Representation by ashrafp



Representation-how do children of different ages
represent their world? This is a question considered
both by Piagetians and information-processors.
   Mental representation through infancy- babies
    weren’t believed to be able to make symbolic
    representations until they are 18 – 24 mo. old.
    New research is disputing this concept, though.
       o Expressions of the symbolic function-
         symbolic function originates in sensorimotor
         operations. It’s expressed in a number of
             Deferred imitation means observing a
              model and imitating that behavior after
              some time. It requires symbolizing &
              storing a representation of a behavior in
             Language is obvious symbolizing, but
              simple two-word sentences don’t appear
              until 18 mo.
             Symbolic play means pretending, and
              even 18 mo. olds pretend what they’ve
             Mental imagery refers to any saved
              sensory images- internalized imitation.
Reproductive images refer to previously
experienced images.
Anticipatory images are transformations of an
image, possibly in novel ways. These images don’t
appear until concrete operational stage- 7 yrs. Old,
since preschoolers’ images are ikonic-perception-
bound, as opposed to school age children’s
representations being symbolic- using language to
represent events. So preschoolers can reason only
about literal properties of the stimulus, but older
children can see the problem in more abstract ways.
(Similar to the concept of the shift from verbatim to
fuzzy trace gists during childhood).
   What do infants know?
       o Neonatal imitation- invisible imitation
          (Piaget believed this wasn’t possible before
          12 mo. old, but babies as young as 6- to 21-
          days old have mimicked facial expressions.
          These imitations decline in the first year,
          however, indicating they may be reflexive.
          But the more advanced theory is:
             Active intermodal mapping- meaning
               that newborns have the ability to
               integrate information from two senses.
               There is some evidence of tactual-visual
               integration in infants as young as 1 mo.
             Innate releasing mechanisms are
               inherited sets of behaviors (reflexes)
         that are elicited by specific stimuli.
         Since every form of intelligence
         prepares us for later, more complex
         forms, early reflexes will drop out when
         more voluntary, controlled behaviors
         develop. But imitation does not seem to
         prepare us for any other behavior
         pattern. So maybe they merely reflect
         oral exploration. These behaviors aren’t
         needed later, as they can explore in
         more sophisticated ways later.
        Transient ontogenetic adaptations-
         the concept that babies live in a very
         different world than adults, and that
         world requires different neural
         organizations for coping. So these
         behaviors are specific to that time of
         development. Matching an adult’s facial
         expression may serve to keep the
         adult’s attention, producing bonding.
         Later the infant can voluntarily produce
         expressions independently. But it’s also
         true that babies develop a more social
         orientation around 2 mo. old, so they
         begin to play social games.
    Deferred imitation was not observed by
Piaget until 18 mo. old. But new experiments
have demonstrated this behavior in 12- to 14-
mo. babies. (Even as long as 5-weeks later for 9
mo. olds. Imitation is greater for older infants, as
well as length of memory.
    Knowledge of physical objects
     Object permanence is not displayed by
       most infants, as far as searching for a
       hidden object until 8 mo. But infants as
       young as 3.5 mo. seem to have greater
       knowledge of objects than Piaget’s task
       reveals. Since this task is physically
       impossible for younger infants, it is more
       effective to use looking time in
       habituation studies.
     Violation-of-expectation method -
       Baillargeon used habituation to assess
       what babies expect from the world-
       showing them possible vs. impossible
       events and assessing their looking time at
       impossible events to determine what they
       know to be impossible. Even 3.5 mo. old
       babies showed this violation of their
       expectation in increased looking time. So
       in the drawbridge-block experiment it
       suggests that the babies realized the block
       still existed, but somehow the drawbridge
       went through it anyway. Spelke
       demonstrated infants’ knowledge of
       properties of objects by manipulating the
        behavior of objects and revealing babies
        looked longer at objects that violated their
        beliefs. (Life article). They understand
        solidity, continuity of motion, support,
        collisions, cause-effect (the pushing
        effect) and containment.
       Early number concepts are shown by
        even 5-mo.-old babies detecting
        differences in numerosity- telling the
        difference between two arrays that differ
        in number of objects. But Karen Wynn
        used the violation-of-expectation method
        to show infants can add and subtract at a
        simple level. She did it by showing babies
        possible and impossible events regarding
        objects. These events involved adding-the
        right answer being displayed or not
        (impossible answer). They look a long
        time at the wrong answers, indicating not
        just logic but memory as they assess what
        should be the logical outcome.
           o Subitizing is what babies are doing-
             quantifying small numbers without
             conscious counting.

