What did Jean Piaget believe about cognitive development?
Intelligence is NOT a fixed trait
Cognitive development is a process which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment
How did Jean Piaget characterise age?
Age is characterised by the type of thinking that the children can engage in
It focuses on how they think, not what they know
What did Piaget say about genetic inheritance and intelligence?
Children are born with a inherited basic mental structure on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based
What does Piaget’s theory state about stages of development?
There are discrete stages of development marked by qualitative differences
rather than a gradual increase in number and complexity of behaviours
What are the 3 underlying basic concepts of cognitive development?
- adaptation processes that enable transition from one stage to another
- Piaget’s 4 stages of cognitive development
What is a schema?
It is a building block of knowledge that allows formation of a mental representation of the world
What do schemas relate to?
Each schema relates to one aspect of the world
It may be an object, action or abstract concept
How do we use schemas?
they are used to understand and respond to situations
we store mental representations and apply them when needed
How would a schema for buying food in a restaurant work?
the schema is a stored form of the pattern of behaviour which includes looking at a menu, ordering, paying, etc.
This type of schema is a script
What happens to schemas as a child gets older?
The schemas become more numerous and more elaborate
Are new-born babies born with any schemas?
Neonatal schemas underly innate reflexes
What are the 3 adaptation processes involved in intellectual growth?
What is assimilation?
Using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation
What is accommodation?
When an existing schema does not work, it is changed to deal with a new object/situation
What is equilibration?
The force which moves development along
cognitive development progresses in leaps and bounds rather than a steady rate
What is the process that occurs when encountering a new situation?
- new situation
When does equilibrium occur?
When a child’s schemas can deal with most information through assimilation
When does disequilibrium occur?
When new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas
What are Piaget’s 4 stages of cognitive development and at what age do they occur?
sensorimotor stage - birth - 2 years
pre-operational stage - 2 -7 years
concrete operational stage - 7 - 11 years
formal operational stage - 11 years onwards
How are children under 7 distinguished from those who are older?
Children over the age of 7 can engage in operational thinking
What is the main achievement during the sensorimotor stage?
What does it require?
It requires the ability to form a schema of the object
It is knowing the object still exists even if it is hidden
What age is object permanence achieved?
around 8 months
can arise as early as 4 months
How do children in the sensorimotor stage “think”?
They think only by doing
They get to know the physical environment through seeing and touching
What is the main achievement during the pre-operational stage?
Children begin to think about things symbolically
This is the ability to make one thing stand for something other than itself
What is thinking like during the pre-operational stage?
The child has a very self-centred view of the world and has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others
How do children focus on a particular situation during the pre-operational stage?
What is this called?
They tend to focus on only one aspect of the situation and neglect other aspects which may be relevant
Visual appearance of the situation is the primary factor
What is the 3 mountain problem?
A child is asked to describe what a doll would be able to see from the other side of the mountain
What is the 3 mountain problem used to assess?
Whether a child is able to take other people’s perspectives and whether they have developed theory of mind
What is theory of mind?
The capacity for children to understand that other individuals have different perspectives
At what age does theory of mind develop?
Around age 4 onwards
What begins to develop during the concrete operational stage?
Logical or operational thought
The child can work things out in their head rather than physically trying things out
What is ‘operation’?
The mental consideration of information in a logical manner
What is the main achievement during the concrete operational stage?
Children can conserve number, mass and weight
What is conservation?
The understanding that something stays the same in quantity, even if its appearance changes
How is conservation of mass tested?
Taking 2 equal-sized clay balls and rolling one into a long thin structure
A child under 7 will think the long clay structure contains more clay
How is conservation of volume tested?
Pouring water from a long, tall glass into a short, wide one
What is the main achievement during the formal operational stage?
Children can think about abstract concepts and logically test hypotheses
How is thinking different in the formal operational stage?
Children can consider alternatives in a situation and plan ahead
How is memory assessed in a baby?
- placed under a mobile and the number of leg kicks in 2 mins is measured
- string attaches baby to mobile
- baby kicks more often as they learn that this will change the movement of the mobile
- number of leg kicks is counted again
- string removed in later memory test to see if they recall that kicks are related to mobile movement
What are the results of the baby memory test in children of different ages?
2 months - remember for 1 day
3 months - remember for 1 week
6 months - remember for 2 weeks +
At 8 months, what abilities does a child have?
- they can obey simple requests
- point to objects and can follow pointing gesture of adult
- shake head or say “no” in refusal
- develop self-recognition
What abilities does a child have at 8 months that have been observationally learnt?
- hold a cup to a doll’s mouth to mimic feeding
2. demonstrate affection by hugging and kissing
Why does an 8 month old child show toes when these are named by the mother?
They recognise that a particular verbal sequence corresponds to a particular action even if they don’t know the word
They know they will receive positive feedback
What is self-recognition?
The child recognises that they have an identity which is different to everyone else
How is self-recognition assessed?
rouge test (mirror self-recognition test)
What happens in the rouge test?
child is placed in front of a mirror with a blob of paint on their face
if they touch the mark, they have self-identity as they can recognise that they look different
What is IQ and what is it a measurement of?
a measure of how a child’s mental age corresponds with their chronological age
What is IQ used for in children?
- To help assess their educational needs
- predicting school performance
- assessment following neurological trauma, learning disability or cognitive impairment
Why is IQ not used after the age of 16?
You cannot distinguish a mental age for adults
It is only used for measuring a child’s development
What type of distribution is shown by IQ scores?
What is used to assess adult IQ?
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
What are the drawbacks of IQ?
- does not measure job success
- it may not be a fixed quality and may fluctuate throughout life
- influenced by environment and culture
- doesn’t measure competence or general skills
- biased in favour of white, middle-class people
What is the main factor that leads to deficient performance in IQ tests?
stereotype threats due to negative stereotypes about ethnicity, gender or age
Who suggested measuring emotional intelligence rather than IQ?
What does emotional intelligence involve?
- accurate perception and expression of emotions
- ability to access and generate emotions
- understanding emotions and emotional meanings of yourself and others
- good emotional regulation
What is cerebral localisation?
the tendency for some neural functions or cognitive processes to be specialised to one side of the brain or the other
What is the role of the medial longitudinal fissure?
separates the brain into 2 distinct cerebral hemispheres which are connected by the corpus callosum
What was phrenology?
The study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities
What is cerebral commissurotomy?
The “split-brain” procedure
When is the split-brain procedure used?
to control seizures in epilepsy patients when they cannot be controlled with anticonvulsants alone
What is involved in cerebral commissurotomy?
the corpus callosum is severed to alleviate the occurrence of seizures
What happens after a cerebral commissurotomy?
the 2 hemispheres do not exchange information as efficiently as before
this leads to split-brain syndrome
how is the manual/verbal response of a split-brain patient assessed?
- word “face” flashed to right field and patient asked what he saw
- the left hemisphere is dominant for verbal processing, he gives correct answer
- word flashed to left field
- right hemisphere cannot share information so he cannot say the word but can draw it
Why is visual perception affected in split-brain patients?
left visual field goes to the right hemisphere and vice versa
follows contralateral rule
How are chimeric faces used to measure processing of emotion?
Right hemisphere better at detecting emotional responses
anything in the left field of view dominates the decision as to what the emotion is
What are the main functions of the left hemisphere?
- complex language functions
- complex logical activities
- mathematical computations
What are the main functions of the right hemisphere?
- simple language functions
- spatial and pattern abilities
- emotional recognition