Chapter 2: Infancy
Module 2.2
Cognitive Development in Infancy
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
PIAGET’S APPROACH TO
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Key Elements of Piaget’s
Theory
• Action = Knowledge
• Four universal stages in fixed order
• Development = physical maturation and
exposure to relevant experiences
• Schemes adapt and change
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At each stage, child’s mind develops in a
new way from simple to complex
Organization: tendency to create
increasingly complex cognitive structures
(system of knowledge; ways of thinking
that incorporate more and more accurate
images of reality
Schemas: organized patterns of behavior
that a person uses to think about and act
in a situation.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What principles underlie this
cognitive growth?
• Assimilation
• Accommodation
108
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Adaptation: how children handle new
information in light of what they already
know
Assimilation: taking new information
and incorporating it into existing
cognitive structures (sucking on sippie
cup versus breats)
Accommodation: adjusting one’s
cognitive structures to fit new information
(sipping from cup/glass, changes how
uses tongue/mouth)
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Earliest Stage of Cognitive
Growth
Sensorimotor Period
• Invariant order of stages
• Individual differences in rate
• Transitions include characteristics of both stages
108
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
A Closer Look
• Substage 1: Simple Reflexes
First month of life
– Various various inborn reflexes
• At center of a baby’s physical and cognitive life
• Determine nature of infant’s interactions with world
– At the same time, some of reflexes begin to
accommodate the infant’s experiences
109
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
A Closer Look
Substage 2: First Habits and Primary Circular
Reactions
1 to 4 months of age
• Beginning of coordination of what were separate actions
into single, integrated activities.
• Activities that engage baby’s interests are repeated
simply for sake of continuing to experience it
– Circular reaction
– Primary circular reaction
109
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
A Closer Look
Substage 3: Secondary Circular
Reactions
4 to 8 months of age
• Child begins to act upon outside world
• Infants now seek to repeat enjoyable
events in their environments that are
produced through chance activities
• Secondary circular reactions
110
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
A Closer Look
Substage 4: Coordination of Secondary
Circular Reactions
8 months to 12 months
• Beginning of goal-directed behavior
– Several schemes are combined and coordinated to
generate single act to solve problem
– Means to attain particular ends and skill in
anticipating future circumstances due in part to object
permanence
110
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Come out, come out, wherever
you are!
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Object Permanence
111
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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A Closer Look
Substage 5: Tertiary Circular Reactions
12 to 18 months
• Development of schemes regarding deliberate variation
of actions that bring desirable consequences
• Carrying out miniature experiments to observe
consequences
110
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
A Closer Look
Substage 6: Beginnings of Thought
18 months to 2 years
• Capacity for mental representation or symbolic thought
– Mental representation
– Understanding causality
– Ability to pretend
– Deferred imitation
111
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Assessing Piagetian Theory
PROS
CONS
• Descriptions of child
cognitive development
accurate in many ways
• Substantial disagreement
over validity of theory and
many of its specific
predictions
– Piaget was pioneering figure
in field of development
– Children learn by acting on
environment
– Broad outlines of sequence of
cognitive development and
increasing cognitive
accomplishments are
generally accurate
– Stage conception questioned
– Connection between motor
development and cognitive
development exaggerated
– Object permanence can occur
earlier under certain
conditions
– Onset of age of imitation
questioned
– Cultural variations not
considered
111
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Review and Apply
REVIEW
• Piaget’s theory of human cognitive development
involves a succession of stages through which
children progress from birth to adolescence.
• As infants move from one stage to another, the
way they understand the world changes.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
113
Review and Apply
REVIEW
• The sensorimotor stage, from birth to
about 2 years, involves a gradual
progression through simple reflexes,
single coordinated activities, interest in the
outside world, purposeful combinations of
activities, manipulation of actions to
produce desired outcomes, and symbolic
thought. The sensorimotor stage has six
substages.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
113
Review and Apply
APPLY
• Think of a common young children’s toy with
which you are familiar. How might its use be
affected by the principles of assimilation and
accommodation?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
113
INFORMATION-PROCESSING
APPROACHES TO COGNITIVE
DEVELOPMENT
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What is information-processing?