 What is infant cognition made of? Infants are
  given some basic skills in understanding their
  world, such as focusing on faces, which set them
     up for learning at a more sophisticated level as
     they progressively interact with the world. These
     innate structures are like tools that are best suited
     for certain skill development in specific contexts.
     This predisposition also allows babies to develop
     concepts (schema) that they use to categorize and
     understand new stimuli (Mandler’s experiments
     with babies discriminating the bird from the
     airplanes- understanding on some primitive level
     the difference in natural and manufactured items)
        o Representational persistence is the term
          given to a memory of an event. Some
          theorists believe this is only a first step
          toward full representational knowledge. So
          violation-of-expectation studies don’t fully
          explore representation in babies, but more
          likely show representational persistence.
The philosophical conflict is whether babies come
into the world with “innate knowledge” of how the
world works, or merely a set of basic mechanisms
that allow us to process perceptual information in a
meaningful way.

Learning to use symbols (stand-ins for the actual
thing- words, numbers, or images)
    Representational insight is the knowledge that
one thing can stand for something else. So at what
point do babies understand pictures or models as
representations of other things?

    Young children’s interpretation of pictures
     and models are studied through showing a child
     a model of a room with a toy shown clearly, then
     putting them in the room with the toy hidden in
     that location. If they can find the toy on the
     model, but not transfer that information to the
     real room, it indicates an inability to use the
     model as a symbolic representation. Three-year-
     olds can manage this task. Younger children
     can’t. Using pictures instead of the model, 2.5 yr.
     olds could manage it, but not 2 yr. olds.
     Dual representation (dual orientation)- the
answer to the differences in using a model or picture
as a representation have to do with dual
representation. A model is interesting as a stimuli in
itself, but a picture is less interesting- only valuable
as a representation. So if you make the model less
interesting, more concrete, children use it more
effectively. This was shown when the model was
viewed through a window, and 2.5 yr. olds were
better able to make use of it in the task. Likewise,
when 3 yr. olds were encouraged to play with the
model (making it more salient and interesting within
itself) it no longer functioned well as a
representation. (This explains why using an
anatomically correct doll to get child-abuse victims to
describe their molestation did not work with young
children. They could not transfer their concrete
experience to the doll- it was too salient and
interesting within itself.) With 2.5 yr. olds, the
concept was introduced that the room was being
shrunk to display the hidden toy. First they were
allowed to find the toy in the real room. Then the
room was “shrunken” and they saw the model with
the toy hidden. Then they reentered the room to find
the toy again and were very successful. The model
did not represent anything to them, it was the thing.
So it did not trigger dual representation - confusion.
So very young children cannot shift in seeing an
object as both a thing itself and a symbol (abstractly).
It takes 18 – 19 mo. for babies to understand a picture
represents another thing. Until then, they may try to
pick the object off the page, thinking it is on the page.

