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Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

A. Knowledge is the product of direct motor behavior in infants.
B. All children pass through a series of universal stages in a fixed order.
1. Sensorimotor
2. Preoperational
3. Concrete operations
4. Formal operations
C. Infants have mental structures called SCHEMES, organized patterns of sensorimotor
D. Two principles underlie the growth in children's schemes:
5. ASSIMILATION is when people understand an experience in terms of their current stage of
cognitive development and way of thinking.
6. ACCOMMODATION is change in existing ways of thinking that occur in response to encounters
with new stimuli or events.
Piaget’s initial stage of cognitive development, can be broken down into six substages.
7. Substage 1: Simple reflexes
a. First month of life
b. Various reflexes determine the infant's interaction with world.
8. Substage 2: First habits and primary circular reactions
c. A CIRCULAR REACTION is an activity that permits the construction of cognitive
schemes through repetition of a chance motor event.
d. One to 4 months of age
e. Primary circular reactions are the infant’s repeating of interesting or enjoyable actions on his
or her own body.
9. Substage 3: Secondary circular reactions
f. Four to 8 months of age
g. Begins to act on world (e.g., shakes rattle)
h. Secondary circular reactions are repeated actions meant to bring about a desirable
consequence on the outside world.
10. Substage 4: Coordination of secondary circular reactions
i. Eight to 12 months of age
j. Employ GOAL-DIRECTED BEHAVIOR, where several schemes are combined and
coordinated to generate a single act to solve a problem.
k. Beginings of OBJECT PERMANENCE, the realization that people and objects exist even
when they cannot be seen.
11. Substage 5: Tertiary circular reactions
l. Twelve to 18 months of age
m. Tertiary circular reactions are the deliberate variation of actions to bring desirable
12. Substage 6: Beginning of thought
n. Eighteen to 24 months of age
o. Capacity for MENTAL REPRESENTATION, an internal image of a past event or object.
(1) Permits the child to understand causality.
(2) The child gains the ability to use DEFERRED IMITATION, in which
a person who is no longer present is imitated by children who have witnessed a
similar act.
II. INFORMATION PROCESSING APPROACHES identify how individuals take in, use, and store
F. Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval: The Foundations of Information Processing
13. Encoding is the process by which information is initially recorded in a form usable to memory.
14. Storage refers to the maintenance of material saved in memory.
15. Retrieval is the process by which material in memory storage is located, brought into awareness, and
G. MEMORY is the process by which information is initially recorded, stored, and retrieved.
16. Infant's memories improve with age.
17. Research suggests that memory during infancy is initially dependent upon the hippocampus.
18. Research shows INFANTILE AMNESIA, the lack of memory for experiences that occurred prior to
3 years of age.
p. Although memories are stored from early infancy, they cannot be easily retrieved.
H. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory
19. There are two separate systems involved in long-term memory.
20. These two systems are explicit and implicit memory.
a. Implicit memory, not consciously aware memories, such as motor skills is the forerunner of
explicit memory
q. Explicit memory, conscious and recalled intentionally, such as recalling a name evolves later
than implicit memory
21. Assessing Information Processing Approaches
r. Rather than focusing on broad explanations of the qualitative changes that occur, as Piaget’s
does, information processing looks at quantitative change.
III. The Roots of Language
I. LANGUAGE is the systematic, meaningful arrangement of symbols, and provides the basis for
J. Language has several formal characteristics that must be mastered as linguistic competence is
22. Phonology refers to the basic sounds of language, called phonemes, that can be combined to produce
23. Morphemes are the smallest language unit that has meaning.
24. Semantics are the rules that govern the meaning of words and sentences.
K. Language is closely tied to the way infants think and how they understand the world.
25. Linguistic comprehension is the understanding of speech.
26. Linguistic production is the use of language to communicate.
27. Comprehension precedes production.
28. Infants show PRELINGUISTIC COMMUNICATION through sounds, facial expressions,
gestures, imitations, and other nonlinguistic means.
s. BABBLING is when infants make speechlike but meaningless sounds at about 2 to 3 months
of age continuing to about 1 year.
t. Babbling is a universal phenomenon.
29. First words are generally spoken between 10 and 14 months of age.
u. First words are typically HOLOPHRASES, one-word utterances that depend on the
particular context in which they are used to determine meaning.
30. By age 18 months, infants are linking words in sentences using TELEGRAPHIC SPEECH where
words not critical to the message are left out.
v. UNDEREXTENSION, using words too restrictively, is common.
w. OVEREXTENSION, using words too broadly, is also common.
x. Some infants use a REFERENTIAL STYLE of language use in which language is used
primarily to label objects.
y. Others use an EXPRESSIVE STYLE, of language use in which language is used primarily
to express feelings and needs about oneself and others.
L. The Origins of Language Development
31. LEARNING THEORY APPROACH suggests that language acquisition follows the basic laws of
reinforcement and conditioning.
z. It does not explain how children produce novel phrases, sentences, and constructions, such as
nonsense words, using correct grammar.
32. An alternative theory is the NATIVIST APPROACH, which proposes that a genetically
determined, innate mechanism directs language development.
aa. Proposed by Noam Chomsky
bb. The brain is wired with a LANGUAGE-ACQUISITION DEVICE (LAD), a neural system
of the brain hypothesized to permit the understanding of language.
33. An alternative approach unites both schools of thought; the interactionist perspective suggests that
language development is produced through a combination of genetically determined
predispositions and environmental events.
M. Speaking to Children: The Language of Infant-Directed Speech
34. INFANT-DIRECTED SPEECH, a type of speech directed towards infants, characterized by short,
simple sentences.
cc. This type was previously called motherese.
(3) Pitch of voice becomes higher.
(4) Intonation may be singsong.
(5) Typically only used during first year.
35. Research shows that parents use different language for boys than for girls.
dd. They use diminutives more with girls, warmer phrases and more emotional referents and tend
to make refusals less direct.
ee. Boys tend to hear firmer, clearer language.