cognative development

Cognitive development and the education of children?
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Biological drive?
: Piaget suggested that humans are born with a biological drive to maintain equilibrium (ensuring our mental representations- schema- about our experience of the world) to avoid cognitive dissonance- a stressor
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how do we achieve biological drive?
We achieve this through two processes: accommodation (fitting new information to our existing schema) occurs first, i.e. if a child had learnt the word ‘dog’, they will assume all 4-legged animals are dogs.
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what happens when too many instances occur?
When too many instances occur which do not completely fit our existing cognitive structures, assimilation occurs (new schema are constructed to represent this new category of animal, i.e. an animal with 4 legs and fur which meows is a ‘cat’).
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biological maturation?
the cognitive abilities children are able to demonstrate are controlled by processes of biological maturation. Until neurological structures have developed to support higher order functions, children cannot learn these abilities
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what is physciological maturation determied by?
Physiological maturation is determined by our genes, and how we physiologically develop has been determined by the evolution of the species. This means, according to Piaget, that all children should develop at the same time in the same ways.
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Hierarchical changes?
as changes in cognitive abilities are controlled by biological maturation, they occur in sequential stages, with higher order functioning improving as the child grows. Piaget discovered these stages mainly through observing and interviewing his child
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Sensorimotor (0-18months)?
very quickly during this stage, the child learns object permanence (that objects exist even when they are no longer seen).
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Pre-operational (18months-7years)?
the child engages in egocentric thinking during this stage, i.e. they cannot take another’s perspective (reason what they would see). As they are experiencing centation, they also fail to conserve, focusing on one dimension/aspect of a situation.
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Concrete operational (7-12years)?
de-centric thinking becomes possible. The child can consider another’s perspective. They also acquire the ability to conserve, starting with number and ending with volume. However, the child cannot reason in the abstract
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Concrete operational (7-12years)? 2
(about anything that is not within their experience or that can’t be physically manipulated), i.e. discussing concepts such as community, spirituality, and consciousness are incomprehensible to them unless related to things within their own experienc
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examples of own experiances concrete operational?
i.e. for community they could discuss how they feel towards people in their school, and what they expect from others in their school
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Formal operational (12+years)
abstract reasoning develops.
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Qualitative changes?
it is not the amount of information a child can process which changes- it is the way they process information which changes.
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Piaget stated the child was a young scientist, who needed to construct his/her own representations of the world through manipulating objects and ideas for him/herself.
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constructivist 2? the role of the teacher
The role of the teacher was merely to facilitate the child’s interaction with objects and concepts, providing stimulating environments and opportunities for enquiry or discovery learning.
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), aim?
To determine the age at which egocentric thinking declines, i.e. when the concrete operational stage starts.
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956) sample?
4, 5, 6, 7 , and 8 year olds
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), method?
quasi experiment
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), procedure?
The child is shown a model of 3 mountains with different objects visible from each side. They are asked to circle the mountain to see it from all perspectives. Immediately afterwards, a doll is placed on a different side of the mountain to the child
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), procedure? 2
The child is given 10 black and white photographs of the 3 mountains and asked which photograph represents what the doll can see. This is repeated for different aspects of the mountain.
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), findings?
4-5 year olds almost always picked a photograph showing their own perspective. 6 year olds often chose a different perspective but not the correct one. 7-8year olds always selected the correct photograph representing the doll’s perspective.
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), conclusion?
The concrete operational stage begins around age 7 as egocentrism declines.
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Evidence Piaget & Inhelder (1956), critique?
Piaget’s methods of testing young children’s cognitive abilities were too complex for the child to understand. A lack of understanding of what they were required to do, or poor working memory, may have confounded the children’s performance.
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critique 2?
Therefore, Piaget’s stages may be invalid meaning any educational programme based on them would be inappropriate.
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hughes (1975)
tested children’s egocentrism using a policeman doll task which did not require children to remember what they had previously seen of a model, and had simpler instructions. The child was shown a model of 2 intersecting walls (in a cross-shape).