   The appearance/reality distinction takes
    awhile to develop. It requires interacting with
    objects to understand that not all things are as
    they seem. The liquid conservation tasks
    challenge this concept. Conservation means
    understanding that even if things seem different,
    if nothing has been added or taken away, they
    are the same.
  These properties come into understanding in a
  certain order: number, length, weight, volume.
  Once they have this understanding it reflects
  identity- a realization that an entity stays the same
  even if it looks different in some way. Object
  permanence is the first identity- 18 – 24 mo.
  Generic identity-Maynard the cat experiment
  shows that 3 yr. olds believed the qualities of the
  cat actually changed to those of a dog when
  Maynard was fitted with a dog mask. 5 – 6 yr. olds
  weren’t fooled. This very closely relates to 3 yr.
  olds confusion about gender constancy, since they
  believe if you dress a girl like a boy, she becomes a
  boy. (Loved the story about the little boy asking
  gramma to dress like papaw so she could drive his
  stick-shift car!) Likewise, if they wear a costume
  they will believe they now have the abilities of that
  character- appearance is reality. (If you dress like
  Batman, you can jump off the house and fly.)
  Phenomenism errors: involve color tests (milk
  poured into the red glass makes it seem red to a 3
  yr. old)
  Dual encoding is the problem 3 yr. olds have
representing an object in more than one form at a
time. It produces:
  Intellectual realism errors: When they can’t act
on more than one representation of an object at a
time. It is a centering problem, to be so focused on
one form of an object. So notions of “looks like”
don’t come in until closer to age 5.

   Distinguishing between imagined and real
    events develops over time, also. 3 yr. olds often
    believe that imagined events are reality. By age
    4, they are better able to separate the two.
    Source monitoring is the awareness of the
    source of one’s memories or knowledge. There is
    a progression in developing this awareness. And
    even adults can be made to input as memory
    things they had suggested to them (many
    repressed memories were actually implanted
    memories) Children especially have a problem
    with remembering their imagination as memory.
    It is the basic problem of distinguishing between
    fantasy and reality. So fantasy figures (Santa)
    are popular with the preschool set, and when
    school-age children come to understand the
    fantasy nature of these people and want to
    “educate” their siblings. Even 4 – 6 yr. olds have
    some problems with discriminating fantasy and
    reality. The experiment with imagining the
    bunny or the monster in the box showed the
    reality of their imaginings when the researcher
    said he needed to leave the room for a bit. The
    children who imagined the monster displayed
    fear if he was going to leave – their imaginings
    might be real. (If I can imagine it, it might
    become real!) So if I imagine a monster under
    my bed at night- it could be real! This is also
    described as magical thinking, since their belief
    in magic is very concrete. This doesn’t
    necessarily disappear in adulthood, as many
    (50%) adults are superstitious, and also have
    beliefs in the paranormal or higher powers that
    can intervene in reality. As children learn more
    about the physics of the world, they lean less on
    magical thinking- they have reality-based
    explanations for phenomena.

Children’s theory of mind is all a child’s concepts
of mental activity- concepts of how to organize facts
and make predictions, how we attribute intention,
predict the behavior of others, as well as belief-desire
reasoning. It also means understanding different
categories of mind: dreams, memories, imagination,
beliefs, explanations for people’s behavior.
     Belief-desire reasoning means explaining and
predicting what people will do based on what we
understand their desires and beliefs to be- in
reference to their wants, wishes, goals. Children have
to develop an expectation in order to explain
Research has followed 2 lines of thought:
   Children as mind readers
   Metacognition-knowing what it means to
    think and how I think differently from you.

