Cognition and development

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What are schemas?
Are mental structures that represent a group of related concepts such as your schemas for a dog.They can be behavioural or cognitive
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Name some examples of schemas children may have when they are born
Th grasping effect, mental representation of the human face
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From birth how do schemas develop?
As a result of interactions with the environment as new experiences lead to new schemas being developed
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What are the two ways that Piaget proposed that schemas can become more complex
Assimilation & Accommodation
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What is assimilation?
A child initially tries to understand any new information in terms of their existing knowledge about the world and occurs when an existing schemas is used on a new object
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What is an example of assimilation?
A baby who is given a new toy car to play with my grasp or **** that toy in the same way that they grasped or ****ed a rattle
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What is accommodation?
Occurs when a child adapts existing schema in order to understand new information that doesn't appear to fit.
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What is the driving force beyond these changes?
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Why might there be a state of imbalance?
When an experience cannot be assimilated into existing schemas
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How is this state of imbalance experienced?
As an unpleasant state and individual seeks to restore balance through a process called equilibration
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What is cognitive develop the result of?
Adaptation between the individuals existing schemas and environmental demands for change
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What is the first stage of Piaget's stages of intellectual development?
Sensorimotor stage 0-2 years
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What is the sensorimotor stage?
The task for the infant is first to learn to co-ordinate sensory input with motor actions. Key development at this stage is object permanence. This stage requires the ability to form a mental representation of the object
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What happens around the age of 8 months?
They realise that objects that are out of sight still do exist
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What is the second stage of Piaget's stages of intellectual development?
Pre-operational stage 2-7 years
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What is the pre-operational stage?
Children have a kind of logic but it can't be used as a basis for understanding how the world really works. This lack of logic-based reasoning means that children rely on what they see
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What are children like in there thinking?
Egocentric - see the world from their position and are not aware of other perspectives.
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How did Piaget illustrate egocentric thinking?
Using the 3 mountains task - children were shown a set of pictures & asked to choose the one which shows the dolls perspective. 4 yr old children tended to choose their own perspective, rather than the dolls
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What is the third stage of Piaget's stages of intellectual development?
Concrete operational stage 7-11 years
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What is the concrete operational stage?
Children acquire the rudiments of logical reasoning. Piaget believed that conservation was single most important achievement of this stage as it provides evidence of child's command of logical operations
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What are children lacking at this stage?
The ability to think in the abstract
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What is the fourth stage of Piaget's stages of intellectual development?
Formal operational stage - 11+ years
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What is the formal operational stage?
Children can now solve abstract problems using hypothetic-deductive reasoning (thinking like a scientist). Display idealistic thinking - no longer tied to how things are but are able to imagine how things might be if certain things are changed
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What did Vygotsky propose that children are born with?
Elementary mental functions such as perception and memory. These are transformed into higher mental functions by the influence of culture.
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What are elementary mental functions?
They are biological and a form of natural development & higher mental functions are exclusively human
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What is the role of culture?
To transform elementary mental functions into higher mental functions
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How does Vygotsky propose children learn?
Through problem-solving experiences shared with someone else, usually a parent or teacher. All people with greater knowledge than the child are known as experts
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What happens initially?
The person interacting with the child assumes most of the responsibility for guiding the problem-solving activity but gradually the responsibility moves to the child
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How did Vygotsky believe that culture is transmitted by experts?
Using semiotics i.e. the signs & symbols developed within a particular culture. Language is the semiotic system of foremost importance, but mathematical symbols are valuable too
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What happens as the child develops the skill of mental representation?
They begin to communicate with themselves, in this way language enables intellectual development
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According to Vygosky how does each function of a childs cognitive development appear?
First on a social level and later on the individual level
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What do social experiences enable?
The development of higher mental functions and social experiences depend on these of semiotics such as language
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A childs zone of proximal development the region for?
Where cognitive development takes placed unlike Piaget, Vygotsky believed that learning precedes development
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What does Baillargeon’s research aim to discover?
The unsuspected abilities of newborns & young children. Conducting research is very different as infants can't easily indicate what they are thinking
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What may an apparent lack of ability be due to?
Motor difficulties rather than a lack of mental ability e.g. in case of object permanence Baillargeon suggested reason infants didn't search for objects was because they can't plan & execute necessary actions not failure to understand OP
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How did Baillargeon overcome this?
He developed a technique called violation of expectation research
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Outline the procedure of Baillargeon & DeVos' study
In rolling carrot task there was a large/small carrot sliding along a track & hidden at one point by a screen with large window.
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How is the track arranged?
So hat large carrot should be visible as it passes behind the window
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What is the impossible event?
Is the large carrot not appearing as if an infant doesn't have object permanence, they show surprise when shown this
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What did Baillargeon & DeVos find?
That children as young as 3 months demonstrated object permanence when tested this way. Infants looked longer at large carrot, presumably expecting top half to be visible behind window
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What did Baillargeon et al suggested infants are?
