Flashcards in Discuss the extent to which Piaget underestimated pre-operational children's abilities Deck (34):
How many stages of cognitive development did Piaget identify? what were they?
1. sensorimotor stage (birth - 2)
2. preoperational (2-7 years)
3. concrete operational stage (7-11 years)
4. formal operational stage (11 years and up)
To Piaget, these stages of intellectual growth represented..., and,,,
qualitatively different levels of functioning, and formed an invariant developmental sequence.
1. Introduction and structure
2. Preoperational accomplishments and deficits (egocentrism and conservation)
3. Extent to which Piaget underestimated preoperational children (animism, egocentrism and conservation)
Did Piaget focus on the accomplishments or deficits of preoperational children?
What is the preoperational stage characterised by?
What does this result in an increase in?
The pre-operational stage is characterised by the development of representational thought, or the knowledge that an entity can stand for (represent) something other than itself
This results in an increase in the use of symbols in language, drawing and symbolic play.
Why did Piaget so name the preoperational stage?
What was an example of this?
because he believed that preschool children have not yet acquired the operational schemes that enable them to think logically.
He claimed, for example, that young children often display animism and animistic logic.
According to Piaget, the most striking deficiency in children’s preoperational reasoning – a deficiency that contributes immensely to the other intellectual shortcomings they display – is...
What is egocentrism?
, a tendency to view the world from one’s own perspective and to have difficulty recognising another person’s point of view
How did Piaget demonstrate children's egocentrism?
by first familiarising children with an asymmetrical mountain scene and then asking them what an observer on the opposite side of the table would see as they gazed at the scene.
Often, 3-4 year olds said the other person would see exactly what they saw, thus failing to consider the other’s different perspective.
Further, Piaget claimed that young children’s egocentric focus on the way things appear to be makes it nearly impossible for them to distinguish...
appearance from reality
Rheta DeVries conducted a study looking at preoperational children's egocentric inability to distinguish appearance from reality. What did he do? 4 sentences
Children 3-6 years of age were introduced to a cat named Maynard.
After the children had petted Maynard, DeVries hid Maynard’s head and shoulders behind a screen while she strapped a realistic mask of a dog’s face onto Maynard’s head.
The children were then asked questions about Maynard’s identity.
Even though Maynard’s back half and tail remained in full view during the transformation, nearly all the 3 year olds focused on Maynard’s new appearance and concluded he was a dog.
What happens in Piaget's classic conservation studies? 4 points
1. the child is asked to first adjust the amount of liquid in two identical containers until each is said to have the same amount in them.
2. Next the child sees the experimenter pour the liquid from one of these tall, thin containers into a short, broad container.
3. He is then asked whether the remaining tall, thin container and the shorter, broader container have the same amount of liquid.
4. Children younger than 6 or 7 will usually say that the tall, thin receptacle contains more liquid than the short, broad one.
In Piaget's conservation studies the child's thinking about the liquids is centred on...
What does this show?
one perceptual feature - the relative height of the columns.
In Piaget’s terminology, preoperational children are incapable of conservation: they do not yet realise that certain properties of objects (i.e., volume, mass) remain unchanged when the objects’ appearance are altered in some superficial way.
According to Piaget, preschool children fail to conserve because they lack two cognitive operations that would help them to overcome their perceptually based intuitive reasoning. What are these?
The first of these operations is decentration – the ability to concentrate on more than one aspect of a problem at the same time; the second is reversibility – the ability to mentally undo or negate an action.
How does reversibility partly explain the water conservation task?
an intuitive 5-year old faced with the conservation of liquids problem is unable to mentally reverse what he has seen to conclude that the liquid in the short, broad beaker is still the same water and would attain its former height if it were poured back into its original container.
Piaget was quite correct in stating that preschool children are likely to provide animistic answers to many questions and to make logical errors when thinking about cause and effect relationships. Yet what did Susan Gelman and Gail Gottfried (1996) find?
3 year olds do not routinely attribute lifelike qualities or life to inanimate object, even such inanimates as a robot that can be made to move.
What did Backschneider, Schatz and Gelman 1993 find in relation to Piaget's claim that children will always provide animistic responses?
most 4 year olds recognise that plants and animals grow and will heal after an injury, whereas inanimate objects (e.g., a table with a broken leg) will not.
