Berk * Chapter 5 - Gordon State College

Chapter 5
Cognitive Development – Piaget
Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental
• Schemes
– organized ways of making sense of experience
• Assimilation
– using current schemes to interpret the
external world
• Accommodation
– adjusting schemes or creating new ones when
current ways of thinking do not fit the
Motivation for Learning
• Cognitive equilibrium – a steady,
comfortable condition (more
• Cognitive disequilibrium – a state of
discomfort which creates a shift
toward accommodation
Stages of Cognitive
Concrete Operational
Formal Operational
Birth – 2 years
2-7 years
7-11 years
11 years onward
Sensorimotor Stage
• Reflexes
• Circular reactions – stumbling onto a
new experience caused by the baby’s
motor activity
– “circular” because the infant tries to
repeat the event again and again
Sensorimotor Stage –
Repeating Chance Behavior
• Newborn reflexes are the building
blocks of sensorimotor intelligence
• By repeating chance behaviors
(primary circular reactions), reflexes
come under voluntary control and
become simple motor habits
Sensorimotor Stage
• Primary Circular Reactions (Substages 1-2)
– Centers around the infant’s own bodily
• Secondary Circular Reactions (Substages 3-4)
– Manipulation of objects and people
• Tertiary Circular Reactions (Substages 5-6)
– Producing novel effects, experimental
Sensorimotor Substages
1) simple reflexes
2) 1st habits & primary circular reactions
3) secondary circular reactions
4) coordination of secondary circular
• 5) tertiary circular reactions & curiosity
• 6) internalization of schemes
The Sensorimotor Stage
Primary Circular Reactions
1 (birth to 1 mo.)
2 ( 1-4 mos.)
simple motor habits
3 (4-8 mos.)
4 (8-12 mos.)
repeating, imitation
5 (12-18 mos.)
6 (18-24 mos.)
mental depictions
Secondary Circular Reactions
Tertiary Circular Reactions
Sensorimotor Stage –
Intentional Behavior
• Substage 4 (8-12 months)
• Deliberately coordinating schemes to
reach a goal or solve a problem
• Object permanence – infants retrieve
hidden toys
• Anticipate and try to change events
Sensorimotor Stage –
Gaining Object Permanence
• Overall, search strategies improve during
the first year.
• Awareness of toy’s disappearance
(violation-of-expectations research
• Looks for toy by 8 months (Piaget)
• A-not-B search error
• Invisible displacement (finds toy
moved while out of sight)
Sensorimotor Stage
– More Recent Research
• Violation-of-expectation method – infants
look longer at an impossible than at a possible
• May reflect only infant’s perceptual
preferences or limited awareness
• Led to conclusions that infants understand,
explore earlier than Piaget believed, possibly
from birth
• Renee Baillargeon – possible events
• Carrot and screen study
• Train through the box study
End of Sensorimotor Stage
– Mental Representations
• Internal depictions of information
that the mind can manipulate
– Images
– Concepts (categories, groups)
– Sudden solutions rather than trial and
– Invisible displacement – finding a toy
moved while out of sight
– Deferred imitation
Mental Representations (Memory)
More Recent Research
• Piaget says 18 months; others say
8-month olds recall object
• Deferred imitation, present at 6
weeks (adult facial expression).
• 24-hour memory for activity board
objects among 6-9-month olds.
Sensorimotor Stage Evaluation
• Piaget’s perspective – Skills acquired
through learning, motor behavior
– Vs.
• Core knowledge perspective – babies
are born with innate knowledge
systems or prewired understandings
– Physical
– Linguistic
Pre –Operational Stage
The PreOperational Child
Is age 2-7
Has achieved object permanence
Initiates & explores
Uses mental representations &
symbols (language)
• Is not logical
During the Preoperational
Stage – ages 2-7
• The child will:
– Gain ability to reconstruct in thought
what is experienced in behavior
– Gain in ability to use symbols – words,
drawings, images
– Form stable concepts
– By the end of the stage show an emerging
capacity to reason
Preoperational Symbolic Function
• Egocentric
– – cannot take another’s point of view
– Three-mountains task
• Animistic
– – believe inanimate objects have lifelike
qualities such as wishes, feelings,
• Magical beliefs
– Show in drawings
Preoperational Intuitive Thought Substage
• Intuitive thought is a combination of primitive reason and
fast acquisition of knowledge.
• Cannot answer the question “what if?”
• Asks the question “why?” frequently.
• Begin to grasp functionality – that actions and outcomes are
related in fixed ways.
• Begin to grasp identity-the reality that some things do not
change (underlies conservation)
Piaget’s Preoperational
• Cannot conserve
– Unable to understand that certain
physical characteristics stay the same
even though outward appearance
changes (identity)
– Because of centration
• Unable to classify hierarchically
– Also lack reversibility
Conservation and Logic, cont.
Criticisms of Piaget’s PreOperational Stage
• They are not egocentric, the 3 mountains
task is the problem
• Animism is overestimated because Piaget
asked about objects like the moon with which
children have little experience
• They see magic as out of the ordinary, but
they do attribute lifelike qualities to dolls
and stuffed toys
Summary Criticism of
the First Two Stages
• Logic develops more gradually than
Piaget believed that it did
• The primary problem of Piaget’s
observations was complexity of the
Concrete Operational Stage
Concrete Operational Stage
• Piaget said that thought is more logical,
flexible and organized at ages 7-11.
• Terms for operations they can perform
Seriation (but not transitive inference)
Concrete Operational
• Children are logical only when dealing with
concrete information that they can
perceive directly.
• Example is a transitivity task compared to
a seriation task.
• Horizonal decalage – development within a
stage (working out the logic of each
problem separately)
Formal Operational Stage
Piaget –
Formal Operational Stage
• Starts at age 11 - 15
• Develop the capacity for abstract,
scientific thinking
Two Major Features
• Hypothetico-deductive reasoning
– Deduce hypotheses from theory
– Start with possibility and end with reality
– Piaget’s pendulum problem
• Propositional thought
– Algebra and geometry
Consequences of Abstract
Planning and indecision
– Imaginary audience
– Personal fable
Adolescent Egocentrism
• Imaginary audience
• Personal fable
– uniqueness
– destiny
– invincibility
Do all adults reach formal
• No, 40-60% of college students fail the formal
operations problems.
• People are most likely to reach it in subjects where
they have had experience.
• It may be a culturally transmitted way of thinking.
Piaget & Education
• Constructivist approach – set up
classroom for exploration and
• Let learning occur naturally, facilitate
• Consider the child’s knowledge & level
of thinking – sensitive to readiness,
accept individual differences
• Use ongoing assessment
Piaget and Education
• Too time-consuming to implement, requires
individual portfolios
• Educators have always ignored
developmental maturation; the system
makes it difficult to deal with
individual differences
Summary: Evaluating Piaget
• Still major cognitive theorist
• Criticisms
– Cognitive abilities emerge earlier than he thought
– Development more gradual, not as stagelike as he
– He ignored culture & education as factors

similar documents