Primarily equipped with mechanisms to interpret & learn from experience, calling this a physical reasoning system.
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How does this differ from Piaget?
It suggests that infants are born with innate mechanisms that give infants a head start
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What did Baillargeon propose?
That when infants learn to reason about novel physical phenomenon, they first form all-or-none concept. Later they add to this in terms of other variables that may affect the concept
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How has Baillargeon extended her work?
By understanding children physiological work, such as understanding false beliefs in others & having a sense of fairness
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How have Song & Baillargeon tested violation of expectation to test false beliefs in very young children?
Infant watches as a woman is shown two toys: a skunk and a doll with blue pigtails. In a variety of task the woman is seen to always reach for the doll, indicating a preference for this toy
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What happens in the test trail?
The two toys are placed in boxes - the skunk is placed in a box that has blue hair protruding from it and the doll is placed in a plain box.
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What is the question of the study?
Where do they think the woman thinks the doll is?
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What does the infant then watch?
The woman going to open one of the boxes
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What did Song et al find?
. Infants as young as 14.5 months old showed more surprise if the woman opened the box without the blue hair protruding even though the infant knows the preferred doll is in the plain box, they expect the woman to hold a false belief
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What was Selman's theory of social development based on?
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What is perspective-taking?
When a child takes someone else's perspective, this enables them to have insight into what other people think & feel and these become progressively deeper
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How did Selman conduct research on children's perspective-taking abilities?
By using a series of dilemmas which expose the childs reasoning when faced with conflicting feelings.
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What did the dilemmas require the children to do?
Take on someone elses perspective
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How did Selman conduct a five-stage model of the development of perspective-taking?
By using the children's answers to his questions about the dilemmas
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What is a key feature of the stage theory?
Is the progression from being egocentric & unaware of any perspective but their own to being quite mature & considering a number of perspectives
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What is stage 0 called?
Undifferentiated perspective-taking 3-6 years
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What happens at the Undifferentiated perspective-taking stage
Children can distinguish between self and others but are largely governed by their own perspective
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What is stage 1 called?
Social informational perspective-taking 6-8 years
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What happens at the Social informational perspective-taking stage?
Children are aware of perspectives that are different to their own but assume that this is because others have different information
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What is stage 2 called?
Self-reflective perspective-taking 8-10 years
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What happens at the Self-reflective perspective-taking stage?
Child can now view their own thoughts and feelings from someone else’s perspective and recognise that others do the same
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What is stage 3 called?
Mutual perspective-taking 10-12 years
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What happens at the Mutual perspective-taking stage?
Can step outside a two-person situation and imagine how the self and other are viewed from the point of view of a third, impartial partly. Child can consider two viewpoints simultaneously
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What is stage 4 called?
Societal perspective-taking 12-15 years+
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What happens at the Societal perspective-taking stage?
Personal decisions are now made with reference to social conventions
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Who discovered mirror neurons?
Discovered accidentally by Rizzolatti et al
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What were the researchers actually recording?
Neural activity in the motor cortex of macaque monkeys
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What did they find?
Certain neurons in the F5 area of the premotor cortex became active when the monkey wasn’t doing anything itself but was watching another monkey perform an action
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What would happen if the monkey repeated the action itself?
Same neurons became active
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Why is imitation important?
In the attainment of skill behaviours, where observer watches how someone else performs an action & then copies that behaviour. So imitation is at the beginning of development of social cognition
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Whats a second aspect of imitation?
Behavioural regulation
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What is behavioural regulaation?
Mirror neuron response is generally 'off line' as 'on line' behaviour is when you watch someone &immediately repeated the behaviour as observation behaviour link is on
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What have researchers found about mirror neurons?
That they record more than just the imitation of motor activity as it appears they also represent intentions in humans i.e. what they intend to do
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What did Iacoboni et al find?
That the highest level of mirror activity was in inferior frontal cortex during intention clip
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What does this show?
Tha this area of brain is concerned with understanding why a person was behaving in a certain way, as otherwise there would have been similar level of activity from other clips
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What is the next developmental step from understanding intentions?
To understand the thoughts of others
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What did Gallese et al claim?
That mirror neurons may be seen as 'part of' a more general mind-reading ability as they enable us to experience someone elses actions as if they are our own
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What does this suggest?
That mirror neurons are the mechanism by which we understand another persons perspective i.e. when we develop theory of mind
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How do mirror neurons play a role in language development?
The beginning of learning to use language involves the imitation of speech sounds & this is likely to involve mirror neurons
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What did Binkofski et als study of bran imaging techniques find?
Evidence of mirror neurons in Broca's area which is involved in speech produced & is human equivalent of F5 area where mirror neurons were first found in macaque monkeys
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Name some examples of schemas children may have when they are born


Th grasping effect, mental representation of the human face

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From birth how do schemas develop?


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Card 4


What are the two ways that Piaget proposed that schemas can become more complex


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What is assimilation?


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