Developmental Psych Exam #2 CHAPTER 4

Jean Piaget

His approach to understanding cognitive development is often labeled constructivist, because it depicts children as constructing knowledge for themselves in response to their experience

Piaget on nature and nurture

He believed that they interact to produce cognitive development. Nurture includes not just the nurturing provided by the parents and other caregivers but every experience children encounter.


Jean Piaget's assertion that children are mentally and physically active from the moment of birth, which helps them contribute to their own development

Piaget's pendulum Problem

requires children to compare the factors that influence the movement of the apparatus


the process by which people translate incoming information into a form that fits concepts they already understand.
A child calls a horse a dog because they have never seen a horse before, but it has four legs and walks on all fours.


the process by which people adapt current knowledge structures in response to a new experience.
making a separate horse and dog category.


The process by which children are satisfied with their understanding of a particular phenomenon.

Equilibration: equilibrium

First, children are satisfied with their understanding of a particular phenomenon, the child does not see any discrepancies between their observations and their understanding of the phenomenon.

Equilibration: disequilibrium

New information leads them to perceive that their understanding is inadequate. They recognize shortcomings in their understanding of the phenomenon and they cannot generate a superior alternative. But eventual they develop a sophisticated understanding an

Theories of Cognitive Development Include...

-Piagets Theory
Processing Theory
-Sociocultural Theory
-Dynamic-Systems theory

Brief transitions
(central properties of Piaget's stage theory)

Before entering a new stage, children pass through a brief transitional period in which they fluctuate between the type of thinking characteristic of the new, more advanced stage and the type of thinking characteristic of the old, less advanced one.

Broad applicability
(central properties of Piaget's stage theory)

The type of thinking characteristic of each stage influences children's thinking across diverse topics and contexts.

Brief transitions
(central properties of Piaget's stage theory)

Before entering a new stage, children pass through a brief transitional period in which they fluctuate between the type of thinking characteristic of the new, more advanced stage and the type of thinking characteristic of the old, less advanced one.

Invariant sequence
(central properties of Piaget's stage theory)

Everyone progresses through the stages in the same order without skipping any of them.

Sensorimotor Stage

Intelligence is expressed through motor and sensory abilities (learn about objects)

Sensorimotor Stage (Stage 1: BIRTH TO ONE MONTH WHAT HAPPENS?)

Innate reflexes exercised
EX: sucking reflexes (allows the child to taste and eat), very little cognitive development but are reacting to environment with their reflexes.

Primary Circular reactions and key point of stage 2

Stage 2 of Sensorimotor stage (1-4 months)
Definition: the repetition of an action to experience pleasure
Key point: the infant is NOT focused on the external environment.

Stage 2: Sensorimotor Stage cont. primary circular reaction

actions are centered on the baby's own body. Example: thumb sucking (it discovers that they have a thumb, even before too in their prenatal environment)

Stage 3 Sensorimotor Stage: Secondary Circular reactions

In stage 3 of the sensorimotor stage. (4-8 MONTHS)
this is when actions that are focused on events or objects outside of the body.
EXAMPLE: infant plays with a rattle and shakes it repeatedly. Infant realizes they can interact with the environment.

Stage 3 Sensorimotor Stage: limitations

Infants in this age can only act on things they can see (covered an object with piece of cloth, the infant won't search for the hidden object) can't see it, can't act on it. (out of sight, out of mind)

Stage 4 Sensorimotor Stage

Coordination of Secondary Circular Reactions. (8-12 MONTHS)

Stage 4 Sensorimotor Stage Accomplishments

Infants can remove a cover to retrieve a hidden object

Object permanence

(through the age of 8 months infants lack this)
The knowledge that objects continue to exist even when they are out of view. (applies to people too)
If a ball goes under a blanket, an infant will stop searching.

Why do infants fail to search for hidden objects?

Piaget: they don't have object permanence.
other beliefs: you also have the ability to search. Psychologists wanted to simplify the object permanence and use a LOOKING behavior instead of REACHING
from a visual task, infants even at 4 months know of objec

A-not-B error

the tendency to reach for a hidden object where it was last found rather than in the new location where it was last hidden
infant finds ball under cloth A two times, then when the researcher puts ball under cloth B, the infant will still go back to search

Stage 5 Sensorimotor Stage

Tertiary circular reactions (12 to 18 months)
Actions that are varied through trial and error (see what works) to produce desirable consequences
EXAMPLE: dropping toys from different heights.