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hudges 2?
A policeman doll was placed at the end of one of the walls, and the child was given a boy doll they were asked to hide from the policeman. 90% of 4-5year olds could complete the task successfully
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hudges 3?
, even when 2 policeman dolls were used at the end of two walls next to each other, showing many 4 year olds could even take two other perspectives into account. This suggests the concrete operational stage develops far earlier than Piaget estimated.
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huges 4?
Piaget’s theory has been useful in education in designing a curriculum which is developmentally appropriate.
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huges 5?
Reductionism: Piaget ignored the role of socio-cultural factors in shaping a child’s cognitive abilities and view of the world.
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huges 6?
It supports nature and nurture because children are born with a biological drive to construct representative schema of the world but they construct these schema through manipulating their environment
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huges 7?
It assumes children in all cultures will develop the same cognitive abilities at the same point in their biological maturation, although Piaget mainly tested on his own Swiss children, making it ethnocentric.
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Vygotsky cultural factors?
Children’s cognitive abilities may develop differently depending on their culture, i.e. people from different cultures may reason differently.
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Zone of proximal development?
Children can develop faster if supported by more knowledgeable others, as long as the more mature tutor models how they are solving the problem and the problem is only just beyond what the child could achieve on their own.
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Development can be accelerated by supporting a child through a task, but gradually removing support as this task is serially repeated
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scaffoliding example?
when a child is learning to count, a teacher may first hold their finger and do the counting for them whilst touching each object; then , they would repeat the task, getting the child to count with them, then they would repeat it
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scaffolding examples 2?
getting the child to count with them but with only the child touching each object, then they would repeat the task with only the child counting.
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The child verbalises how they are solving a problem as a way of directing thought. As they develop, this form of language is internalised as inner speech, and separated from social, verbalised language intended to communicate.
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evidence, freund 1990?
children were asked to categorise which items of furniture belonged in which rooms, by placing them in a dolls house. Half played with the doll’s house with their mother (ZPD condition) followed by completing the task alone
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evidence, freund 1990? 2
half completed the task alone (Piaget’s discovery learning condition). Those who had previously played with their mother completed the task better than those who completed the task alone
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what does this support?
e knowledgeable other can accelerate cognitive development. However, the task lacks ecological validity: if a child places furniture in an inappropriate room, it may not be because they don’t understand how to categorise furniture in a real house
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how is the task ethnocentric?
rooms may be furnished differently depending on the culture you are raised in. Finally, how the mother interacted with their child could not be standardised.
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critique? unscientific
His theory is unscientific because it lacks falsifiability. Although researchers can test whether children show better cognitive performance after scaffolding from a more knowledgeable other, than before
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critique 2?
Vygotsky did not clearly define what the zone of proximal development was, meaning it is difficult to use this research to support ZPD
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critique 3? lacks usefulnes
The theory lacks usefulness because it doesn’t explain why children are motivated to learn, unlike Piaget who suggested it was a biological drive to maintain equilibrium.
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critique 4? usefullness and reductionisum
Usefulness: it has been used in the classroom, with strategies such as scaffolding being implemented by teachers, and the use of peer mentoring schemes. * Reductionism: it ignores the role of biological maturati
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critique 5? nurture and culture
It supports nurture as it suggests that children acquire their abilities from their culture and through interaction with more advanced others. It considers that culture may influence the way in which we cognitively develop meaning it is less ethnocen
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key research?
Wood Bruner, & Ross (1976)
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Wood et al. wanted to investigate if and how children of different ages responded to ‘tutoring’ when they had a problem to solve.
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30 middle-class children from Massachusetts, aged 3-5years were used, with equal genders and equal numbers in the three years, four years and five years age group
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research method?
Controlled observation of children’s interactions with a tutor.
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They carried out a wooden pyramid puzzle task on a one-to-one basis with the same female tutor in sessions lasting 20mins-1hr. The blocks attached using pegs and holes.
