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Child Developmental Psychology
Terms in this set (100)
THEORIES OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: Why developmental theories?
1. They provide a framework for understanding important phenomena (when objects are removed from an individual = out of sight, out of mind)
2. Raise crucial questions about human nature
3. Motivate new research studies that lead to a better understanding of children
Why not just one theory?
Because development is so complex no single theory accounts for all of it.
-theories of cognitive development and social development, for example, focus on different capabilities
Questions addressed by Piagetian Theory
Main questions answered:
-The active child
Jean Piaget (direct observation of children)
Jean Piaget`s theory remains the standard against which all other theories are judged
-Constructivist theory: children construct an understanding of their world based on observations of the effects of their behavior (their interactions with the world)
Children are seen as:
-Active (actively seeking out information about the world)
-Intrinsically motivated to learn
For example, inter-related memories; a script on how to act
-inter-related memories, thoughts, strategies
-used to make sense of experiences
-sensorimotor action pattern
-symbolic (i.e. in-visioning the number 5)
-operational (i.e. the operational multiplication, 5x5)
>>strategies, plans, rules
When things make sense...``harmonious state of affairs``
Cognitive equilibrium...when things don`t make sense??
Cognitive Disequilibrium: Organization
Internal rearrangement and linking together of schemes
-Looking; reaching; grasping; and sucking (as a way to explore any object within their environment)
-visually directed reaching (``looking+reaching+grasping``)
Cognitive Disequilibrium: Adaptation
Assimilation (applying what you know to a new situation)
-existing schemes used to interpret novel information
-new information absorbed into existing scheme
Accommodation (changes one`s view to better match reality)
-creation of new scheme or alteration of existing scheme to cope with information that does not fit (i.e. babies trying to grab a beach ball) ASSIMILATION---->ACCOMMODATION
Equilibrium: the process by which children (and adults) balance assimilation and accommodation to create a stable understanding
Sources of Continuity/Discontinuity: Progressive Changes in Cognitive Structures
Quality of thinking is tied to age range
When qualitative change occurs, the infant/child enters a new stage of development
Invariant (it needs to pass through them; cannot skip) developmental sequence:
Birth to age 2
Build newborn reflexes (sucking, rooting, etc) into symbolic activity
-marked by an increase in complexity of cognitive activity
-only a marker
>>sequential rather than age defined
Understanding that objects exist independent of our ability to perceive them
Sub-stage 1 (1-4 months)
>>``out of sight, out of mind``
Sub-stage 2 (4-8 months)
>>search for partially concealed objects
Sub-stage 3 (8-12 months)
>>search for concealed objects
Show the infant an attractive toy
Hide the toy under one of two cloths (A)
Then move toy to the other cloth (B) as infant watches
Allow the infant to choose and they will choose A, where they found the object previously
Physical behavior determines where the object will be found (because the infant has not physically moved it themselves; they have not mastered it>>Piaget`s belief)
Sub-stage 6 (last sub-stage)
-master object permanence
Challenges to Piaget`s Conception of Infancy
-idea that much of cognitive knowledge is innate, requiring little specific experiences to be expressed
Critique of Piaget: Object Permanence
-The habituation/dis-habituation paradigm
-Possible vs. Impossible event
-Infants showed more interest in impossible event (they looked longer because they found it more interesting; had core-knowledge of properties and they knew that objects cannot pass through one another)
-Object permanence evident at 3 and a half months
Emphasize the sophistication of infants` and young children`s thinking in areas that have been important throughout human evolutionary history
Two characteristic features of research inspired by core-knowledge theories:
-focuses on areas that have been important throughout human evolutionary history
-young children reason in ways that considerably more advanced than Piaget suggested were possible
A. View of Children`s Nature
Like Piagetian and information-processing theories, core-knowledge theories depict children as active learners, constantly striving to solve problems and to organize their understanding into coherent wholes.
However, core-knowledge theorists view children as entering the world with specialized learning abilities that allow them to quickly and effortlessly acquire information of evolutionary importance.
