Chapter 6 - Cognitive Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
Chapter 6 - Cognitive Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood
Language Development: children typically say their first word at 12 months of age
Three Theories of Language Development - research suggests that there is a biologically-based sensitive period for optimum language development but the timeframe and boundaries are unclear
BEHAVIORIST PERSPECTIVE: Language learning occurs through 1) OPERANT CONDITIONING - as the baby makes sounds, parents reinforce those most like words with smiles, hugs and speech; and b) IMITATION - combines with reinforcement to promote language, for example, getting a desired object after requesting it
Behaviorist perspective is incomplete: children say lots of things that are not reinforced by/copied from others; and they are selective on what they copy
CHOMSKY'S NATIVIST PERSPECTIVE: all children have a LANGUAGE ACQUISTION DEVICE, an innate system containing grammar, or set of rules common to all languages, that enables them to understand and speak as soon as they pick up enough words
Support for Chomsky's view that human infants are biologically primed to acquire language: efforts to teach language to nonhuman primates has been met with limited success
Language-specific areas of the brain: if the left-hemispheric regions are injured in the early years, other regions of the brain will take over its language functions.
WERNICKE'S AREA: Found in left temporal lobe, plays a role in comprehending word meaning
BROCA'S AREA: found in the left front lobe, supports grammatical processing and language production
Challenges to Chomsky's theory
The idea that grammatical knowledge is innately determined does not fit - as children learn, experimentation and learning are involved
Researchers have great difficulty specifying Chomsky's universal grammar - no complete description exists
INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT - blends behaviorist and language processing perspectives
Applying the information processing lens to language development - language involves powerful cognitive capacities to be understood
Second, emphasizes social interaction - child primes caregivers to provide appropriate language experiences
Getting Ready to Talk
BABBLING: repeated consonant-vowel combinations (often in long strings) that babies start to make at 6 months old; deaf babies babble too, but must be exposed to sign language for baby to continue babbling. Cochlear implants before age 2 allow deaf infants to catch up with their peers
COOING: vowel like noises that babies make at approximately 2 months of age
JOINT ATTENTION: occur when child and caregiver attend to the same object or event; helps language development by having the baby establish a "common ground" with adult so they can better anticipate what the adult means.
Adults can practice turn taking with playing pat a cake and peekaboo, simulate the give and take of human conservation
PREVERBAL GESTURES: examples are gaze following, pointing. Using gestures is tied to using language and leads to desired results. Babies begin to modify their message to suit others' intention and knowledge.
Nature of toddlers' first words: build on sensorimotor foundations and on categories they have formed - people, objects that move, foods, animals, familiar actions, social terms
Common errors made by young children as they learn words
UNDEREXTENSION: when young children first learn words, they sometimes apply them too narrowly
OVEREXTENSION: applying a word to a wider collection of objects and events than is appropriate. Occurs when vocabulary expands.
Two-Word Utterance Phase
Developments that support rapid vocab growth during toddlerhood
Broad experiences lead to a wider range of interesting objects and events to reveal
Construction of a clearer self-image - they add more words that refer to themselves
Improvements in ability to categorize experience, recall words, and grasp others' social cues (ex: eye gaze, pointing, handling objects)
TELEGRAPHIC SPEECH: two-word utterances that focus on high-content words, omitting smaller, less important ones. Examples: "mommy shoe," "go car," "more cookie"
Comprehension versus Production
LANGUAGE PRODUCTION: language one uses; requires that children recognize only the meaning of the word
LANGUAGE COMPREHENSION: Language one understands; requires that children must recall not only the word but also the concept for which it stands
Individual and Cultural Differences: generally, the more words that caregivers use, the more children use. SES and hours of reading majorly influence language development
REFERENTIAL STYLE: vocabulary consists mainly of words that refer to objects; active interest in exploring objects, vocabulary increase faster. Believe that words are for naming things. Associated with faster vocabulary development.
Associated with American mothers who label objects when interacting with their babies.
EXPRESSIVE STYLE: produce way more social formulas and pronouns; highly sociable; often use verbal routines that support social development. Believe that words are for talking about people's needs and feelings.