• Identifies the way that individuals take in, store,
and use information
• Involves quantitative changes in ability to
organize and manipulate information
• Increases sophistication, speed, and capacity in
information processing characterizes cognitive
growth
• Focuses on types of “mental programs” used
when seeking to solve problems
113
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What are the foundations of the
IP approach?
Encoding—storage—retrieval
114
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
How does cognition compute?
• Encoding
• Storage
• Retrieval
114
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What automatic processes are
being engaged as you listen to
this lecture?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Automatization
• Degree to which activity requires attention
• Helps with initial encounters with stimuli
through easy and automatic information
processing
114
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What do you think?
Infants cannot remember
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Memory Capabilities in Infancy
Getting a kick out of that!
• Kicking research demonstrates increase with
age in memory capacities
115
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
How long do memories last?
• Researchers disagree on the age from which
memories can be retrieved
– Early studies infantile amnesia
– Myers clear evidence of early memory
• Physical trace of a memory in brain appears to
be relatively permanent
– Memories may not be easily, or accurately, retrieved
115
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What role does language play
in determining the way early
memories are recalled?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
So…do infants remember?
• Theoretical possibility for interfered memories to
remain intact from a very young
• Most cases memories of personal experiences
in infancy do not last into adulthood
• Memories of personal experience seem not to
become accurate before age 18 to 24 months
115
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Individual Differences in
Intelligence
Information-Processing Approaches
• Infant information-processing speed may
correlate most strongly with later intelligence
116
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What is infant intelligence?
117
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Do, Re, Me…..Intelligence!
Developmental Scales
• Gesell:
– Developmental quotient
– Performance compared at different ages for
significant variation from norms of given age
– Four domains: motor skills, language use, adaptive
behavior, personal-social
117
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Table 2-7
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Are developmental scales
useful?
YES
NO
• Provide a good
snapshot of current
developmental level
• Provide objective
assessment of
behavior relative to
norms
• Do not provide good
prediction for future
development
117
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What characterizes a “fast”
baby?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
And so…what does IP research
reveal?
• Relationship between information processing
efficiency and cognitive abilities
– Correlate moderately well with later measures of
intelligence
– More efficient information processing during the 6
months following birth is related to higher intelligence
scores between 2 and 12 years of age and other
measures of cognitive competence
118
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Assessing the IP Approach
PROS
CONS
• Often uses more
precise measures of
cognitive ability
• Critical in providing
information about
infant cognition
• Precision makes it
more difficult to get
overall sense of
cognitive
development
118
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
From Research to Practice
Taking the Einstein Out of Baby Einstein
• Kaiser Family Foundation Report
– Marketing of educational media for infants
is far outpaced by research on its
effectiveness
– Correlational studies
– Company reluctance to test claims
119
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Beyond (or creating)
Teletubbies!
What does the research reveal?
• Effect on language learning
– Infants do not learn language from rote repetition;
social interaction and context needed
119
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What constitutes appropriate
use of educational media for
infants?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Review and Apply
REVIEW
• Information processing approaches consider quantitative
changes in children’s abilities to organize and use
information. Cognitive growth is regarded as the
increasing sophistication of encoding, storage, and
retrieval.
• Infants clearly have memory capabilities from a very
early age, although the duration and accuracy of such
memories are unresolved questions.
• Traditional measures of infant intelligence focus on
behavioral attainments, which can help identify
developmental delays or advances.
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
120
Review and Apply
APPLY
• What information from this module could you
use to refute the claims of books or educational
programs that promise to help parents increase
their babies’ intelligence or instill advanced
intellectual skills in infants? Based on valid
research, what approaches would you use for
intellectual development of infants?
120
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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
THE ROOTS OF LANGUAGE
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
From Sounds to Symbols
Fundamentals of Language
•
•
•
•
Phonology
Morphemes
Semantics
Comprehension and production
120
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Another Look – Comprehension
Precedes Production
122
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Early Sounds and Communication
Prelinguistic Communication
• Babbling
– Universal
– Repetition of sounds
121
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
See what I say…
Infants with hearing impairments
• Babble with hands instead of voices
• Gestural and verbal babbling activate same
neural centers
121
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What comes after “ba-ba-ba-ba”?