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 (if you can symbolically represent, you can use language)
-one major limitation is EGOCENTRISM, the tendency to perceive the world solely from one`s own point of view ( it is hard for children to put themselves in someone else`s shoes; hard to co-ordinate, which makes it a cognitive limitation)
-in this stage children are on their own
-Egocentrism: difficulty recognizing another`s perspective, NOT that the child was unconcerned with others`points of view
A related limitation is CENTRATION, the tendency to focus on a single, perceptually striking feature of an object or event
>>>Three-mountain Problem (Piaget`s theory too complicated)
- in this task children choose their own view and say what they see from it
-more distinctive models
-changed method of response
-found that 3 years olds could identify correct perspectives (children tend to choose the most salient)
-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
Current research has revealed: often children show conservation if familiar objects are used (i.e. smarties)
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
Inhelder and Piaget`s Pendulum Problem
-compare the motions of longer and shorter strings, with lighter and heavier weights attached, in order to determine the influence of weight, string length, and dropping point on the time it takes for the pendulum to swing back and forth
-children below age 12 usually preform unsystematic experiments and draw incorrect conclusions
Formal Operations Stage (thinking abstractly)
-Cognitive development culminates in the ability to think abstractly and to reason hypothetically
-Individuals can imagine alternative words and reason systematically about all possible outcomes of a situation
For example, ``if all blue people live in red houses, are all people who live in red houses blue?``
Although Piaget`s theory remains highly influential, some weaknesses are now apparent
-infants and young children are more cognitively competent than Piaget recognized
-Piaget`s theory understates the contribution of the social world to cognitive development ( he did not explain mechanisms of change)
-Piaget`s theory is vague about the cognitive processes that give rise to children`s thinking and about the mechanisms that produce the cognitive growth
Information-Processing Theories: View of Children`s Nature
Information-processing theorists view children as undergoing continuous cognitive change
The term continuous applies in two senses:
-important changes are viewed as constantly occurring, rather than being restricted to special transition periods between stages
-cognitive growth is viewed as typically occurring in small increments rather than abruptly
1. The Child as a Limited-Capacity Processing System
Underlying many information-processing theories is the metaphor of the child as a computation system
Cognitive development arises from children`s gradually surmounting their processing limitations through:
-increasing efficient execution of basic processes
-expanding memory capacity
-acquisition of new strategies and knowledge
2. The Child as Problem Solver
The assumption that children are active problem solvers is central to information-processing theories
Problem solving involves a goal, a perceived obstacle, and a strategy or a rule
Children`s cognitive flexibility helps them pursue their goals
Processing Speed (absorb information faster and deal with more at any given time)
The speed with which children execute basic processes increases greatly over the course of childhood
Biological maturation and experience contribute to increased processing speed
-Two biological processes that contribute to faster processing are MYELINATION and INCREASED CONNECTIVITY among brain regions
-increase speed of processing with age ( age does matter when looking at how quick one can process information)
Sociocultural Theories & Approaches
-Focus on the contribution of other people and the surrounding culture to children`s development
-Emphasize GUIDED PARTICIPATION, more knowledgeable individuals organize activities in ways that allow less knowledgeable people to engage in them at a higher level
-CULTURAL TOOLS, the innumerable products of human ingenuity that enhance thinking (i.e. symbol system, skills, and values)
-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 diffrent from Piaget`s
-presents children as social beings, intertwined with other people who are eager to help them gain skills and understanding
-viewed development as continuous, with change as quantitative rather than qualitative
-Vygotsky viewed thought as internalized speech
>>first children`s behavior is controlled by other people`s statements
>>private speech is the 2nd phase of Vygotsky`s internalization-of-thought process, in which children develop their self-regulation and problem-solving abilities by telling themselves what to do
>>children as products of their culture
-sociocultural theorists believe that many of the processes that produce development are the same in all societies however, the content that children learn vary greatly from culture to culture
Vygotsky: Tools of Intellectual Adaptation
-Infants born with a few elementary mental functions: attention, sensation, perception and memory
-these are transformed into more sophisticated mental processes he called `higher mental functions`
Number Naming System
English: rote memory 1-10
English: 11-20 not as systematic
Chinese: rote memory 1-10
Chinese: systematic from 11 and on
Miller et al., (1995) reasoned that differences in the number-naming systems between English and Chinese might be associated with early mathematical competence (specifically counting)
-Twelve or two-teen?