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The tutor worked in a standardised way with each child. She had to try to ensure that the child did as much by his or herself as possible, with some verbal instructions where needed and, only if these failed to help the child, did she intervene
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procedure 2?
The child was first given 5mins of free play with the blocks. Then the tutor showed the child how to pair the blocks and asked the child to make more like the one she’s modelled
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procedure 3?
If the child had worked it out on their own, she just told them to make more like the one they’d already made. The tutor provided an atmosphere of approval during the task, but was instructed not to praise the child.
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procedure 4?
When the child stopped constructing the pyramid or got into difficulty with their construction, the tutor intervened in standardised ways
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standerised tutor intervention? 1
If the child continued to play with the blocks, rather than constructing a pyramid, the tutor presented the paired blocks to the child again.
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standerised tutor intervention? 2
If the child was trying to assemble blocks but had overlooked a part of how they fitted together, the tutor would again present the blocks they had paired as a model, and ask the child to compare what they had constructed with the model to see if it
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standerised tutor intervention? 3
If the child was able to pair blocks, the tutor only pointed out errors.
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Event sampling was used: assisted (by tutor) and unassisted number of pairs made was recorded.
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scoring 2?
ifthe pairs were correct it was recorded as a matched pair, and if incorrect it was recorded as a mismatched pair. How the child responded to making a mismatch was also recorded: whether they rejected it and discarded it
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scoring 2 extra?
or whether they rejected it and took it apart, or whether they accepted it as assembled.
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what were the interventions by the tutor recorded as?
Direct assistance o Verbal error prompt (‘does this look like my one?’) o Verbal prompt to carry on (‘Can you make some more like this?’)
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results and conclusions?
Inter-rater reliability: Two scorers, working independently, achieved 94% agreement when observing and scoring 594 events from video-tape of the child/tutor interactions
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observation of tutorials 1?
All age groups were able to recognise incorrectly constructed pairs, demonstrated by the fact that children of all ages tended to take apart mismatched blocks, although younger children could not reconstruct them correctly
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observation of tutorials 2?
(the 3 year olds had a ratio of incorrect to correct pairings of 9:1). This implies that the younger children can comprehend a correctly constructed pyramid before they can produce it. This provides some support for Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Develo
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observation of tutorials 3?
Older children did better than younger children in the tasks, producing a larger number of correct constructions in which they actually put self-made pieces of the puzzle together correctly for themselves: 75% of 5 year olds acts were unassisted
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observation of tutorials 4?
whereas only 10% of 3 year olds were, and 50% of 4 year olds. This provides some support for a stage theory of development like Piaget’s: that children are not capable of certain cognitive functions until they have achieved biological maturation
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observation of tutorials 5?
Success rates of intervention where the tutor modelled pairing the blocks correctly were higher than success rates of intervention where the tutor verbally explained how the pair the blocks/ errors the child had made in their pairings, for all age gr
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what does the observation from tutorials 5 suggest?
This suggests modelling by a more knowledgeable other (supporting Vygotsky) is more effective in enhancing cognitive performance than verbal instruction
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observation of tutorials 6?
3 year olds rejected the tutor’s assistance much more often than 5 year olds (median number of rejection was 11 per session, compared to less than 1 per session in 5 year olds). This suggests - tutoring may be ineffective -3 year olds for some tasks
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observation of tutorials 7?
The tutor conformed to the standardized procedure least frequently with the 4 year olds (86% of the time). The majority of her ‘errors’ with the 4 year olds was due to a tendency to offer more help than was allowed by the rules.
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observation of tutorials 8?
In this age group, the tutor is faced with a great deal of relatively unstructured behaviour from a child who initiates most of the task activity himself but often doesn’t complete the task in an easy-to-follow serial order.
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observastions of tutorials 9?
This makes it difficult to compare the performance across the 3 groups, as there was a lack of internal reliability. It also suggests that it is difficult to train tutors in how to interact with 4 year olds
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what does the approach have to be?
the approach has to be more individualized which again raises issues of reliability if applied in the field.
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 1?
