Sigelman Chapter7 by gdDK26


									CHAPTER 7
               Learning Objectives
• What is cognition?
• How did Piaget define intelligence?
• According to Piaget’s theory, how do
    organization, adaptation, and disequilibrium
    function in the development of intelligence?
•   According to Piaget’s theory, what are the
    stages through which cognition develops?
• Cognition is the activity of knowing and the
  processes through which knowledge is
  acquired and problems are solved
• Humans are cognitive beings throughout the
  lifespan, but cognition changes in important
      Piaget’s Constructivist Approach
• Piaget noticed that children of the same age
  often made similar kinds of mental mistakes
   – Studied how children think, not just what
     they know
• Piaget’s initial studies were his naturalistic
  observations of his own infant children
• Piaget also used a clinical method, a flexible
  question-and-answer technique, to discover
  how children think about problems
Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – What Is
•   Piaget’s definition of intelligence: a basic life function
    that helps an organism adapt to its environment
•   Piaget viewed infants as active agents, learning
    about people and things by observing, investigating,
    and experimenting
•   Through exploration, the brain responds by creating
     – Cognitive structures – organized patterns of action
       or thought that people construct to interpret their
     – Rules or procedures that structure our cognition
  Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – How
        Does Intelligence Develop?
• Knowledge is created by building schemes
  from experiences using two inborn functions,
  organization and adaptation
  – Organization – existing schemes are
    systematically combined into new and
    complex schemes
  – Adaptation – process of adjusting to the
    demands of the environment that occurs
    through assimilation and accommodation
  Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – How
        Does Intelligence Develop?
• Adaptation
  – Assimilation – an adaptive process through
    which we interpret new experiences in
    terms of existing schemes or cognitive
     • Example: we have a scheme for dogs
      and fit our experience with a new animal
      into our existing scheme for dogs
  Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – How
        Does Intelligence Develop?
• Accommodation – an adaptive process of
 modifying existing schemes in order to better
 fit new experiences
  – Example: We have a scheme for dogs, but
    the animal we see is larger or barks in a
    different way, so we must change our
    scheme in order to account for the animal
     Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – How
             Does Intelligence Develop?
•   According to Piaget, cognitive conflict occurs
    when new events seriously challenge old
    schemes or prove our existing schemes to be
     – Stimulates cognitive growth
     – Motivated to reduce cognitive conflict
       through equilibration
        • Process of achieving mental stability so
          that our internal thoughts are consistent
          with the evidence in the external world
    Piaget’s Constructivist Approach – How
           Does Intelligence Develop?
•   Humans progress through four invariant
    stages of cognitive development
     – Sensorimotor stage: birth to approximately
       2 years of age
     – Preoperational stage: approximately 2-7
       years of age
     – Concrete operations stage: approximately
       7-11 years of age
     – Formal operations stage: approximately 11
       years of age and beyond
Caption: Process of change in Jean Piaget’s
              Learning Objectives
• What are the major achievements of the
    sensorimotor stage ?
•   How do infants progress toward these
                 The Infant
• Sensorimotor Stage
  – The world is understood through the
    senses and actions
  – The dominant cognitive structures are the
    behavioral schemes that develop through
    coordination of sensory information and
    motor responses
 The Infant – Substages of the Sensorimotor
• Reflexes – first month
  – Reflexive reaction to internal and external
• Primary circular reactions – 1-4 months
  – Infants repeat actions relating to their own
• Secondary circular reactions – 4-8 months
  – Repetitive actions involving something in
    the infant’s external environment
The Infant – Substages of the Sensorimotor
•   Coordination of secondary schemes – 8-12
     – Secondary actions are coordinated in order to
       achieve simple goals (i.e., pushing or
•   Tertiary circular reactions – 12-18 months
     – Experimentation; actions are repeated with
•   Beginning of thought – 18 months
     – Symbolic thought permits mental
       representation, imitation, and recall
    The Infant – The Development of Object
•   Object permanence develops during the sensorimotor
     – The understanding that objects continue to exist when
       they are not visible
         • From 4-8 months, “out of sight, out of mind”
         • By 8-12 months, make the A-not-B error
             – Infants will search for an object in the place they
               last found it (A), rather than in a new place (B)
         • By 1 year, A-not-B error is overcome, but continued
           trouble with invisible displacement
         • By 18 months, object permanence is mastered
             – The infant can mentally represent an invisible
               action (a toy is being hidden) and conceive of
               the object in its final location
    The Infant – The Development of Object
•   Research suggests that infants may develop at least
    some understanding of object permanence far earlier
    than Piaget believed
     – By 3 months, infants appear to understand that
       objects have qualities that should permit them to
       be visible when nothing obstructs them
     – Success on object permanence tasks also may be
       influenced by task conditions, such as the time
       interval between seeing something hidden and
       being able to search for it
•   Infants improve their looking and reaching skills
    between 8 and 12 months
•   By 24 months, infants can play complex hide-and-
    seek games
    The Infant – The Emergence of Symbols
• Symbolic capacity is the crowning
    achievement of the sensorimotor stage
     – Ability to use images, words, gestures to
       represent or stand for objects and
     – Can use internal behavioral schemes to
       construct mental symbols that can guide
       future behavior
•   By 24 months, children are deliberate
    thinkers with a symbolic capacity that lets
    them solve problems in their heads
              Learning Objective
• What are the characteristics and limitations of
  preoperational thought?