Associated with Asian culture. Asian languages have more words for actions and social routines and emphasize actions and social routines.
Supporting Early Language Development
Ways caregivers can support early language learning
Play social games
Engage toddlers in joint, make-believe play
Establish joint attention and comment on what child sees
Engage toddlers in frequent conversations
Respond to coos and babbles with speech sounds and words
Read to toddlers and talk to them about it
Child-directed speech is characterized by
Distinct pauses between speech segments
Clear gestures to support verbal meaning
Repetition of new words in a variety of contexts
Short sentences with high-pitched, exaggerated expression
Deaf kids: over 90% of deaf kids have parents non-fluent in sign language
Outcomes for deaf kids with deaf parents: resemble those of typical, hearing children and hearing parents
Outcomes for deaf kids with hearing parents: less positive, parents less responsive to child's efforts to communicate, less effective at joint attention and turn-taking, less involved in play and more directive and intrusive; delayed in language development and make-believe play, achieve poorly in school, deficient in social skills and display impulse control problems.
Agrees with Piaget - children are active, inquiring beings who interact with their environment
Structure of the Information-Processing System
WORKING or SHORT-TERM MEMORY - area in which mental strategies are used to synthesize information
LONG-TERM MEMORY - the largest storage area, comprising the brain's permanent knowledge base
SENSORY REGISTER - area where sights and sounds are represented directly and briefly stored
CENTRAL EXECUTIVE: conscious part of mind; coordinates incoming information with information already in the system; controls attention; selects, applies and monitors the effectiveness of strategies
Structure of the brain changes little throughout life; however, the capacity, which is the amount of information that can be retained and processed and the speed with which it can be processed.
Gains in information processing capacity
Improvements in strategies around attending to and categorizing it effectively
3 ways which attention improves during infancy
Have less difficulty disengaging attention from interesting stimuli
Have increasingly flexible, voluntary and future-oriented attention
Require less time to habituate and recover to novel visual stimuli
Towards toddlerhood, attention to novelty declines and sustained attention improves, increasing the capacity for goal-directed behavior
For operant learning experiences, memory is highly context dependent
Habituation research shows that infants can learn and retain information, just by watching objects and events, without being physically active.
RECALL MEMORY: More challenging memory type because it involves remembering somethings without perceptual support, and involves generating a mental image of the past experience
Babies engage in recall memory by the middle of their 1st year, as they can imitate actions hours and/or days after observing their behavior, which improves steadily with age
RECOGNITION MEMORY: noticing when a stimulus is identical or similar to one previously experiences. Easiest form of memory.
INFANTILE AMNESIA: the phenomenon that most of us cannot retrieve events that happened to us before age 3.
Two explanations for infantile amnesia
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. Changes in frontal cortex paves way for an explicit memory system (where children remember deliberately)
NONVERBAL MEMORY PROCESSING of infants prevents long-term retention of early experiences
At first, children rely heavily on nonverbal memory techniques like visual images and motor actions, then memories begin to be represented verbally and approximately 3 years of age.
Brain development and adult-children interaction bring an end to infantile amnesia, by fostering self-awareness, interaction, language and improved memory
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY: recall of personally meaningful one-time events from both the recent and the distant past
Categorization helps infants make sense of experience by grouping similar things into fewer representations and decreases the enormous amount of information they encounter everyday so they can learn and remember
Infants can start categorizing familiar things at around 6 months on.
Variations among language lead to cultural differences in categorical development in babies
Views on how infants can categotical knowledge
Move from perceptual to conceptual basis for categorization (common functions of behavior)
Core Knowledge - there is an inherited foundation of conceptual knowledge, which is enlarged and refined with experience
Become increasingly sensitive to fine perceptual features and stable relationships
Evaluation of Information-Processing Findings
Challenges PIAGET as infant's capacity to recall events and to categorize stimuli attests to their ability to mentally represent their experiences. Piaget underestimated babies' abilities.
Greatest drawback: analyzing cognition into its components mean that it is difficult to put these back together into a broad, comprehensive theory
Supports the CONTINUOUS PROCESS of human thinking from infancy into adulthood
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN EARLY MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
Difficult to measure babies' intelligence because young babies cannot answer questions or follow directions. They respond to stimuli and their responses are observed. Most infant tests emphasize perceptual and motor responses.
