Physical and motor development follows several biological principles:
Cephalocaudal principle: Reflects the tendency for development to proceed in a head-to-foot direction. (The head of an infant is disproportionately large because physical growth concentrates first on the head.)
Proximodistal principle: Development begins along the innermost parts of the body and continues toward the outermost parts. (Thus a fetus’s arms develop before the hands and fingers.)
Maturation: the genetically programmed biological process that governs our growth
Infants vary in the age at which they acquire particular skills
Sequence in which skills appear is typically the same across children
Physical Development The adolescent growth spurt can be seen by the rapid increase in height that occurs in males and females at the beginning of puberty. Source: Data from J.M. Tanner, R.H. Whitehouse, and M. Takaishi, “Standards from Birth to Maturity for Height, Weight, Height Velocity and Weight Velocity” in Archives of Diseases in Childhood , 41, 555-571, 1966. Height gain in centimeters per year Age in years 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
Piaget’s Stage Model proposed that children’s thinking changes qualitatively with age
Results from an interaction of the brain’s biological maturation and personal experiences
Schemas: organised patterns of thoughts and action
Development occurs as we acquire new schemas and as our existing schemas become more complex
Disequilibrium: an imbalance between existing schemas and new experiences
Assimilation: the process by which new experiences are incorporated into existing schemas
Accommodation: the process by which new experiences cause existing schemas to change
Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Stages Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1926- 1977) spent over 50 years exploring how a child’s thought processes develops. Stage Age (Years) Major Characteristics Sensorimotor Preoperational Concrete operational Formal operational Birth to 2 2 to 7 7 to 12 12 on
Infant understands world through sensory and motor experiences
Achieves object permanence
Exhibits emergence of symbolic thought
Child uses symbolic thinking in the form of words
and images to represent objects and experiences
Symbolic thinking enables child to engage in pretend play
Thinking displays egocentrism, irreversibility, and centration
Child can think logically about concrete events
Grasps concepts of conservation and serial ordering
Adolescent can think more logically, abstractly, and flexibly
Can form hypotheses and systematically test them
Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage (0 to 2 years)
Infants understand their world primarily through sensory experiences and physical (motor) interactions with objects.
Motor Skills are reflexive and voluntary, enables infants to explore the new world around them.
Neonates : Only capable of surprise, pleasure, and distress.
Infancy : Introduces further emotions of anger, shyness, and fear.
At 9 months : An infant will become anxious when separated from his or her caregiver.
By 2 years : Infants can display emotions of guilt or of being ashamed.
Object Permanence: the understanding that an object continues to exist even when it cannot be seen.
Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Preoperational Stage (2 to 7 years)
The world is represented symbolically through words and mental images; no understanding of basic mental operations or rules
Rapid language development
Understanding of the past and future
No understanding of Principle of Conservation: basic properties of objects stay the same even though their outward appearance may change
Cognitive Development: Piaget’s Concrete Operational (7 to 12 years)
Children can perform basic mental operations concerning problems that involve tangible (“concrete”) objects and situations
Understand the concept of reversibility
Display less egocentrism
Easily solve conservation problems
Trouble with hypothetical and abstract reasoning
This stage is characterised by 7 types of conservation:
number, length, liquid, mass, weight, area, and volume.