    The Child – The Preoperational Stage
• Symbolic capacity is the greatest cognitive
  strength of the preschooler
   – Can refer to past and future
   – Pretend or fantasy play flourishes
      • Can include imaginary companions
   – Focus on perceptual salience – the most
     obvious features of an object or a situation
     – means that preschoolers can be fooled
     by appearance
   – Have difficulty with tasks that require logic
      The Child – The Preoperational Stage
•   Reliance on perceptions and lack of logical
    thought means that children have difficulty with
     – The idea that certain properties of an object or
       substance do not change when its appearance
       is altered in a superficial way
     – Piaget’s conservation-of-liquid-quantity task
         • Children younger than 6 or 7 typically do
           not understand that the volume of liquid is
           conserved despite the change in the shape
           it takes in different containers
      The Child – The Preoperational Stage
•   Why do preschoolers have difficulty with the conservation
     – Unable to engage in decentration, the ability to focus on
       two or more dimensions of a problem at once
         • Preoperational thinkers engage in centration, the
           tendency to center attention on a single aspect of a
     – Preschoolers lack reversibility, the process of mentally
       undoing or reversing an action
     – Preoperational thinkers engage in static thought,
       thought that is fixed on end states rather than the
       changes that transform one state into another
         • They lack transformational thought, the ability to
           conceptualize transformations or processes of
           change from one state to another
   The Child – The Preoperational Stage
• Comparison of a preoperational thinkers and
  concrete-operational thinkers on the
  conservation task
  – Younger children do not understand
   conservation because they engage in
   centration, irreversible thought, and static
  – Older children understand conservation
   because they have mastered decentration,
   reversibility, and transformational thought
      The Child – The Preoperational Stage
•   Additional limitations of preoperational thinkers
     – Egocentrism
        • A tendency to view the world solely from one’s
          own perspective and to have difficulty
          recognizing other points of view
     – Difficulty with classification
        • Using criteria to sort objects on the basis of
          characteristics such as shape, color, function
        • Lack class inclusion, the ability to relate the
          whole class (furry animals) to its subclasses
          (dogs, cats)
             – The preoperational child does not understand
               that the subclasses are included within the
               whole class
Caption: A typical class inclusion problem in which
  children are asked whether there are more dogs or
  more animals in the picture
      The Child – The Preoperational Stage
•   Did Piaget underestimate the preschool child?
    – Researchers have used simple tasks to identify
      cognitive abilities
        • Gelman (1972) discovered that children as
          young as 3 have some grasp of the concept
          that a number remains the same even when
          items are rearranged spatially
        • Preschoolers may not be as egocentric as
          Piaget claimed
        • Preschool children seem to have more
          understanding of classification systems than
          Piaget believed
             Learning Objective
• What are the major characteristics and
  limitations of concrete-operational thought?
The Child – The Concrete-Operations Stage
•   Concrete operations involve mastering the logical
    operations missing in the preoperational stage
     – Conservation
        • The concrete-operational child can
          decenter and can use reversibility and
          transformational thought
     – Operational abilities evolve in predictable
        • Horizontal décalage – different cognitive
          skills related to the same stage of cognitive
          development emerge at different times
The Child – The Concrete-Operations Stage
     – Seriation enables the concrete-operational
       child to arrange items mentally along a
       quantifiable dimension such as weight or
     – Transitivity is the understanding of
       relationships among elements in a series
        • If John is taller than Mark, and Mark is taller
          than Sam, who is taller—John or Sam?
•   School-age children are less egocentric and are
    better at recognizing the perspectives of others
•   Classification abilities improve and subclasses
    are understood to be included in a whole class
Caption: Some
 common tests of
 the child’s ability
 to conserve
              Learning Objectives
• What are the main features of formal
    operational thought?
•   In what ways might adult thought be more
    advanced than adolescent thought?
    The Adolescent – The Formal-Operations
•   Formal operations are mental actions on ideas
     – More abstract than concrete operations
•   Formal operations permit systematic and scientific
    thinking about problems, hypothetical ideas, and
    abstract concepts
     – Piaget’s pendulum task illustrates the use of
       hypothetical-deductive reasoning
         • Involves reasoning from general ideas or rules
           to their specific implications
             – Forming hypotheses and systematically
               testing them through an experimental
    The Adolescent – The Formal-Operations
•   According to Piaget, the transition from concrete operations to
    formal operations takes place gradually over years
     – Adolescents may show an awareness of scientific reasoning but
        may not be able to produce logical scientific reasoning skills until
     – Intuitive and scientific reasoning coexist in older thinkers
          • Being able to shift between the two forms of reasoning
            provides flexibility in problem-solving situations
     – With age, adolescents are increasingly able to decontextualize,
        or separate prior knowledge and beliefs from the requirements
        of the task at hand
     – The achievement of formal-operational thinking depends on
        opportunities to learn scientific reasoning, as through exposure
        to math and science education
    The Adolescent – The Formal-Operations
•   Formal operations contribute to positive aspects of
    adolescent development.