The mutual understanding that people share during communication
-serves as the foundation of human cognitive development
-JOINT ATTENTION: a process in which social partners intentionally focus on a common referent in the external environment (ability to understand your partner; attention is shared)
-more competent people provide a temporary framework that supports children`s thinking at a higher level than children could manage on their own
-the quality of scaffolding that people provide tends to increase as people become older and gain experience
Scaffolding and Autobiographical Memory
-autobiographical memories are explicit memories of events that took place at specific times and places in the individuals past
-when discussing past experiences with their young children, some parents encourage them to provide many details about past events and often expand on the children`s statements
DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE AND SYMBOL USE: Symbols
-systems for representing thoughts, feelings, and knowledge and communicating them to others
-the creative and flexible use of symbols is the capacity that sets humans apart from other species
1. Language Development
-By 5 years of age, children have mastered the basic structure of their native language, whether spoken or manually signed (vocab and ideas are smaller/less complex)
2. Non-linguistic Symbols and Development
Using language involves:
-Language comprehension: refers to understanding what others say (sign or write)
-Language production: refers to actually speaking (sighing or writing) to others
The Components of Language
Generativity: using the finite set of words in our vocabulary, we can put together an infinite number of sentences and express an infinite number of ideas
Required Competencies for Learning Language
-Phonological development: the acquisition of knowledge about phonemes, the elementary units of sound that distinguish meaning
-Semantic development: learning the system for expressing meaning in a language, beginning with morphemes, the smallest unit of meaning in a language
-Syntactic development: learning the syntax or rules for combining words
-Pragmatic development: acquiring knowledge of how language is used, which includes understanding a variety of conversational conventions
Phonology: System of sounds
Phonemes: Basic units of sound; can change meaning (changing the sound of a word, changes its meaning)
>>for example, /b/at---->/c/at....b/a/t--->b/i/t
-English contains between 40-45 phonemes
Morphemes: the smallest units of speech that are meaningful (e.g., dog and happy)
-free morphemes: dog (own meaning)
-bound morphemes: -s or re (add this in the end of the word and therefore changes meaning of the word)
Syntax: the set of rules of language by which we construct sentences
1. Rules for word combinations
2. Garfield Odie bit
3. Garfield bit Odie
4. Odie bit Garfield
-using language to communicate effectively
-nonverbal aspects (i.e., facial expression, body language)
-paralinguistic aspects (i.e., loudness and intonation)
-Adults, unlike young children, also have some understanding of the properties and function of language (metalinguistic knowledge)
-An example of metalinguistic knowledge is knowing that only certain word combinations are acceptable as sentences.
What is Required for Language?
-What does it take to be able to learn a language in the first place?
-Full-fledged language is achieved only by humans, but only if they have experience with other humans using language for communication
A Human Brain
The key to full-fledged language development is in the human brain:
-Language is a species-specific behavior-only humans acquire a communication system with the complexity, structure, and generativity of language
-Language is also species-universal-virtually all humans develop language
-Although some non-human primates have been trained to use signs or other symbols after concentrated effect by humans, there appears to be little evidence that they have acquired syntax
Language processing involves a substantial degree of functional localization in the brain
-the LEFT HEMISPHERE (where language is processed) shows some specialization for language in infancy, although the degree of hemispheric specialization for language increases with age.
