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Flashcards in Ch 4 Theories of Cog Development Deck (54):

Piaget's theory of Cog Develop?

the theory of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, labelled Constructivist, which posits that cognitive development involves a sequence of four stages
1) the sensorimotor
3)concrete operational
4)formal operational stages
that are constructed though there processes of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibrium


What does constructivist mean?

its the idea in Piaget's theory that children construct knowledge for themselves in response to they experiences
"child as a scientist"


Assimilation (Piaget's theory)

the process by which people translate incoming information into a form that fits concepts they already understand


Accommodation (Piaget's theory)

the process by which people adapt current knowledge structures in response to new experiences


Equilibrium (Piaget's theory)

the process by which children (or others) balance assimilation and accommodation to create stable understanding


What are 3 sources of continuity (piaget)

Assimilation, Accommodation, & Equilibrium


What are 4 sources of discontinuity?

1. Qualitative Change
2. Broad applicability
3. Brief Transitions
4. Invariant sequence


Sensorimotor stage? whose theory?

Part of Piaget's theory, this period (birth -2 years) in which intelligence is expressed through sensory and motor abilities


Preoperational stage?

the period (2-7 years) within Piaget's theory in which children become able to represent their experiences in language, mental imagery, and symbolic thought.


Concrete operational stage?

the period (7-12 years) within Piaget's theory in which children become able to reason logically about concrete objects and events


Formal operational stage?

the period (12 years +) within Piaget's theory inward hick people become able to think about abstractions and hypothetical situations


object permanence

the knowledge that objects continue to exist even when they are out of view
(not present in sensorimotor stage)


A-not-B error

the tendency to reach for a hidden object where it was last found rather than in the new location where it was last hidden


Deferred imitation

the repetition of other people behaviour a substantial time after it originally occurred (occurs last half year of sensorimotor stage)


Symbolic Representation

the use of one object to stand for another



the tendency to perceive the world solely from one's own point of view



the tendency to focus on a single, perceptually striking feature of an object or event


Conservation Concept

the idea that merely changing the appearance of objects does not necessarily change the objects' other key priorities (preoperational)


Are all of Piaget's stages universal?

No, the formal operational stage is not. Some adolescents (and adults) dlm't reach it. (think stupid people)


4 big weaknesses of Piaget's theory

1. vague about mechanisms that give rise to children's thinking & that produce cognitive growth
2. Infants & young children are more cognitively competent than Piaget recognized
3. understates the contribution of the social world to cognitive development
4. depicts children's thinking as being more consistent than it is


Information Processing theories

a class of theories that focus on the structure of the cognitive system and the mental activities used to deploy attention and memory to solve problems
"child as problem solver"


task analysis

the research technique of identifying goals, relevant information in the environment, and potential processing strategies for a problem


Computer simulation

a type of mathematical model that expresses ideas about mental processes in precise ways


How does children's processing limitations develop according to information processing theories?

1) expanding the amounts of information they can process at one time
2) increasing their processing speeds
3) acquiring new strategies and knowledge


Problem solving

the process of attaining a goal by using a strategy to overcome an obstacle


Working memory

memory system that involves actively attending to, gathering, maintaining, storing, and processing information. Subset of one's knowledge used at a given time.


Long-term memory

information retained on an enduring basis. The totality of one's knowledge


3 major types of executive functions

1) inhibiting (of inadvisable actions)
2) Enhancing working memory
3) Being cognitively flexible (such as imagining someone else p.o.v.)


Basic Processes

the simplest and most frequently used mental activities



the process of representing in memory information that draws attention or is considered important



the process of repeating information from multiple items to aid memory of it (5-8 Years)


Selective attention

the process of intentionally focusing on the information that is most relevant to the current goal


Overlapping waves theory

an information processing approach that emphasizes the variability of children's thinking - proposing that at any one age, children use multiple strategies; that with age and experience they rely increasingly on more advanced strategies.


Why might planning be difficult (information processing theories)?

it requires inhibiting the desire to solve the problem immediately in favour of first trying to choose the best strategy. May be overly optimistic about their abilities.


Core knowledge theories

approaches that view children as having some innate knowledge in domains of special evolutionary importance and domain-specific learning mechanisms for rapidly and effortlessly acquiring new information in those domains


Why do children's attempts to deceive poke holes in Piaget's theory?

if preschoolers were truly egocentric they would assume people have the same knowledge as they do- there would be no point in deceiving. the attempt to deceive indicates they have non-egocentric understandings of other people's minds


domain specific

information about a particular content are



the theory that infants have substantial innate knowledge of evolutionary important domains


What is Core-Knowledge theory

most prominent nativist theory, proposes that infants begin life with 4 core knowledge systems
1)represents inanimate objects & their interactions
2) the minds of people & other animals capable of goal-directed actions
3) numbers, of objects, events
4) spacial layouts and geometric relations



the theory that infants build increasingly advanced understanding by combining rudimentary innate knowledge with subsequent experiences


Sociocultural Theories

approaches that emphasize that other people and the surrounding culture contribute greatly to children's development


Guided Participation

a process in which more knowledgable individuals organize activities in ways that allow less knowledgable people to learn


Cultural tools

the innumerable products of human ingenuity that enhance thinking


Vygotsky's theory

-Children as social learners, intertwined w/people
-intent on participating in social activities of their environment
-emphasis on gradual continuous change
-thought as internalized speech


Private Speech

the second phase of Vygotsky's internalization-of-thought process, in which children develop self regulation & problem solving abilities by telling themselves aloud what to do, much and their parents did in the first stage


Michael Tomasello's additions to sociocultural theory

1) humans have an inclination to teach others of the species
2) also the inclination to attend to and learn from such teaching



the mutual understanding that people share during communication (believed by sociocultural theorists to be the foundation of human cognitive development)


Joint Attention

a process in which social partners intentionally focus on a common referent in the external environment


Social scaffolding

a process in which more competent people provide a temporary framework that supports children's thinking at a higher level than children could manage on their own


Autobiographical memories

memories of one's own experiences, including one's thoughts and emotions.

"bird fly away" -child. "yes, the bird flew away because you got close and scared it." Help kids encode key information


Dynamic Systems theory

a class of theories that focus on how change occurs over time in complex systems- change is a constant.


Motivators of development (dynamic systems theory)?

Curiosity to explore the world and learn, and well as interest in the social world and social interactions


Centrality of action

Within Dynamics systems theory, it is the emphasis that actions themselves contribute to development throughout life. As thinking shapes actions, actions shape thinking


Two prominent developmental issues in dynamic systems theory are

1) Self Organization: involving integration of attention, memory, emotions, and actions as needed to adapt to a continuously changing environment
2)Mechanism of change: changes occur through mechanisms of variation snd selection that are analogous to those that produce biological evolution