Children as mind readers means that children
figure out that other people have beliefs and desires
that are different from their own, so they will act
     False-belief tasks are set up so a child must
infer that another person doesn’t know what s/he
knows. They know the person believes something
false. If a 3 yr. old and another (Maxi) is in a room
when a piece of candy is hidden by another party, but
when Maxi leaves the candy is hidden in another
place- the 3 yr. old will think Maxi will somehow
know what he knows- where the candy is now
hidden. Most 4 yr. olds will know that Maxi couldn’t
know that anything changed, since he was not present
when it was changed. (3 yr. olds can’t read the minds
of other people.)
     Representational change refers to children’s
memory for their initial beliefs. In the Smarties task,
3 yr. olds can’t remember that they thought the actual
candy was in the box, once they are shown there are
pencils in the candy box. This memory deficit is
specific to beliefs, not concrete things (a
representational deficit) But they also have the dual
representation problem, so they can’t hold 2 different
beliefs or representations in their minds at the same
time. Another problem 3 yr. olds have is switching
focus. In a card-sorting task, once they have learned
to sort cards according to color, they cannot easily
switch to sorting by picture. (Another example of
centering) Likewise, they have problems switching
from their own perspective to another person’s.
Curiously, developing false-belief abilities relates to
family size- kids from larger families develop this
earlier. Dealing with older siblings facilitates
developing theory of mind. This offers opportunities
for pretend-play and learning differences in beliefs.
IT also makes a difference if a child has more adults
to interact with. There is evidence that children as
young as age 3 have an implicit understanding of
false-belief, but can’t act on it until later (they look at
the correct place, but answer the wrong place.) Even
more interesting is the goldfish-vegetable task for 14
and 18 mo. olds- they saw an adult try both and make
a happy face for one food and a grimace for the
other- then the subject asked the baby to give her
some food. The 14 mo. old baby gave her the food
the baby liked. The 18 mo. old gave her the food she
appeared to like- very sophisticated integration for
an 18 mo. old.
     Deception is a social skill that is useful in oiling
the wheels of society, love, career, etc. It reflects an
understanding of differences of knowledge/mind.
Deception will only appear when a child knows that
other people don’t hold the same beliefs they do. It
indicates a child is reading another’s mind. Hide-and-
seek tasks assess this. In these tasks children have an
opportunity to leave tracks to the hidden object or
cover them up. More sophisticated children will leave
false tracks to fool the searcher. There was evidence
that children as young as 2 could offer deception if
they felt it was useful. They are better able to
maintain the deception if they participated in the
planning, not if they merely observed the trick.
     Do three-year-olds have a theory of mind?
Their understandings of others’ beliefs seems close to
that of adults. When they make errors, it may be
because they emphasize another’s desires over their
beliefs. (Wishes are more important than knowledge.)
     Piaget’s idea of wishful thinking suggests the
same thing- 3 yr. olds believe their wishes work to
get them what they want. So if they want something,
they can have it- it also contributes to their
heightened beliefs in their abilities (preschoolers
believe they can learn to do anything).
Theory of mind, evolved modules, and autism.
     There is a modular theory of mind that suggests
that different modules develop at different times
allowing us to read other people. The intentionality
detector interprets objects as having intention of its
own. The eye-direction detector detects eye-like
stimuli, determines whether the eyes are looking at
me, and infers that it means that object sees me. So
we learn that knowledge is gained through the eyes.
These 2 modules develop between birth and 9 mo.
The shared-attention mechanisms refer to how we
learn about 3-way communications ( I can know
about a 3rd party by reading the 2nd party’s eyes). (9 –
18 mo.) The theory of mind module is the belief-
desire reasoning shown by passing false-belief tests.
(18 – 48 mo.) children with autism do not develop the
3rd and 4th module. They show their disability in not
connecting to others socially, living in their own
world of perception:
     Mindblindness is an inability to read minds.
Autistic children must feel lost in a world consisting
of other people with unfathomable beliefs. Even their
art and music is very basically representational,
offering no emotional value, yet being accurate.

Understanding thinking- this is a chief component
in cognitive therapy- learn how to change your
thinking, choose to frame things in a less disturbing
way so as to feel control over your emotionality and
actions. This ability must develop (and not all adults
manage it- deficit of Rick’s friend in debate.) Young
children have a hard time distinguishing between
concepts of thinking- forgetting, knowing,
remembering, guessing.

