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Various Perspectives of Cognitive Development How Children Develop (3rd ed.) Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg Chapter 4.

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Presentation on theme: "Various Perspectives of Cognitive Development How Children Develop (3rd ed.) Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg Chapter 4."— Presentation transcript:

1 Various Perspectives of Cognitive Development How Children Develop (3rd ed.) Siegler, DeLoache & Eisenberg Chapter 4

2 Why developmental theories? 1. Provide a framework for understanding important phenomena 2. Raise crucial questions about human nature 3. Motivate new research studies that lead to a better understanding of children

3 Why not just one theory? Because child development is a complex and varied process, no single theory accounts for all of it. Theories of cognitive and social development, for example, focus on different capabilities. The four theories examined in this chapter allow a broader appreciation of cognitive development than any one of them does by itself.

4 Guiding Questions How do various theories explain learning during childhood? What do sociocultural theories and dynamic- systems theories say about children’s learning? How can five major theoretical perspectives of children’s cognitive development be applied to everyday observations and interactions with children?

5 How Do Children Learn? How do various theories explain learning during childhood?

6 Major Theories of Cognitive Development Piaget’s Theory Information Processing Theories Core-Knowledge Theories Sociocultural Theories Dynamic-Systems Theories

7 Piaget’s Theory Often labeled constructivist because it depicts children as constructing knowledge for themselves. Children learn in some ways that remain constant throughout development and in other ways that change throughout development. Children are seen as… Active Learning many important lessons on their own Intrinsically motivated to learn

8 Three processes work together from birth to propel development forward. Assimilation: the process by which people translate incoming information into a form they can understand Accommodation: the process by which people adapt current knowledge structures in response to new experiences Equilibration: the process by which people balance assimilation and accommodation to create stable understanding

9 Piaget: Learning Equilibration AssimilationAccommodation

10 Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Sensorimotor Stage (Birth – 2 years of age) Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years) Concrete Operational Stage (7 – 12 years) Formal Operations Stage (Age 12 and Beyond)

11 Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Sensori- motor Birth to 2 years Infants know the world through their senses and through their actions. For example, they learn what dogs look like and what petting them feels like. Preopera- tional 2 - 7 years Toddlers and young children acquire the ability to internally represent the world through language and mental imagery. They also begin to be able to see the world from other people’s perspectives, not just from their own.

12 Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Concrete Operational 7 - 12 years Children become able to think logically, not just intuitively. They now can classify objects into coherent categories and understand that events are often influenced by multiple factors, not just one. Formal Operational 12+ years Adolescents can think systematically and reason about what might be as well as what is. This allows them to understand politics, ethics, and science fiction, as well as to engage in scientific reasoning.

13 Sensorimotor Substages SubAgeDescription 1 Birth – 1 month Infants begin to modify the reflexes with which they are born to make them more adaptive. 2 1 – 4 months Infants begin to organize separate reflexes into larger behaviors, most of which are centered on their own bodies.

14 Sensorimotor Substages SubAgeDescription 3 4 – 8 months Infants becoming increasingly interested in the world around them. By the end of this substage, object permanence, the knowledge that objects continue to exist even when they are out of view, typically emerges. 4 8 – 12 months During this substage, children make the A-Not-B error, the tendency to reach to where objects have been found before, rather than to where they were last hidden.

15 Sensorimotor Substages SubAgeDescription 5 12 – 18 months Toddlers begin to actively and avidly explore the potential uses to which objects can be put. 6 18 – 24 months Infants become able to form enduring mental representations. The first sign of this capacity is deferred imitation, the repetition of other people’s behavior a substantial time after it occurred.

16 Preoperational Stage A mix of impressive cognitive acquisitions and equally impressive limitations A notable acquisition is symbolic representation, the use of one object to stand for another, which makes a variety of new behaviors possible. One major limitation is egocentrism, the tendency to perceive the world solely from one’s own point of view. A related limitation is centration, the tendency to focus on a single, perceptually striking feature of an object or event. Preoperational children also lack of understanding of the conservation concept, the idea that merely changing the appearance of objects does not change their key properties.

17 Concrete Operations Stage Children begin to reason logically about the world. They can solve conservation problems, but their successful reasoning is largely limited to concrete situations. Thinking systematically remains difficult.

