Cognition and Development - Coggle Diagram
Cognition and Development
Theory of mind
Testing ToM in toddles - beads in a jar:
allowed children to observe adults placing beads in jars.
Experimental condition - adults appeared to struggle with this and dropped some of the beads outside the jar.
Control condition - adults successfully placed the beads in the jar.
In both conditions toddlers successfully placed the beads in the jar, suggesting that they were imitating what the adult intended to do rather than what they actually did.
ToM is the ability to mind read:
ToM isn't a theory like 'Piaget's theory' but a personal theory of belief about what other people know, are feeling or thinking.
It's tested via different methods depending on age.
Testing ToM using the Sally-Anne task:
Children were told a story involving 2 dolls, Sally and Anne.
Sally places the marble in her basket and leaves the room.
Anne moves the marble into the box, and Sally returns.
Where does Sally look for her marble?
In order to understand that Sally doesn't know that Anne has moved the marble, a child needs an understanding of Sally's false belief about where it is.
Testing ToM using a false belief task:
Wimmer and Perner
told 3-4-year-olds a story in which:
Maxi left his chocolate in the blue cupboard in the kitchen.
After Maxi's mother had used some of the chocolate she placed the remainder in the green cupboard.
The children had to say where Maxi would look. Most 3-year-olds said the green cupboard, whilst most 4-year-olds said the blue cupboard.
Testing ToM using the Eyes Task:
Older children with ASD can succeed on false belief tasks despite problems with empathy, social communication, etc... This questions whether ASD can be explained by ToM deficits.
Baron-Cohen et al developed the Eyes Task as a more challenging test of ToM and found that adults with high-functioning ASD struggled.
:red_cross: Reliance on false belief tasks to test the theory:
Bloom and German
suggest that false belief tasks require other cognitive abilities as well as ToM, so the failure may be due to a memory deficit and not ToM.
Children who can't perform well on false belief tasks still enjoy pretend-play, which requires ToM.
This means that false belief tasks may not measure ToM, meaning ToM lacks evidence.
:red_cross: Difficult to distinguish ToM from perspective-taking:
Perspective-taking and ToM are different cognitive abilities. It can be very difficult to be sure we are measuring one and not the other.
For example, in intentional reasoning tasks a child might be visualising the beads task from the adult perspective rather than expressing a conscious understanding of their intention.
:check: It's application to understanding ASD:
People with ASD find ToM tests difficult which shows they do have problems understanding what others think.
This in turn explains why people with ASD find social interaction difficult because they don't pick up cues for what others are thinking and feeling.
This means that ToM research has real-world relevance.
Lack of ToM demonstrated in children with ASD:
Baron-Cohen et al
used the Sally-Anne task to test 20 high-functioning children diagnosed with ASD, a control group of 27 children without a diagnosis, and 14 with DS.
85% of children in the control group correctly identified where Sally would look but only 20% of the children with ASD did.
The mirror neuron system
Selman's levels of perspective-taking
Selman identified 3 key elements:
- this is what Selman measured in his earlier research.
Interpersonal negotiation strategies
- having to develop other skills, e.g, learning to negotiate and manage conflict.
Awareness of the personal meaning of relationships
- being able to relate social behaviour to the particular people we are interacting with.
:check: Research support for stages in perspective taking:
Selman tested 60 children ages 4-6 and found positive correlations between age and the ability to take different perspectives.
This is supported by longitudinal follow-up studies which confirm that perspective-taking develops with age.
This means that Selman's stages have support from different lines of research.
:check: Importance of perspective taking:
Buijzen and Valkenburg observed child-parent interactions in shops when parents refused to buy things their child wanted.
The researchers found negative correlations between both age/ perspective-taking and coercive behaviour.
This suggests that there is a relationship between perspective-taking abilities and healthy social behaviour.
:red_cross: The stages are overly cognitive:
Selman's theory looks only at cognitive factors whereas children's social development involves more than their developing cognitive abilities.
For example, internal factors and external factors are important and it's likely social development is due to a combination of these.
This means Selman's approach to explaining perspective-taking is too narrow.
Children progressively see another person's perspective:
Stage 1 (6-8 years) Social-informational
- a child can now distinguish between their own POV and that of others, but can only focus on one perspective at a time.
Stage 2 (8-10 years) Self-reflective
- a child can explain the position of another person and appreciate their perspective but can still only consider one POV at a time.
Stage 3 (10-12 years) Mutual
- a child is now able to consider their own POV and that of another at the same time.
Domain-general Vs domain-specific:
Selman disagreed with Piaget's domain-general approach to development and proposed that social perspective-taking develops separately from other aspects of cognitive development
Selma's stage theory:
Selman found that children of different ages responded in different ways. He used these differences to build a stage theory of how thinking about social situations changes.