Recruitment – getting the students interested in the task and to stop imaginative (free) play
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 2?
Reduction in degrees of freedom –breaking the task down into components so the learner can recognize whether they are carrying out that step correctly.
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 3?
Direction maintenance – maintaining focus on the task and giving direction so child feels confident taking the next step
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 4?
Marking critical features –giving feedback on what has been carried out correctly and how it could be improved.
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 5?
Frustration control – tutor provides supportive comments and reduces student stress
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fuctions of tutor in effective scaffloring are 6?
Demonstration – modelling how to do the task so the learner can imitate.
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what does wood et al say about the scaffolding process? 1
the scaffolding process works as follows: at the start if the task, the learner and tutor have different mental representations of the task; the tutor then models the task which the child can imitate without comprehending (understanding)
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what does wood et al say about the scaffolding process? 2
the child repeats this with the tutor correcting any errors and affirming what they’ve done correctly and the child needs less feedback, the more examples they produce for themselves;
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what does wood et al say about the scaffolding process? 3
finally, how to complete the task is internalised and the child self-regulates their completion of it, i.e. corrects their own errors and talks him/herself through the procedure.
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application, Cognitive strategy to improve revision or learning grant?
showed that memory for meaningful material can be improved by reinstating context the material was learned in, at the retrieval (testing) stage.
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application grant?
Participants in the silent or nosiy test/recall conditions did better on a multiple-choice and short-answer tests than participants who learned and recalled the information, from the article on psychoimmunology, in different auditory conditions
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what does grants study suggest?
This suggests that students would remember more in exams if they revised or were taught material in silence, as exams are usually held in silence.
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smith (1979) application? 1
showed that reimagining the environment you learned in during testing can aid retrieval as well as physically recreating the context
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smith application? 2
Students given words to learn in a basement, when tested the next day in an upstairs room, imagining the basement, recalled 17/80 words, and participants tested in the basement again recalled 18/80 words,
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smith application 3?
whereas those tested in the upstairs room, without being instructed to imagine the room they learned in, only recalled 12/80.
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application, Craik and Lockhart’s Levels of processing? 1
theory suggests that information which is processed more deeply will be more easily remembered. Therefore, intermediate processing (phonemic processing by revising using auditory mnemonics
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application, Craik and Lockhart’s Levels of processing? 2
i.e. rhymes like ‘You need to aim high with your Spear(mans) and your Chi (squared)’ is more effective than shallow processing
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application, Craik and Lockhart’s Levels of processing? 3
but the best level of processing to enhance recall is deep processing (understanding the information), i.e. drawing your own conclusions from findings should help you remember the findings
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craik (1975)?
) provided support for this. A list of printed words were presented to different groups of participants:
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groups 1 and 2?
Group 1: Had to answer a structural question (Is the word written in capital letters?) SHALLOW * Group 2: Had to carry out an acoustic task (Does the word rhyme with ‘dog’?) INTERMEDIATE
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groups 3?
Group 3: Had to carry out a semantic task (Is it the name of a living thing?) DEEP
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craik 2?
The Deep processing group recalled the most words on the list showing that this level of processing is the most effective way of remembering information.
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craik 3?
Deep processing allows us to form more connections with existing information scored in our schema, making retrieval easier as the info can be accessed through a greater number of pathways.
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application miller? 1956?
found that the capacity of our working memory is limited to 7 (+/-2) chunks of information, therefore mnemonic devices such as acronyms (using the first letter of each word to create a memorable word
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miller 1956 2?
i.e. N.O.I.R. for levels of data) maximise the short-term memory capacity by condensing a number of terms, items or concepts into a single word.
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Card 2


Biological drive?


: Piaget suggested that humans are born with a biological drive to maintain equilibrium (ensuring our mental representations- schema- about our experience of the world) to avoid cognitive dissonance- a stressor

Card 3


how do we achieve biological drive?


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Card 4


what happens when too many instances occur?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


biological maturation?


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