Should not be used to predict future intelligence because babies are easily distracted fatigued, or bored during the testing, and the perceptual and motor tasks differ a lot from IQ tests for older kids (scores do not reflect their true abilities)
Most commonly used infant IQ test = Bayley Scales of Infant Development for children between 1 month and 3.5 years
INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT (IQ): computing by intelligence tests, indicates the extent to which to raw score deviates from the typical performance of same-age individuals; average score is 100
NORMAL DISTRIBUTION: occurs when most scores cluster around the mean, with progressively fewer falling toward the extremes.
STANDARDIZATION: during test construction, giving tests to a large, representative sample and using the results as the standard for interpreting scores
Early Environment and Mental Development
Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) - a checklist for gathering info about the quality of children's home lives through observation and parental interview.
Factors evaluated by HOME
Provision of appropriate play materials
Opportunities for variety in daily stimulation
Emotional and verbal responsiveness of the parent
Organization of the physical environment
Parental acceptance of the child
Parental involvement with the child
Aspects of HOME that predict better language and IQ scores: organized, stimulating physical setting, parental affection, parental involvement, encouragement of new skills, and the extent of which parents talk to infants and toddlers
Factors affecting mental test scores
Heredity: Intelligent parents provide better experiences while also giving birth to genetically brighter children, who evoke more stimulation from their parents. This is also known as GENETIC-ENVIRONMENTAL CORRELATION
Home environment: Less crowded homes have more verbally responsive parents.
Impact of child care: increasingly relevant has more than 60% of US mothers with children under age 2 are employed.
High-quality child care: can decrease the impact of a crappy home and increase benefits of growing up economically advantaged. Increased cognitive, emotional, and social competence in middle childhood and adolescence.
Low-quality child care: decreased scores on cognitive, language and social skill measures during preschool and elementary school years.
In the US, there is poor, substandard care. Approximately 3/4 of settings do not provide sufficiently positive, stimulating experiences to promote healthy psychological development.
For-profit care available to middle-SES families is usually of the lowest quality. Lower-SES kids attend subsidized, nonprofit centers with smaller group sizes and better teacher-child ratios.
Signs of developmentally appropriate practice in infant and toddler child care
Toys/equipment - materials are appropriate, stored on low shelves within easy reach. Cribs, high chairs, infant seats and child sized tables and chairs available.
Caregiver-child ratio: 1:3 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers
Physical settings - things are clean, in good repair, well-lighted and well-ventilated. Not overcrowded and fenced outdoor play space available.
Daily activities: include time for active play, quiet play, naps, snacks and meals. Flexible rather than rigid. Atmosphere is warm and supportive.
Interactions among adults and children
Relationships with parents
Licensing and accreditation
Early Intervention for At-Risk Infants and Toddlers: The earlier intervention begins, the longer it lasts, the greats its scope and intensity, the better participants' cognitive and academic performance is throughout childhood and adolescence
Center-based interventions: organized child-care or preschool program where they receive wraparound services and parents receive child-rearing support and social services.
Example is Early Head Start: intervention services for infants who have serious developmental problems OR who are at risk for problems due to poverty. Typically includes: child care, educational experiences for infants and toddlers, parenting education, family social support, health care
Home-based interventions: Skilled adult visits home and works with parents, providing social support and teaching them how to stimulate a very young child's development
PIAGET'S COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY
SENSORIMOTOR PERIOD: Birth - 2 years of age, infants and toddlers "think" with their eyes, ears and hands; infants know so little about the world that they cannot purposefully explore it
SECONDARY CIRCULAR REACTIONS: babies try to repeat interesting events in the surrounding environment that are caused by their own actions
COORDINATION OF SECONDARY CIRCULAR REACTIONS: infants engage in goal directed behavior and begin to attain object permanence
GOAL-DIRECTED or INTENTIONAL BEHAVIOR: the ability to coordinate schemes deliberately to solve simple problems
OBJECT PERMANENCE: the understanding that objects continue to exist when they are out of sight
PRIMARY CIRCULAR REACTIONS: infants repeat chance behaviors largely motivated by basic needs
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRIMARY, SECONDARY AND TERTIARY CIRCULAR REACTIONS: a) primary - involves stumbling onto a new experience caused by the baby's own motor activity; as babies repeat events, something that originally occurred by chance becomes strengthened into a new scheme, b) secondary - babies try to repeat interesting events in the surrounding environment that are caused by their own action, c) tertiary - toddler's repeat behaviors with some variation, a capacity to experiment
TERTIARY CIRCULAR REACTIONS: toddlers repeat behaviors with variation, producing new effects
A-not-B SEARCH ERROR: if an infant searches several times for an object at a first hiding place(A), then see it moved to a second (B), they still search for it in the first hiding place
REFLEXIVE SCHEMES: infants' primary means of adapting to the environment is through reflexes
MENTAL REPRESENTATION: toddlers create internal depictions of information that the mind can manipulate.