Stage 0 (3-6 years) Egocentric
- a child can't distinguish between their own emotions and those of others nor explain the emotional state of others.
Selman's assessment procedure involved asking children to take the perspective of different people in a social situation and consider how each person felt.
One scenario is Holly and the kitten.
The child participant was asked to explain how each person would feel if Holly did or didn't climb the tree to rescue the kitten.
The final stage focuses on social conventions:
Stage 4 (12+ years) Social and conventional stage
- a child recognises that understanding others' viewpoints is not enough to allow people to reach an agreement. Social conventions are needed to keep order.
The validity of the VOE technique:
Piaget made a flawed assumption that loss of interest in an object means the baby thinks it's ceased to exist. But the baby may've been distracted.
Baillargeon's VOE method controls for this because distraction wouldn't affect the outcome.
This control of a confounding variable means the VOE method has greater validity.
The assumption that response to VOE = unexpectedness:
A methodological issue is that babies' responses may not be to the unexpectedness of the event. All VOE shows is that babies find certain events more interesting.
We are inferring a link between this response and object permanence. Actually, the different levels of interest in the 2 different events may be for any number of reasons.
:check: PRS can explain why physical understanding is universal:
We all have a good understanding of the physical world regardless of culture and experience. So if we drop a key ring we all understand that it will fall to the ground.
This universal understanding suggests that a basic understanding of the physical world is innate. Otherwise, we would expect cultural and individual differences.
This means that Baillargeon's PRS appears to be a good account of infant cognitive abilities
Baillargeon's explantion of infant abilities
From birth, babies identify event categories e.g., occlusion events when one object blocks another.
Since babies know about object persistence they quickly learn that one object can block another.
Object permanence is due to poor motor skills:
Baillargeon suggested babies have a better understanding of the physical world than Piaget proposed. Their behaviour might be better explained by poor motor skills or being easily distracted.
Baillargeon developed the violation of expectation (VOE) technique to compare babies' reactions to an expected and unexpected event and thus was able to make inferences about the infant's cognitive abilties.
Innate PRS gives infant a basic world understanding:
Baillargeon el al proposed that we are born with a physical reasoning system (PRS) to enable us to learn details of the physical world more easily.
Baillargeon reffered to object persistance - we know that objects don't dissapear.
Baillargeon and Graber VOE study
Findings and conclusions:
The babies looked for an average of 33.07 seconds in the unexpected condition, compared to 25.11 seconds in the expected condition.
This was interpreted as meaning that the babies were surprised at the unexpected condition.
This demonstrates an understanding of object permanence at less than 6 months.
Other studies tested understanding of containment and of support.
24 babies, aged 5-6 months, were shown a tall or short rabbit passing behind a screen with a window.
Expected condition: the tall rabbit can be seen passing the window but the short one can't.
Unexpected condition: neither rabbit appeared at the window.
Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development
Support for the ZPD:
Roazzi and Brynat
asked 1 group 4-5-year-olds to estimate the number of sweets in a box. Most failed to give a close estimate.
A 2nd group of 4-5-year-olds were guided by older children and most then mastered the task.
This means that children can develop more advanced reasoning with help from a more expert individual.
Support for the idea of scaffolding:
Conner and Cross
observed 45 children at ages 16, 26, 44 and 54 months, finding that mothers used less direct intervention as children developed.
The mothers also increasingly offered to help when it was needed rather than constantly.
This means that adult assistance with children's learning is well-described by the concept of scaffolding.
Real world application:
Educational techniques such as group work are all based on Vygotsky's ideas. Increasingly used in the 21st century.
Keer and Verhaeghe
found that 7-year-olds tutored by 10-year-olds, in addition to their whole-class teaching, progressed further in reading than a control group who only had class teaching.
This means that Vygotsky's theory has real-world value in education.
Progressive scaffolding stratergies:
Wood et al
identified progressive stragergies that can be used to scaffold learning.
Preperation for child.
Indication of materials
Specific verbal instructions
ZPD is the gap between current and potential capabilities:
The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the gap between:
What a child knows or can do alone.
What the child is capable of, following interactions with someone more expert.
The role of a teacher is to guide a child through this gap as full a level of understanding as the child's development ability will allow.
Advanced reasoning ability:
For Vygotsky cognitive development wasn't just about acquiring more facts but about becoming more skilled at reasoning.
The most advanced reasoning can only be explained with the help of experts, not simply through exploration.
Social processes matter:
Vygotsky agreed with Piaget that children develop reasoning skills sequentially but believed that this process was mainly dependent on social processes.
Vygotsky claimed knowledge is:
First intermental (between someone more expert and less expert)
Then intramental (within the individual)
Cultural differences in cognitive abilities:
Reasoning abilities are acquired via contact with those around us and as a result there will be a cultural differences in cogntive development because we all grow up and learn about the world surrounded by cultural values and beliefs.