Although preschool children do occasionally display animistic responses, these judgements stem not so much from a general belief that moving inanimates have lifelike qualities (Piaget’s position) as from the presumption that unfamiliar objects that appear to move on their own are alive
Although preschool children do occasionally display animistic responses, these judgements stem not so much from... as from...
a general belief that moving inanimates have lifelike qualities (Piaget’s position)
the presumption that unfamiliar objects that appear to move on their own are alive
Numerous experiments indicate that Piaget underestimated the ability of preschool children to recognise and appreciate another person’s point of view. For example, Piaget and Inhelder’s three-mountain task has been criticised as...
being unusually difficult, and more recent research has shown that children look much less egocentric when provided with less complicated visual displays
In relation to egocentrism, what did John Flavell and colleagues (1981) do? what did they find?
showed 3-year-olds a card with a dog on one side and a cat on the other.
The card was then held vertically between the child (who could see the dog) and the experimenter (who could see the cat), and the child was asked which animal the experimenter could see.
The 3 year olds performed flawlessly, indicating that they could assume the experimenter’s perspective and infer that he must see the cat rather than the animal they were looking at.
Should children are less egocentric than piaget thought
Flavell’s study investigated young children’s X perspective taking - that is, the ability to make correct inferences about what another person can see or hear; another question regarding egocentrism is whether or not children can engage in Y perspective taking by making correct inferences about what another person may be thinking/feeling when these mental states differ from their own.
What is perceptual perspective taking?
the ability to make correct inferences about what another person can see or hear
What is conceptual perspective taking?
making correct inferences about what another person may be thinking/feeling when these mental states differ from their own
What did one study measuring conceptual perspective taking do? Who did it? What did they find?
Hala and Chandler (1993), asked 3 year olds to play a trick on a person (Lisa) by moving some biscuits from their distinctive biscuit jar to a hiding place, so that Lisa will be fooled.
When asked where Lisa will look for the biscuits, children who helped plan the deception said that Lisa would look in the biscuit jar.
In contrast, children who merely observed the experimenter planning the deception did not perform so well.
They were more likely to answer this false-belief task erroneously, stating that Lisa would look for the biscuits in the new hiding place.
In other words, when they planned to deceive someone, 3 year olds were later able to take the perspective of that person.
However, when they were not actively involved in the deceit, they performed egocentrically.
Preoperational children appear to be less egocentric than Piaget thought. Nevertheless, Piaget was right in claiming that...
young children often rely on their own perspectives and thus fail to make accurate judgements about other people’s motives, desires, and intentions; and they do often assume that if they know something, others will too
Today, researchers believe that children gradually become less egocentric and better able to appreciate others’ points of view as they learn. In other words...
perspective-taking abilities are not totally absent at one stage and suddenly present at another; they develop slowly and become more refined from early in life into adulthood (Bjorklund, 2011).
According to Piaget (1970), children younger than 6 or 7 cannot solve conservation problems because they have not yet acquired the operation of ...
of reversibility - the cognitive operation that enables them to discover the constancy of attributes such as mass and volume
Piaget also argued that one cannot teach conservation to children younger than 6 or 7, for these preoperational youngsters are much too [blank] to understand and use logical operations such as reversibility.
Piaget also argued that one cannot teach conservation to children younger than 6 or 7, for these preoperational youngsters are much too intellectually immature to understand and use logical operations such as reversibility. However...
many researchers have demonstrated that nonconservers as young as 4 years of age can be trained to conserve by a variety of techniques (Gelman, 1969
What approach has been particularly effective in teaching children to conserve?
what is identity training?
- teaching children to recognise that the object or substance transformed in a conservation task is still the same object or substance, regardless of its new appearance
What did Dorothy Field (1981) show in relation to identity training? 2 points
that 4 year olds who received this training not only conserved on the training tasks, but could also use their knowledge about identities to solve a number of conservation problems on which they had not been trained.
Field also reported that nearly 75% of the 4 year olds who had received some kind of identity training were able to solve at least three out of five conservation problems that were presented to them 2.5 - 5 months after their training had ended.
So contrary to Piaget’s viewpoint, many preoperational children can learn to conserve, and their initial understanding of this law of nature seems to depend more on their ability to [blank] than on their use of [blank] and [blank].