Chapter 6

Report
Chapter 6: Cognition in
Infants and Toddlers
MODULES
6.1 Piaget’s Theory
6.2 Information Processing
6.3 Language
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Module 6.1 Piaget’s Theory
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Describe how assimilation, accomodation, and equilibrium
explain the way that children’s thinking changes with age.
Explain how thinking becomes more advanced as infants
progress through the six substages of the sensorimotor
stage.
State some criticisms of Piaget’s account of cognitive
processes in infants and toddlers.
Explain the nature of young children’s naïve theories of
physics and biology.
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Basic Principles of
Piaget’s Theory
Schemas: organize experience.
Assimilation: incorporate new experiences
into existing schemas.
Accommodation: change schemas based
on experience.
Equilibration: reorganize schemas to return
to state of equilibrium.
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Piaget’s Sensorimotor
Stage
From birth to 2 years.
Begins with reflex action and ends with use
of symbols.
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Circular
Reactions are repetitive acts that help the
infant learn about the world.
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Evaluating Piaget’s Account of
Sensorimotor Thought
Other researchers
have found
alternative
explanations for
performance on
Piagetian tasks.
Object
permanence may
occur at a younger
age than Piaget
thought.
“Impossible” Event
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6-5
The Child as Theorist
Young children develop theories that organize
knowledge about properties of objects and
living things.
By 6 months, know that 1st object striking 2nd
object will cause 2nd to move.
Toddlers understand different properties of
animate and inanimate objects.
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Colliding Cylinders
Familiarization:
Medium cylinder collides with
bug.
Test with Large Cylinder:
Large cylinder collides with bug.
Test with Small Cylinder:
Small cylinder collides with bug.
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6-7
Results of Colliding Cylinder
Experiment
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6-8
Module 6.2 Information Processing
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Describe the basic characteristics of the
information processing approach.
Explain how infants learn and remember.
Identify what infants and toddlers
understand about number and about their
environments.
Summarize how intelligence is measured in
infants and toddlers.
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6-9
Basic Features of the
Information-Processing….
People and
computers are both
symbol processors.
Hardware: sensory,
working, and longterm memory.
Software is task
specific.
Components of Mental Hardware
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Learning
Habituation: diminished responding to a
stimulus as it becomes familiar.
Classical conditioning: neutral stimulus
elicits a response that was originally
produced by another stimulus.
Operant conditioning: focus on
consequences and reoccurrence of
behavior.
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Memory
Babies remember, forget, and can be
prompted to recall forgotten material.
Infantile amnesia: inability to
remember events from early in life (can
be explained by development of
language and sense of self).
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6-12
Understanding the World
Infants distinguish
quantities because
small quantities may be
perceptually obvious.
Infants have an
egocentric frame of
reference but will
develop and objective
frame of reference later.
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Test of Quantity
6-13
Individual Differences in
Ability
Individual differences are measured in mental
tests for infants and toddlers.
-Bayley Scales of Infant Development
Infant intelligence tests emphasize sensorimotor
skills and do not predict adult intelligence.
Habituation in infants is a better predictor of later
IQ.
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Module 6.3 Language
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
List when infants can hear and produce
basic speech sounds.
Describe what babbling is and how
children make the transition from
babbling to talking.
Identify the different styles of language
learning that young children use.
Explain how children learn new words.
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Perceiving Speech
Phonemes are sounds
that are the building
blocks of language.
Young babies can hear
phonemes, even those
not in their language.
Infant directed speech
(formerly known as
“motherese”) may help
children learn language.
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Infant Listening to Phonemes
6-16
First Steps to Speaking
2 months--cooing
5 or 6 months--babbling
7 or 8 months--babbling
includes intonation
Deaf children “babble”
in sign language.
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First Words
Infants understand
that words are
symbols.
Symbols represent
actions and objects.
Gestures are
symbols that
children start to use
around the time they
begin to talk.
6-17
Fast Mapping Meaning to Words
Children experience a
naming explosion around
18 months of age, rapidly
acquiring new words.
Joint attention, constraints
and sentence cues help
children fast map
meanings onto words.
Underextensions and
overextensions are 2
common naming errors.
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Boz Blocks
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Styles of Learning
Language
Referential style: vocabularies consist
mainly of words that name objects,
persons, or actions.
Expressive style: vocabularies include
many social phrases that are used as a
single word (e.g., “go-away,” “I-wantit”).
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Conclusions
Children construct their understanding of the world by
creating schemas, mental categories of related events,
objects and knowledge.
Infants are capable of learning, memory and forgetting.
Infants are capable of hearing phonemes and prefer infant
directed speech.
Onset of language is due to a child’s ability to interpret and
use symbols.
Some children use a referential style in learning words - a
means of learning and talking about objects while other
children with an expressive style use language as more of
a social tool.
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