Children pick up the mental 'tools' that are most important for life from the world they live in.
Experts use scaffolding to help learners cross the ZPD:
The process of helping a learner cross the ZPD and advance as much as they can, given the stage of their development.
Typically the level of help given in scaffolding declines as the learner crosses the ZPD.
Theory of cognitive development
Qualitative differences in children's thinking:
Piaget asserted that children don't just know less than adults, they actually think differently.
Piaget suggested that the way children think changes through a series of stages.
He also proposed that motivation plays an important role in learning and drives how learning takes place.
We begin with the key concept of schema.
Howe et al
put 9-12-year-olds in groups to discuss how objects move down a slope. They found that the level of children's knowledge and understanding increased after the discussion.
Crucially though, the children didn't reach the same conclusions or pick up the same facts about the environment.
Meaning that the children formed their own schema of the topic, as Piaget predicted.
In the 1960s, children say copying text. In Piaget's activity-orientated classrooms, children construct their own understanding.
At A-level, discovery learning may be 'flipped' lessons where students read up on content, forming their own basic mental representation of the topic prior to teaching.
Showing how Piaget-inspired approaches may facilitate the development of individual mental representations of the world.
Underestimated the role of other people:
Piaget recognised that other people can be important in learning.
However, others argued that knowledge first exists between the learner and someone with knowledge. Supported by evidence.
This means that Piaget's theory may be an incomplete explanation for learning as it neglects the role of other people in learning.
Equilibrium is a pleasent state of balance and occurs when experiences in the world match the state of our current schema.
Motivation to learn:
When a child can't make sense of their world because the existing schema is insufficient, they feel a sense of disequilibrium which is uncomfortable.
To escape this, and adapt to the new situation, the child explores and learns more. The result is a state of equilibrium.
An experience that is very different from our current schema can't be assimilate. Accomodation involves the creation of a whole new schema or major chnages to existing ones.
Schena are units of knowledge:
Our knowledge of the world is represented in the mind and organised by a schema.
Infants are born with a few schemas but construct new ones right from the start, including the 'me-schema' where all the child's knowledge about themselves is stored.
Cognitive development involves the construction of increasingly detailed schema for people, objects, physical actions and also more abstract ideas.
Any new experience creates disequilibrium because it doesn't fit our existing schema.
Assimilation takes place when the new experience doesn't radically change our understanding of the schema, so we can incorporate the new experience into our existing schema.
Piaget's theory of intellectual development
Conservation theory was flawed:
Piaget's method may've led children to believe that something might've changed - or why would the researcher change the appearance and then ask if it's the same?
McGarrigle and Donaldson
used a 'naughty teddy' who accidentally rearranged the counters. 72% of children under 7 correctly said the number remained the same.
Means that children aged 4-6 could conserve, as long as they weren't put off by the way they were asked.
Class inclusion ability is questioned:
Siegler and Svetina
found that, when 5-year-olds received feedback that pointed out subsets, they did develop an understanding of class inclusion.
This was contrary to Piaget's belief that class inclusion wasn't possible until a child has reached the necessary intellectual development at 7 years.
This means that Piaget underestimated the cognitive abilities of children.
Assertions about egocentrism aren't supported:
found that even at 3 1/2 years a child could position a doll in a model building with 2 interesting walls so that the doll couldn't be seen by a policeman doll.
They could do this 90% of the time. 4-year-olds could do this 90% of the time when there were 2 police officers to hide from.
This suggests the manner of Piaget's studies and tasks led him to underestimate children's intellectual abilities.
Concrete operational stage (7-11 years)
Children have mastered conservation and are improving on egocentrism and class inclusion.
However, they're only able to reason or operate on physical objects in their presence.
Pre-operational stage (2-7 years)
was tested, e.g., pouring water from a wide glass into a thin one and asking children if they have the same amount.
Pre-operational said no. They weren't able to understand that quantity remains constant even if appearance changes.
was tested in the 3 mountains task, each mountain had a different feature: a cross, house or snow.
Pre-operational children tended to find it difficult to select a picture that showed a view other than their own.
was tested, e.g., 5 dogs, 2 cats, 'Are there more dogs or animals?'.
Pre-operational children tend to respond to it as more dogs. They can't see a dog as in the dog class and the animal class
Formal operational stage (11+ years)
Abstract reasoning develops - being able to think beyond the here and now. Children can now focus on the form of an argument and not be distracted by its content.
Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years)
A baby's focus is on physical sensation and basic coordination between what they see and body movements.
Before 8 months, babies immediately switch their attention away from an object once it's out of sight.
After 8 months, babies continue to look for it. This suggests that babies then understand that objects exist when removed from view.