Studies of individuals with brain damage resulting in aphasia provide evidence of specialization for language within the left hemisphere
-damage to the BROCA`S AREA, near the motor cortex, is associated with difficulties in producing speech (they can understand language however)
-damage to WERNICKE`S AREA, which is near the auditory cortex, is linked to difficulties with meaning (however, they can speak)
Critical Period for Language Development
To learn language, children must also be exposed to other people using language-spoken or signed (need to engage in language)
Sometime between age 5 and puberty, language acquisition becomes much more difficult and ultimately less successful
Critical (sensitive) Period
-time when child is sensitive to particular stimuli
>>``Wild boy of Aveyron`` or Victor- he was discovered at 11 or 12 years of age
>>``Genie``- she was discovered at 13 years of age; she never learned speech beyond a 2-3 year old; she was in solitary confinement for about 13 years (isolated); sign-language was successful for her, but not verbal
They are better at cognitively inhibiting themselves (suppressing one language, while using another)
-more than half of the world`s children are exposed to more than one language
-children who are acquiring two languages do not seem to confuse them
-they may initially lag behind monolingual children, although the course and rate of development for children learning one and two languages are similar
-Bilingual children perform better on a variety of cognitive tests than do monolingual children
-hence, the advantages of acquiring two languages outweigh the minor disadvantages
Test of the Critical-Period Hypothesis
-Performance on a test of English grammar by adults originally from Korea and China was directly related to age at which they came to the US and were exposed to English
-The scores of adults who emigrated before the age of 7 are indistinguishable from those of native English speakers (meaning the older you become, the more challenging it is to learn a language)
A Human Environment
-Infant-directed talk (IDT) is the distinctive mode of speech that adults adopt when talking to babies and very young children (a slower speech; babies like this type of speech)
-It is common throughout the world, but it is not universal
-Its characteristics include a warm and affectionate tone, high pitch, extreme intonation, and slower speech accompanied by exaggerated facial expressions
-Infants prefer IDT to speech directed to adults
The Process of Language Acquisition
-Acquiring a language involves both comprehending what other people communicate to you and producing language of your own.
-Infants know a great deal about language long before their linguistic productions
Categorical Perception of Speech Sounds
-Both adults and infants possess categorical perception of speech sounds (the perception of speech sounds as belonging to discrete categories)
-The two phonemes /b/ and /p/ occur along an acoustic continuum except that they differ in voice onset time (VOT)-the length of time between when air passes through the lips and when the vocal cords start vibrating
Categorical Perception of Speech by Adults
-When adults listen to a tape of artificial speech sounds that gradually change from one sound to another, such as /ba/ to /pa/ or vice versa, they suddenly switch from perceiving one sound to perceiving the other
Categorical Perception of Speech by Infants
-the baby has learned to turn his head to the sound source whenever he hears a change from one sound to another
-a correct head turn is rewarded by en exciting visual display, as well as by the applause and praise of the experimenter
Developmental Changes in Speech Perception
-Infants`ability to discriminate between speech sounds not in their native language declines between 6 and 12 months of age
-6 month olds from English speaking families readily discriminate between syllables in Hindi and Nthlakapmx, but 10-12 month olds do not
Sensitivity to Regularities in Speech
-in addition to focusing on the speech sounds that are used in their native language, infants become increasingly sensitive to many of the numerous regularities in that language
Stress Patterns: an element of prosody
Distributional properties: in any language, certain sounds are more likely to appear together than are others
Their own name: as early as 5 months they show the ``cocktail party effect``
-Sometime between 6 and 10 months of age, infants begin to babble by repeating strings of sounds comprising a consonant followed by a vowel
-a key component of the development of babbling is receiving feedback about the sounds one is producing
-congenitally dead babies`vocal babbling occurs late and is very limited, unless they are exposed to sign language, in which case they produce repetitions of hand movements that are components of ASL signs in a manner analogous to vocal babbling among hearing infants
-As infants`babbling becomes more varied, it conforms more to the sounds, rhythm, and intonation patterns of the language they hear daily
-Babies who are exposed to the sign language of their deaf parents engage in `silent babbling`
-A subset of their hand movements differ from those of infants exposed to spoken language in that their slower rhythm corresponds to the rhythmic patterning of adult sign
Even before infants start speaking, they develop interactive routines similar to those required in the use of language for communication
-Turn taking: apparent in simple games like ``Give and Take``
-Intersubjectivity:the sharing of a common focus of attention by two or more people
-Joint Attention: established when the baby and the parent are looking at and reacting to the same thing in the world around them
-Pointing: helps establish joint attention among infants older than 9 months of age, and by age 2, children use pointing to deliberately direct the attention of another person
-infants recognize words, then comprehend them, then begin to produce some of the words they have learned
-by 5 months of age, infants can pick their own name out of background conversations
-at 7 to 8 months of age, infants readily learn to recognize new words and remember them for weeks
>>in general, infants are better able to identify words when they are listening to IDT
The Problem of Reference
-Once infants can recognize recurrent units from the speech they hear, they must address the problem of reference, the associating of words and meaning
-Infants may begin associating highly familiar words and referents by 6 months of age
-By 10 months, children in the US have comprehension vocabularies of about 11-154 words
-rapid increase in vocabulary at about 1 and a half years
-by 2 years-900 words
-by 6 years-8000 words
What Kinds of Words do Children Learn First?