     – Sense of identity, complex thinking, appreciation of
•   Formal operations contributes to not-so-positive
    aspects of adolescent development
     – Questioning can lead to confusion and to
       adolescent idealism and rebellion against ideas
       that are not logical
     – Can lead to adolescent egocentrism, difficult
       differentiating one’s own thoughts and feelings
       from those of other people
     The Adolescent – The Formal-Operations
•   Adolescent egocentrism can take two forms
      – Imaginary audience
          • The phenomenon of confusing one’s own thoughts with those of
            an hypothesized audience for your behavior
          • Characterized by self-consciousness
              – “They’re all thinking that I am a slob”
      – Personal fable
          • A tendency to think that you and your thoughts are unique
              – “You could never understand how I feel!”
              – Characterized by a sense of specialness
•   High scores on measures of adolescent egocentrism are associated with
    risky behavior
•   The self-consciousness and the sense of specialness are most evident in
    early adolescence and decline by late high school
•   However, adolescent egocentrism may persist when adolescents have
    insecure relationships with their parents
               Learning Objectives
• How do theories of postformal thought
    explain cognitive development in adulthood?
•   What happens to cognitive capacities in later
        The Adult – Limitations in Cognitive
•   Research has revealed limitations in adult cognitive
     – Only about half of all college students show firm
       and consistent mastery of formal operations on
       Piaget’s scientific reasoning tasks
     – Many American adults do not solve scientific
       problems at the formal level
     – There are some societies in which no adults solve
       formal-operational problems
•   Adults are likely to use formal operations in a field of
    expertise and to use concrete operations on unfamiliar
        The Adult – Growth Beyond Formal
•   Theorists have proposed two forms of postformal
    thought or ways of thinking that are more complex
    than formal operations
     – Relativistic thinking – understanding that
       knowledge depends upon its context and the
       subjective perspective of the knower
     – Dialectical thinking – detecting paradoxes and
       inconsistencies among ideas and trying to
       reconcile them
         • Advanced dialectical thinkers challenge and
           change their understanding of what
           constitutes “truth”
        The Adult – Aging and Cognitive Skills
•   Cross-sectional comparison studies have shown poorer
    cognitive performances by elderly individuals relative to young
    and middle-aged adults
•   The results should be interpreted with caution
     – Poorer performance could result from a cohort effect: older
       adults may have less formal education than the younger
     – Training can reactivate cognitive abilities
     – The tasks may not be relevant to older adults
     – Older adults may use modes of cognition that are useful in
       daily life but that are not helpful in laboratory tests
     – Cultural differences can affect older adults’ performances
•   Summary: an age-related decline in operational abilities has
    not been firmly established
    Piaget in Perspective – Piaget’s Contributions

• Piaget’s theory has stimulated much research
    and continues to guide the study of human
•   Piaget showed us that infants are active in their
    own development
•   Piaget showed us that infants and children think
    differently at each stage of development
•   Piaget’s account of the direction of cognitive
    development (sequence) was basically correct,
    even though cultural factors may influence the
    rate of cognitive growth
    Piaget in Perspective – Challenges to Piaget
•   Piaget seems to have underestimated the cognitive abilities of
    young minds
•   Piaget failed to distinguish between competence and
     – Overemphasized the idea that knowledge is an all-or-nothing
•   Piaget wrongly claimed that broad stages of development exist
     – That thinking within a stage is coherent or consistent and that
       transition between stages is swift and abrupt
•   Piaget failed to adequately explain development
     – Perhaps a better job of describing development than
       explaining development?
•   Piaget gave inadequate attention to the social influences upon
    cognitive development
    Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective
• Culture and society are pivotal in Vygotsky’s
   – Knowledge depends on social experiences
   – Cognitive development varies from society
     to society depending upon the mental tools
     such as language that the culture values
     and makes available
   – Children acquire mental tools through
     interaction with parents and other more
     experienced members of society and by
     adopting their language and knowledge
      Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective
•   Vygotsky’s ideas about how social interaction fosters
    cognitive children’s growth
     – Zone of proximal development
        • The gap between what a learner can accomplish
          independently and what she can accomplish
          with the guidance and encouragement of a more
          skilled partner
     – Guided participation
        • Children’s active participation in culturally
          relevant activities with the aid and support of
          parents and other knowledgeable guides
            – Parents provide scaffolding when they give
              structured help and gradually reduce the help
              as the child becomes more competent
     Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective
•   Vygotsky believed that mental activity is mediated
    by tools
     – Spoken language, writing, using numbers,
       applying problem-solving and memory strategies
•   Vygotsky argued that thought changes
    fundamentally once we begin to think in words
     – Private speech – speech to oneself that guides
       one’s thoughts and behavior
        • Helps children think their way through
          challenging problems
        • Allows them to incorporate into their own
          thinking the problem-solving strategies
          learned during collaborations with adults
  Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective –

• Vygotsky has been criticized for
 placing too much emphasis on social
 interaction and insufficient attention
 upon individual construction of
onstruction of

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