18 Formal Operations Stage Cognitive development culminates in the ability to think abstractly and to reason hypothetically. Individuals can imagine alternative worlds and reason systematically about all possible outcomes of a situation. Piaget believed that the attainment of the formal operations stage, in contrast to the other stages, is not universal.

19 Piaget’s Legacy Although Piaget’s theory remains highly influential, some weaknesses are now apparent. The stage model depicts children’s thinking as being more consistent than it is. Infants and young children are more cognitively competent than Piaget recognized. Piaget’s theory understates the contribution of the social world to cognitive development. Piaget’s theory is vague about the cognitive processes that give rise to children’s thinking and about the mechanisms that produce cognitive growth.

20 Information-Processing Theories View children as undergoing continuous cognitive change. View children as active problem-solvers Cognitive development occurs because children’s ability to process information gradually improves Emphasis on structure (organization of the cognitive system) and processes (specific mental activities)

21 The Development of Memory Components of the Memory System: Sensory memory: refers to sights, sounds, and other sensations that are just entering the cognitive system and are briefly held in raw form until they are identified. Working memory: a workspace in which information from the environment and relevant knowledge are brought together, attended to, and actively processed. Long-term memory: refers to information retained on an enduring basis.

22 Explanations of Memory Development Basic processes are the simplest and most frequently used mental activities: associating events with one another recognizing objects as familiar recalling facts and procedures generalizing from one instance to another encoding – the process of representing in memory information specific features of objects and events Encourage development by allowing infants to learn and remember even in their earliest days. With development, children execute basic processes more efficiently, which further enhances their memory and learning and helps them overcome earlier limitations.

23 Additional Cognitive Processes

24 Core-Knowledge Theories Idea that children are born with certain cognitive abilities that are more advanced than once thought. Emphasize the sophistication of infants’ and young children’s thinking in areas that have been important throughout human evolutionary history. Children are seen as… Active learners Organizers and problem solvers Having special abilities in certain areas

25 Specialized Learning Mechanisms Evidence for specialized learning mechanisms: Face Perception: from birth onward, infant prefer looking at faces over other objects. Language: the universality of language acquisition and the role that the left hemisphere plays in processing grammar provide evidence for specialized mechanisms for learning language.

26 Domain Specificity The basic understandings proposed by core- knowledge theorists are assumed to be domain- specific—limited to a particular area, such as living things or inanimate objects

27 Children’s Informal Theories A number of core-knowledge theorists have proposed that young children actively organize their understanding of the most important domains into naïve theories. These informal theories share important characteristics with formal scientific theories: Identify fundamental units for dividing up the vast number of objects and events in the world Explain many particular phenomena in terms of a few basic principles Explain events in terms of unobservable causes

28 Naive Theories Recent evidence suggests that infants begin life with a primitive theory of physics. It also appears that the first theories of psychology and biology may emerge at about 18 months and three years of age, respectively.

29 What do sociocultural theories and dynamic-systems theories say about children’s learning?

30 Sociocultural Approaches Focus on the contribution of other people and the surrounding culture to children’s development. Emphasize guided participation, a process in which more knowledgeable individuals organize activities in ways that allow less knowledgeable people to engage in them at a higher level than they could manage on their own. Present interactions as occurring in a broader sociocultural context that includes cultural tools, the innumerable products of human ingenuity that enhance thinking.

31 View of Children’s Nature Lev Vygotsky is considered to be the originator of the sociocultural approach to cognitive development. Vygotsky’s work created a stir because his view of children’s nature was so different from Piaget’s.

32 Distinguishing Features of Sociocultural Theories

33 Dynamic-Systems Theories Emphasize how varied aspects of the child function as a single, integrated whole to produce behavior. By emphasizing the relations among motor activities, attention, and other aspects of children’s behavior, dynamic-systems approaches improve our understanding of how development occurs.

34 View of Children’s Nature Emphasize children’s innate motivations to explore the environment (Piaget) Emphasize precise analysis of problem-solving activity (information-processing) Emphasize early emerging competencies (core- knowledge) Emphasize the formative influence of other people (sociocultural)

35 Distinguishing Features of Dynamic-Systems Theories

36 How can the major theories of cognitive development be applied to everyday observations and interactions with children?

37 In-Class Activity

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