-Mothers diarized first 50 words learned
-Majority were general or specific nominals
-Challenge assumption that
Errors in Early Word Use
-use of one word for many things
-ex: ball= ball, balloon, marble, apple, spherical water tank
-moon= moon, lemon slice, circular chrome dial on dishwasher, half a cheerio
-use of single word for a very specific thing
-ex: infants calling every man they see ``daddy``
-car for father`s black Volkswagen and truck for any other automobile including mother`s white Civic
Adult Influences on Word Learning
-A spurt in vocabulary growth typically occurs at around 19 months, although there is great variability
The rate of vocabulary development is influenced by the sheer amount of talk that they hear
-Caregivers play an important role in word learning by placing stress on new words and saying them in the final position in a sentence, by labeling objects that are already in the child`s attention, and by playing naming games
-Repeating words also helps children acquire them
One Word at a Time: The Holophrastic Period
Holophrase: single word that seems to represent thought or idea (ex. ``down`` or ``me``)
-``down!`` vs. ``down?`` vs. ``down.``
-lessons in communicative competence
Meaning from Context
-Children use PRAGMATIC CUES, aspects of the social context used for word learning
-These include the adult`s focus of attention and intentionality
-Children also use the linguistic context in which novel words appear to help infer their meaning
is a strategy in which children use the grammatical structure of whole sentences to figure out meaning
Pragmatic Cues- Holophrases to Simple Sentences: The Telegraphic Period
Telegraphic Speech- two word utterances with content rather than function words
-exceptions include no, you, more, off
-varies in meaning according to context
-agent+action----> mommy come; daddy sit
-action+object----> drive car; eat grape
-agent+object-----> mommy sock; baby book
-entity+location----> go park; sit chair
-possessor+possession----> my teddy; mommy dress
-entity+attribute----> box shiny; crayon big
-demonstrative+entity----> dat money; dis telephone
-Much of very young children`s speech is directed towards themselves
-the content of each child`s turn
C. Current Theoretical Issues in Language Development
1. Nativist Views
-Maintains that using a language requires
a set of highly abstract, unconscious rules -
that is innate and common to all languages
-Argues that the cognitive abilities that support language development are highly specific to language
-A very strong statement of this assumption, the
, proposes that the human brain contains an innate, self-contained language module that is separate from other aspects of cognitive functioning.
-Evidence for this position is provided by the universal and species-specific nature of language, and by observations of invented sign language among groups of deaf children that imposes grammatical structure onto simple signs.
-The approach is criticized for focusing almost exclusively on syntax and ignoring the communicative role of language.
Nativist Views Con`t
-Noam Chomsky (1968)
-Language Acquisition Device (LAD)-theoretical tool to explain an in-nate device
-Innate language hypotheses
-Language as system of abstract rules
-Set of common principles
-Words formed by combining a small set of sounds
-"Sentences" formed by combining words
>>e.g., subject-predicate relationship
-Support for nativist perspective
-Children receive fragmented and incomplete input
-Innate language hypotheses
-Language as system of abstract rules
2. Interactionist Views
-Maintains that virtually everything about language development is influenced by its communicative function.
-Suggests the basic fact that the main purpose to which infants and young children apply their steadily increasing language skills is communicating with other people.
