brain are predisposed to be used for language
There is evidence that Language has a biological basis Everyone “knows” its rules and has ability to create infinite numbers of words and sentences Specific regions of the brain are predisposed to be used for language Broca’s Area Wernicke’s Area

25 Broca’s Area and Wernicke’s Area
Figure 6.11

26 Chomsky: humans are prewired for language
Chomsky’s language acquisition device (LAD) is a theoretical construct only Behaviorists claim language is a complex learned skill acquired through responses and reinforcements Studies found link between size of child’s vocabulary and mother’s talkativeness Young children’s vocabularies are linked to family socioeconomic status

27 Level of Maternal Speech and Infant Vocabulary
800 High Mother’s level of speech 600 400 Infant’s vocabulary size (words) Medium 200 Low 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Infant’s age (months) Figure 6.12

28 Language Input in Professional and Welfare Families, and Young Children’s Vocabulary Development
800 Professional 600 400 Parent utterances to child per hour Welfare 200 10 14 18 22 26 30 34 38 Age of children (months) Figure 6.12 (a)

29 Language Input in Professional and Welfare Families, and Young Children’s Vocabulary Development
1200 1000 Professional 800 600 400 Welfare Children’s cumulative vocabulary (words) 200 10 14 18 22 26 30 34 38 Age of children (months) Figure 6.12 (b)

30 Three strategies to enhance child’s acquisition of language other than child-directed speech
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

31 The End

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