Nativist Explanation of Cognitive Development

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Chomsky and Language Acquisition

Chomsky was a psychologist and believed that we are born with innate, cognitive structures which have a direct influence on our cognitive ability. In particular, Chomsky was interested in language acquisition, and he suggested that we are born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which allows us to use and understand language and when we are exposed to the language of our culture, this enables us to internalize the grammatical rules of the language without specific instruction.

When children first begin to babble, they make the speech sounds of all languages and it is only those wich are reinforced and rewarded, those which are part of their culture that are internalised. Children are exposed to the rules of language and internalise the grammatical rules without explicit instruction.

Bower et al.

In the 1970s, there was much research into perceptual abilities in infants. In a study by Bower et al, infants aged 6-21 days were positioned facing an object suspended in front of them at a distance. When object released from start position and 'loomed' towards their faces, the babies made typical collision responses. This suggests that babies percieve depth at just a few days old and so supports the Nativist explanation…

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