-Environmental supports for language development
-Joint activities with caregivers
>>Social turn taking
-Environmental supports for language development
-Joint activities with caregivers
-Response to ungrammatical speech
>>CHILD: Daddy juice
>>MOTHER: Daddy drinks juice
>>CHILD: My ball
>>ADULT: Here is your ball
-Environmental supports for language development (cont'd)
-Child-directed speech:is slow, high pitched, exaggerated, repetitive, simplified
-Helps learning of different aspects of language
II. Nonlinguistic Symbols and Development: Using Symbols as Information
-Involves the mastery of the symbolic creations of others and the creation of new symbolic representations
-To use symbolic artifacts like maps, children must have acquired dual representation, which is the understanding that the artifact is represented mentally in two ways at the same time, both as a real object and as a symbol for something other than itself.
-Very young children have great difficulty with dual representation, as demonstrated in tasks in which a child is asked to use a scale model to locate a hidden toy in a room.
>>Although 3-year-olds typically succeed in such tasks, 2 ½ year olds rarely do.
>>However, if it is not necessary to form a symbol-referent relationship between the model and the room, as was the case when children were led to believe that the room had been shrunk, young preschoolers can perform the task.
Scale Model Task
-In a test of young children's ability to use a symbol as a source of information, a 3-year-old child watches as the experimenter (Judy DeLoache) hides a miniature troll doll under a pillow in a scale model of an adjacent room.
-The child searches successfully for a larger troll doll hidden in the corresponding place in the actual room, indicating that she appreciates the relation between the model and room.
-The child also successfully retrieves the small toy she originally observed being hidden in the model.
CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT: Concepts
-General ideas or understandings that can be used to group together objects, events, qualities, or abstractions that are similar in some way
-Crucial for helping people make sense of the world
Perspectives on Concepts
-Nativists argue that innate understanding of concepts plays a central role in development (very little understanding)
-Empiricists argue that concepts arise from basic learning mechanisms (you need experience)
Understanding Who or What
A. Dividing Objects into Categories
B. Knowledge of Other People and Oneself
C. Knowledge of Living Things
Dividing the objects children encounter in the world into categories helps children answer two questions:
-What kinds of things are there in the world?
-How are those things related to each other?
A. Dividing Objects into Categories
Beginning early in development, children attempt to understand what kinds of things there are in the world by dividing the objects they perceives in three general categories:
A major way in which children form categories to figure out how things in the world are related to one another is by dividing objects into category hierarchies (i.e., categories related by set-subset relations).
Object Hierarchies: 1. Categorization of Objects in Infancy
-Infants form categories of objects in the first months of life.
-A key element in infants' thinking is perceptual categorization, the grouping together of objects that have similar appearances.
>>Infants categorize objects along many perceptual dimensions, including color, size, and movement.
>>Often their categorizations are based on parts of objects rather then on the object as a whole.
-As children approach their second birthday, they increasingly categorize objects on the basis of overall shape.
-At the same time, they also form categories on the basis of function, and can use their knowledge of categories to determine which actions go with which type of objects
2. Categorization of Objects Beyond Infancy
-As children move beyond infancy, their ability to categorize expands greatly.
Two of the most important trends:
-increasing understanding of category hierarchies
-increasing understanding of causal connections
>>both involve knowledge of relations among categories
Often include three main levels:
-a general one, the superordinate level (e.g., PLANT)
-a very specific one, the subordinate level (e.g., OAK)
-one in between, the basic level (e.g., TREE)
Children usually learn the basic level category first, because objects at this level share many common characteristics (unlike superordinate level categories), and because category members are relatively easy to discriminate (unlike those in subordinate level categories).
Casual Understanding and Categorization
-Understanding causal relations - why objects are the way they are - helps children learn and remember new categories (the more children that understand the cause, the better they are at understanding)
-Hearing that "wugs" are well prepared to fight and "gillies" to flee helped preschoolers categorize novel pictures like these as "wugs" or "gillies."
Knowledge of Other People and Oneself
-Children as young as 3 have a naive psychology, a commonsense level of understanding of other people and oneself
-At the center of naive psychology are two concepts that people commonly use to understand human behavior: desires and beliefs
Three Properties of Naive Psychological Concepts
1. They refer to invisible mental states (knowing the intentions of others)
2. The concepts are all linked to each other in cause-effect relations
3. They develop early in life
1. Infants` Naive Psychology
-Infants think about other people in terms of invisible constructs by 1 year of age and possibly earlier.
