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  1. 1. Life-Span Development Twelfth EditionChapter 5:Cognitive Development in Infancy 1
  2. 2. Cognitive ProcessesPiaget proposed that we build mentalstructures that help us adapt to the world Adaptation involves adjusting to new environmental demandsPiaget stressed that children activelyconstruct their own cognitive worldsthrough interaction with the environmentSystematic changes in children’s thinkingoccur at different points in theirdevelopment 2
  3. 3. Cognitive ProcessesSchemes: actions or mental representationsthat 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 3
  4. 4. Cognitive ProcessesAssimilation: occurs when children usetheir existing schemes to deal with newinformation or experiencesAccommodation: occurs when childrenadjust their schemes to take newinformation and experiences into accountOrganization: the grouping of isolatedbehaviors and thoughts into a higher-ordersystem 4
  5. 5. Cognitive ProcessesEquilibration: the mechanism by whichchildren shift from one stage of thought tothe 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 5
  6. 6. Cognitive ProcessesAccording to Piaget, individuals go throughfour stages of development Cognition is qualitatively different from one stage to anotherSensorimotor Stage: infant cognitivedevelopment lasting from birth to 2 years Infants understand the world through their sensory experiences 6
  7. 7. Sensorimotor Substages• Tertiary Circular Reactions: marks the beginning ofhuman curiosity and novelty 7
  8. 8. Cognitive ProcessesObject Permanence: the understanding thatobjects continue to exist even when theycannot 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 8
  9. 9. Object Permanence 9
  10. 10. Conditioning and AttentionConditioning: Infants can learn through classical and operant conditioning Rovee-Collier (1997) demonstrated that infants can retain conditioning experiencesAttention: the focusing of mental resources onselect information Newborns can detect and fix their attention on contours 4-month-olds can scan more thoroughly and show selective attention 10
  11. 11. Conditioning and AttentionInfants’ attention is strongly governed by novelty andhabituation Habituation: decreased responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated presentations Dishabituation: increased responsiveness after a change in stimulationHabituation is studied to determine the extent to whichinfants can see, hear, smell, taste, and experience touchJoint Attention: individuals focus on the same object orevent 11
  12. 12. MemoryMemory: 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 12
  13. 13. MemoryImitation: Meltzoff: infants’ imitative abilities are biologically based and are characterized by flexibility and adaptabilityDeferred Imitation: imitation that occursafter a time delay of hours or days Piaget: deferred imitation does not occur until about 18 months Meltzoff: research suggests it can occur as 13 early as 9 months
  14. 14. 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 14
  15. 15. Predicting IntelligenceScores on infant tests are not highlycorrelated 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 adolescenceMany important changes in cognitivedevelopment take place after infancy 15
  16. 16. Language DevelopmentWild or feral children are raised in isolation and areunable to recapture normal language developmentdespite 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 languageLanguage: a form of communication – whetherspoken, written, or signed – that is based on asystem of symbols Infinite Generativity: the ability to produce an endless number of meaningful sentences using a finite set of words and rules 16
  17. 17. The Rule Systems of Language• Syntax:combining of words to form acceptablephrases and sentences 17
  18. 18. Language DevelopmentLanguage develops in infants throughoutthe world along a similar path and sequenceRecognizing language sounds With age, infants get better at perceiving the sounds in their own language and worse at distinguishing sounds in other languagesDetecting boundaries between words Occurs by about 8 months 18
  19. 19. Language DevelopmentBabbling and other vocalizations Crying Cooing BabblingGestures 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 19
  20. 20. Language DevelopmentVocabulary spurt begins at approximately18 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 (ie: “Want ice cream,” “fall down,” and “Mommy give drink” ) 20
  21. 21. Language Milestones in Infancy 21
  22. 22. Language DevelopmentBiological 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 22
  23. 23. Language DevelopmentBiological 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 23
  24. 24. Language DevelopmentEnvironmental Influences: Behaviorists claim language is a complex learned skill acquired through 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 24
  25. 25. Language DevelopmentChild-Directed Speech: . unique way that parents(and others) talk to babies Captures infant’s attention and maintains communication language spoken in a higher pitch than normal with simple words and sentencesThree strategies to enhance child’s acquisition oflanguage: Recasting: rephrasing something the child has said Expanding state: repeating what the child has said but in correct structure Labeling: identifying the names of objectsChildren vary in their ability to acquire language 25