Progression from Simple to Complex
• Exposure to speech sounds of particular
language initially do not influence babbling
– At 6 months babbling reflects of language of culture
– Distinguishable from other language babbling
• Combinations of sounds and gestures used to
communicate
121
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
First Words
• Increase at rapid rate
– 10 to 14 months = first word
– 15 months = 10 words
– 18 months = one-word stage ends
– 16 to 24 months = language explosion equally
50 to 400 words
122
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
First Sentences
• First sentences created around 8 to 12 months
after first words
• Indicate understanding of labels and
relationships between these
• Often observations rather than demands
• Use order similar to adult speech with missing
words
– Telegraphic speech
123
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Telegraphic Speech Revealed
124
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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How does proficiency in
language occur?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Origins of Language
Development
Learning Theory Approaches: Language as
a Learned Skill
• Language acquisition follows the basic laws of
reinforcement and conditioning
• Through the process of shaping, language
becomes more and more similar to adult speech
124
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Counter-Arguments to Learning
Theory Approach
• Does not adequately explain how children
readily learn rules of language
• Does not account for how children move beyond
specific heard utterances to produce novel
phrases, sentences and constructions
• Does not explain how young children can apply
linguistic rules to nonsense words
124
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Origins of Language
Development
Nativist Approaches: Language as an
Innate Skill
• Genetically determined, innate mechanism that
directs the development of language
• Children are born with innate capacity to use
language, which emerges, more or less
automatically, due to maturation.
– Chomsky’s universal grammar and LAD
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
125
Assessing Chomsky’s Approach
PRO
• Specific gene related to speech production
identified
• Language processing in infant brain structures
similar to those in adult speech processing
125
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Assessing Chomsky’s Approach
CON
• Uniqueness of speech countered by primate
researchers
• Even with genetic priming, language use still
requires significant social experience to be used
effectively
125
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Origins of Language
Development
Interactionist Approaches: Language as a
Social Device
• Specific course of language development is
determined by the language to which children
are exposed and reinforcement they receive for
using language in particular ways
• Social factors are key to development
125
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Let’s Pretend
Turn to a classmate. One of you is a
8-month-old infant; the other is a parent.
As the parent, ask your “infant” classmate:
“Would you like a cookie?”
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
How does this speech change?
• Infant-directed speech changes as children
become older
– Around the end of the first year, takes on more adultlike qualities
– Sentences become longer and more complex,
although individual words are still spoken slowly and
deliberately
– Pitch used to focus attention on important words
126
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Does Cootsy-Coo Work?
Infant-directed speech plays an important role in
infants’ acquisition of language
– Occurs all over the world, though there are cultural
variations
– Preferred by newborns
– Babies who are exposed to a infant-directed speech
early in life seem to begin to use words and exhibit
other forms of linguistic competence earlier
126
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Developmental Diversity
Do people everywhere say “ba-ba-boo” to
their infants?
• Words differ but ways spoken are similar
• Basic similarities across cultures and in some
facets of language specific to particular types of
interactions
• Quantity of speech differ by cultures
127
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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What then do these similarities
in infant-directed speech mean?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Becoming an Informed Consumer
of Development
Based upon findings of developmental researchers,
infant cognitive development may be promoted by:
•
Providing infants the opportunity to explore the world
•
Being responsive to infants on both a verbal and a nonverbal level
•
Asking questions, listening to their responses, and providing further
communication
•
Reading to infants
•
Keeping in mind that you don’t have to be with an infant 24 hours a day
•
Not pushing infants and don’t expect too much too soon
127
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Review and Apply
REVIEW
• Before they speak, infants understand many
adult utterances and engage in several forms
of prelinguistic communication.
• Children typically produce their first words
between 10 and 14 months, and rapidly
increase their vocabularies from that point
on, especially during a spurt at about 18
months.
128
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Review and Apply
REVIEW
• Learning theorists believe that basic learning
processes account for language development,
whereas nativists like Noam Chomsky and his
followers argue that humans have an innate
language capacity. The interactionists suggest that
language is a consequence of both environmental
and innate factors.
128
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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Review and Apply
APPLY
• What are some ways in which children’s
linguistic development reflects their
acquisition of new ways of interpreting and
dealing with their world?
128
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