In the first half of the second year, toddlers begin to show a grasp of several ideas that are crucial for psychological understanding:
-Intention: the goal of acting in a certain way
-Joint attention: in which two or more people focus deliberately on the same referent
-Intersubjectivity: the mutual understanding that people share during communication
2. Development Beyond Infancy
-A theory of mind is a well-organized understanding of how the mind works and how it influences behavior.
-Two-year-olds: understand the connection between other people's desires and their specific actions, but show little understanding that beliefs are also influential
-Three-year-olds: understand that desires and beliefs affect behavior, but have difficulty with
(i.e., tasks that test a child's understanding that other people will act in accord with their own beliefs even when the child knows that these beliefs are incorrect)
-Five-year-olds: find false-belief problems very easy
Testing Children`s Theory of Mind
-The Smarties task is frequently used to study preschoolers' understanding of false beliefs.
-Most 3-year-olds answer like the child in the cartoon, which suggests a lack of understanding that people's actions are based on their own beliefs, even when those beliefs deviate from what the child knows to be true.
-The false belief test across cultures
Explaining the Development of Theory of Mind
1.There is a theory-of-mind module (TOMM), a hypothesized brain mechanism devoted to understanding other human beings.
2.Interactions with other people are crucial for developing theory of mind.
3.General information-processing skills are necessary for children to understand people's minds.
All three explanations have merit
Autism and False-Belief Tasks
-Children with autism continue to find false-belief tasks very difficult to solve even when they are teenagers.
-They have trouble establishing joint attention with other people and show less distress than other children when other people appear distressed.
-Their poor language skills further limit their opportunities to learn about others' thoughts and feelings.
-The understanding that beliefs affect behavior eludes them, even in comparison to children with mental retardation and to deaf children who acquire sign language late in development.
-This pattern of findings suggests that children with autism have impaired "mind reading mechanisms," and that this deficit interferes with many aspects of their social functioning.
The Growth of Play
-Pretend play: Make-believe activities in which children create new symbolic relations, emerges at about 18 months of age.
>>Includes object substitution, a form of pretense in which an object is used as something other than itself.
-Sociodramatic play: Activities in which children enact mini-dramas with other children or adults, emerges at about 30 months.
>>Young children's fantasy play not only reflects their understanding of other people's psychological functioning but can also cause increases in such understanding.
>>By the elementary school years, play becomes more complex and social, and includes activities such as sports with conventional rules.
Taylor (1999) found that as many as 63% of the children she interviewed at ages 3-4 and again at 7-8 have imaginary companions at one or both ages.
-Imaginary friends included ordinary but invisible children as well as fanciful creatures.
Children with imaginary companions do not differ
from those who do not have such fantasy companions with regard to personality or intelligence.
-They are more likely, however, to be firstborn or only children; to watch relatively little television; to be verbally skillful; and to have advanced theories of mind.
-Imaginary companions are used not only for enjoyment but also to deflect blame.
1. Distinguishing People from Nonliving Things
-Task used by Poulin-Dubois (1999) to study infants' reactions when they see people and inanimate objects (in this case a robot) engaging in the same action.
-Both 9- and 12-month-olds show surprise when they see inanimate objects move on their own, suggesting that they understand that self-produced motion is a distinctive characteristic of people and other animals.
Understanding Biological Processes: Inheritance
Preschoolers know that physical characteristics tend to be passed on from parent to offspring, and that certain aspects of development are controlled by heredity rather than environment.
-At times their belief in inheritance is too strong, and they deny the influence of the environment (e.g., younger children believe that gender differences in play preferences are due totally to heredity).
How do Children Acquire Biological Knowledge
Nativists and empiricists have very different ideas regarding the growth of children's biological standing.
-Nativists: people are born with a biology module
-Empiricists: children's biological understanding comes from their personal observations and from information they receive from other people and from other people and their culture
-Children`s biological understanding reflects the views of their culture
-Japan 5 year olds more likely than their peers in the US and Israel to believe that non-living plants are able to feel physical sensations (i.e., pain & cold)
Understanding Where, When and How Many
-Making sense out of our experiences requires accurately representing not only who or what was involved in an event, but also where, when, why, and how often the event occurred.