Types of mental representations
IMAGES: mental images of objects, people and space
CONCEPTS: categories in which similar objects or events are grouped together
New capacities that result from the ability to create mental representations
DEFERRED IMITATION - ability to remember and copy behavior of those not present
MAKE-BELIEVE PLAY - where children act out everyday and imaginary activities
INVISIBLE DISPLACEMENT - finding something while moved out of sight
Evaluation of the Sensorimotor Stage
CORE KNOWLEDGE PERSPECTIVE: babies are born with a set of innate knowledge systems, or core domains of thought
Domains of thought
Mechanisms of cognitive change
ASSIMILATION: using current schemes to interpret the external world
ACCOMMODATION: creating new schemes or adjusting old ones to produce a better fit with the environment
ADAPTATION: building schemes through direct interaction with the environment
ORGANIZATION: taking new schemes, rearranging them, and linking them with other schemes to create an interconnected cognitive system
SCHEMES: specific psychological structures, or organized ways of making sense of experience, change with age
Follow-Up Research on Infant Cognitive Development: new research show that infants understand concepts earlier than Piaget believed
VIOLATION OF EXPECTATION METHOD: research method where babies are habituated to a physical event (expose them to an event until their looking at it decreases) to familiarize them with a situation in which their knowledge will be tested OR they show babies an expected event (consistent with reality) or an unexpected event (version of first event that violates reality). Increased attention to the unexpected event suggests that the infant is "surprised" and aware of that aspect.
Concerns with violation-of-expectation method: 1) indicates onlyy a limited awareness of physical events, 2) reveals only babies' perceptual preferences for novelty
Baillargeon's research on object permanence: there is evidence for object permanence in infants as young as 2.5-3.5 months, and
do babies' looking preferences tell us about what they actually know?
Toddlers demonstrate a thorough understanding of object permanence by 14 months and is a gradual achievement
By 10-12 months of age, infants can solve problems by ananlogy, meaning that they apply a solution strategy from one problem to other relevant information.
DISPLACED REFERENCE: the realization that words can be used to cue mental images of people and objects that are not physically present.
VIDEO DEFICIT EFFECT: poorer performance after a video than a live demonstration; this effect declines after 2.5 years. Toddlers discount info on videos because they do not look at or converse with people on videos like they do with their caregivers.
Broad agreement on Piaget's sensorimotor stages: 1) many cognitive changes of infancy are gradual and continuous as opposed to abrupt and stagelike; 2) aspects of infant cognition change unevenly because of the challenges posed by different types of tasks and infants' varying experience with them
SOCIAL CONTEXT OF EARLY COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: all complex mental activities have their origins in social interaction
ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT: refers to a range of tasks that the child cannot yet handle alone but can do with the help of more skilled partners; adults support with scaffolding, where they guide and support children, adjusting their level of support to fit the child's current level of performance
MAKE-BELIEVE PLAY - learned under the guidance of experts, where society provides children with opportunities to represent culturally meaningful activities in play
Adults' participating in make-believe play is important because it leads to increased elaboration; more likely to combine schemes into complex sequences; more parent time, the more children devote to make-believe play
If parents have less time to play, siblings can guide toddlers verbally and physically through the task and provide feedback.