Representational changes over childhood:
Evidence from classification
  Classification refers to grouping of objects on
    the basis of some characteristics. Then when
    children tell you on what basis they grouped the
    objects you can determine their concepts. There
    are 4 phases of classification:
      o Idiosyncratic classification is the first
         phase (2 – 3 yr.olds) in which they
         randomly group things and can’t tell you
      o Perceptual classification is when children
         group items on the basis of some perceptual
         quality- something similar between the 2 in
         how they look. (3 – 4 yr. olds)
      o Complementary relations are groupings
         based on items that are different but share
         some relationship- in the experiment or in
         the child’s experience. (6 – 9 yrs.)
      o Conceptual relations is when children
         group on the basis of similarities, category
membership, shared function (6 – 10 yr.
olds) This follows formal schooling
experiences. (Interesting dialogue of the
Uzbekistan person in categorizing) Without
formal schooling, people categorize at the 5
– 6 yr. old level. They don’t need that sort of
categorizing to function well, and often
think of it as the way a foolish person thinks.
As we age we see more relationships by
which to categorize phenomena, which
complicates categorizing (which is why
well-educated people tend to be less
judgmental, realizing that one person’s
perception of another is likely to be wrong,
influenced by idiosyncratic experiences.)
Children will use a variety of categorizing
justifications as they group items, indicating
a flexibility based on using all concepts to
understand the world and items in it. Pp.227.
In many of these sorting tasks children use
very creative justifications for their last
grouping, indicating a failure to plan or
organize the objects in the beginning. Older
children will examine all the objects and
plan the groupings based on some overriding
connections. There are also individual
differences in sorting based on how children
most easily think (verbally or functionally)
Development of natural language categories
  Natural language categories refer to categorical
   terms that a language uses to describe or group
   large numbers of words/ concepts. They may be
   hierarchical, networks, or conceptual.
  Superordinate categories are broad, higher-
   level categories- animals, clothes.
  Basic-level categories are composed of objects
   that are perceptually similar. 3 – 4 yr. olds could
   categorize at the basic-level when they couldn’t
   at the superordinate level. Even 2 yr. olds show
   understanding of basic-level categories through
   primitive sorting tasks.
  Category prototypes are abstract
   representations of a category- the best example,
   most typical example of a category. It requires
   children to recognize common characteristics of
   different but similar objects and screen out
   unique characteristics of different members. Our
   prototypes develop from our personal
   experiences with members of the category. It
   requires broader experiences to develop
   categories that resemble those of adults.
      o Category typicality means how much does
        an item in a category resemble the
        prototype. Even 13 mo. olds were more
        likely to group more typical items than
        atypical items. But grouping becomes more
sophisticated as older children put more
items together in networks according to
perceptual similarity or concept or
functionality. Their prototypes develop
along the lines of adults as they come to
emphasize different features in categories.

Representation-how do children of different
ages represent their world?
   Mental representation through infancy
      o Expressions of the symbolic function
           Deferred imitation
           Language
           Symbolic play
           Mental imagery
        Reproductive images
        Anticipatory images
   What do infants know?
      o Neonatal imitation- invisible imitation
           Active intermodal mapping
           Innate releasing mechanisms
           Transient ontogenetic adaptations
        Deferred imitation
        Knowledge of physical objects
         Object permanence
         Violation-of-expectation method
         Early number concepts
            o Subitizing
  What is infant cognition made of?
    o Representational persistence

Learning to use symbols
   Representational insight

Young children’s interpretation of pictures
and models
   Dual representation (dual orientation)

The appearance/reality distinction
   Dual encoding

Distinguishing between imagined and real

Children’s theory of mind
   Belief-desire reasoning

Children as mind readers
   False-belief tasks
   Representational change
   Do three-year-olds have a theory of
Piaget’s idea of wishful thinking

Theory of mind, evolved modules, and autism

Understanding thinking

Representational changes over childhood:
Evidence from classification
  Classification
     o Idiosyncratic classification
     o Perceptual classification
     o Complementary relations
     o Conceptual relations

Development of natural language categories
  Natural language categories
  Superordinate categories
  Basic-level categories
  Category prototypes
Category typicality

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