-Understanding of space, time, causality and number begin to develop in the first year after birth, but major improvements continue throughout childhood and adolescence.
-Both nativists and empiricists agree that certain parts of the brain are specialized for coding particular types of spatial information.
-Both sides of the brain are involved in spatial thinking, although the right and left sides differ with regard to the types of spatial information they most actively process.
-People code space both relative to themselves and relative to the external environment.
Representing Space Relative to Oneself
According to Piaget, the only spatial representations
possible during the sensorimotor period are
-The location of objects are coded relative to the infants' position when they learned the location.
seems to play a large part in helping infants acquire a sense of space independent of their own location, because crawling or walking requires a continuous updating of one's location.
-Illustrates the fundamental interconnection between the
systems that produce self-generated motion through space
and those that produce mental representations of space.
Representing Space Relative to the External Environment
-Children use landmarks as early as 6 months of age, and by age 5 they can represent an object's position in relation to multiple landmarks.
-The degree to which people develop spatial skills is strongly influenced by the importance of these skills in their culture.
Nativists and empiricists disagree about the origins of the understanding of physical causes.
-Nativisits argue that infants possess an innate causal module or core theory.
-Empiricists propose that infants' repeated observations of the environment produce causal understanding.
1. Casual Reasoning in Infancy
-By 6 months of life, infants perceive causal connections among some physical events, such as those involving collisions (an object hitting another object; dis-habituate meaning that they are surprised)
-Imitating Sequences of Events
2. Development of Casual Reasoning Beyond Infancy
A common theme that characterizes many particular developments in the understanding of causality beyond infancy is the continuous expansion of children's ability to identify causal relations even when the causes are not immediately apparent.
-Older toddlers out-perform younger toddlers, for example, in understanding causal relations between tools' features and their likely success for pulling in the tool.
-Over the next few years, children begin to search actively for hidden causes when no cause is visible.
Toddlers Problem Solving
-Choosing the right tool for getting the toy required children to understand the importance of both the length of the shaft and the angle of the head on the shaft.
-Older toddlers' greater understanding of these causal relations led them to more often use tools, rather than just reaching for the toy, and to more often choose the right tool
for the task.
The nativist/empiricist debate is also in play with regard to the concept of number.
-Nativists argue that children are born with a core concept of number.
-Empiricists argue that children learn about numbers through the same types of experiences and learning mechanisms that help them acquire other concepts.
1. Numerical Equality
Perhaps the most basic numerical understanding is that of numerical equality, the realization that all sets of N objects have something in common.
-Infants as young as 5 months appear to have such a sense of numerical equality, at least as it applies to sets of 1, 2, or 3 objects.
-In addition, infants possess an approximate sense of larger numbers.
-It is not until 3 or 4 years of age, however, that children show precise representation of sets even slightly larger than 3.
2. Infants Arithmetic
-In certain experiments, infants show surprise
when the objects are added or subtracted behind a screen and then the screen is removed to reveal the wrong number of objects.
-infants looked longer at the impossible event, suggesting that they were more surprised at seeing one doll over two
Infants Understanding of Addition
-The experimental findings have not always been replicated, and the fact that infants' competence is limited at best to small sets of objects has led some researchers to conclude that the infants' competence reflects perceptual rather than arithmetic processes.
-It has been argued that infants rely on
, a process by which adults and children can look at a few objects and almost immediately know how many objects are present.
-By age 3, most children can count to 10.
-Most preschoolers seem to understand the basic principles underlying counting, including one-to-one correspondence, stable order, cardinality, order irrelevance, and abstraction.
-Conceptual Counting Knowledge
-Counting Procedures (unusual but correct counting)
Although children all over the world learn number words, the rate at which they do so is affected by the system of number words in their culture.
-One reason for the faster development of Chinese children's counting ability appears to be that the Chinese words for numbers in the teens follow a consistent pattern, in contrast to the English words.
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