Stage 5 Sensorimotor Stage Accomplishments

A-not-B Error

Stage 6 Sensorimotor Stage

Enduring Mental Representations
18-24 months
pretending to drive a car, pretend to feed a baby
-pretend play

(occurs in Stage 6) Deferred imitation

(In the last half-year of the sensorimotor stage: ages 18 to 24 months)
The repetition of other people's behavior a substantial time after it originally occurred. (Imitating people and scenes that were witnessed in the past)

Criticisms of these 6 subcategories in the sensorimotor stage

1. Young infants can understand object permanence and pretend play
2. failed to look at sociocultural
3. Piaget only looked at his own kids

Preoperational Stage

(2 TO 7 YEARS)
Children become able to represent their experiences in language, mental imagery and symbolic thought.

Preoperational Stage limitations

inability to perform certain mental operations, such as considering multiple dimensions simultaneously.
Children are unable to form certain ideas, such as the idea that pouring all the water from a short, wide glass into a taller, narrower glass

Symbolic representation

the use of one object to stand for another.
EXAMPLE: drawing a picture of your family


the tendency to perceive the world solely from one's own point of view.
EXAMPLE: on the phone with grandma and the child nods, they don't realize that grandma can't recognize their nod.
Egocentric tendencies become less common over the course of the preop


the tendency to focus on a single, perceptually striking feature of an object or event.
EXAMPLE: when a child is asked which side of the scale will go down, they will pick the side with more weight, not the positioning of the weights which is a big factor

Conservation concept

The idea that merely changing the appearance of objects does not necessarily change other key properties
EXAMPLE: cutting a pizza into 8 slices is the same as cutting that same pizza into 6 slices. 4-5 year olds will say that the pizza with 8 slices has m

Concrete operational stage

(7 TO 12 YEARS)
children become able to reason logically about concrete objects and events.

Concrete operational Stage ACHIEVEMENTS

Example: they understand that pouring water from one glass to a taller, narrower one leaves the amount of water unchanged.

Concrete operational Stage LIMITATIONS

concrete operational reasoners cannot think in purely abstract terms or generate systematic scientific experiments to test their beliefs.

Formal operational stage

people became able to think about abstractions and hypothetical situations

Information-processing theories

a class of theories that focus on the structure of the cognitive system and the mental activities used to delay attention and memory to solve problems
idea that humans process the information they receive, rather than merely responding to stimuli

task analysis

the research technique of identifying goals, relevant information in the environment, and potential processing strategies for a problem.
used to predict a child's behavior

Problem solving

the process of attaining a goal by using a strategy to overcome an obstacle.

Working memory

memory system that involves actively attending to, gathering, maintaining, storing, and processing information.

long-term memory

information retained on an enduring basis
includes factual knowledge, or conceptual knowledge (how to tie a shoe), reasoning strategies, etc.

Zone of proximal development

the gap between what children can do unsupported and what they can do with support
(knowing what that gap is and its always going to move)

basic processes

the simplest and most frequently used mental activities.
EXAMPLE: they include associating events with one another, recognizing objects as familiar, recalling facts and procedures, and generalizing from one instance to another.


the process of representing in memory information that draws attention or is considered important.
info that is not encoded is not remembered later


the process of repeating information multiple times to aid memory of it
5 year olds wouldn't understand to rehearse things to enhance their memory of it.

selective attention

becomes increasingly prevalent in the early elementary school years. It is the processor intentionally focusing on the information that is most relevant to the current goal

overlapping-waves theory

an information-processing approach that emphasized the variability of children's thinking. Children use a variety of approaches to solve problems.



Sociocultural theories

approaches that emphasize that other people and the surrounding culture contribute greatly to children's development

cultural tools

the innumerable products of human ingenuity that enhance thinking (relevant symbol systems)
EXAMPLE: language is used to convey their thoughts and people use diagrams or blueprints in order to create something/ assemble for example a toy.


Believed language leads to thought
viewed children as social learners, shaped by, and shaping, their cultural contexts.

guided participation

FIRST PHASE of internalization-of-thought process
a process in which more knowledgable individuals organize activities in ways that allow less knowledgable people to learn
Example: dad helps little kid build a toy car

private speech

SECOND PHASE of internalization-of-thought process.
-most prevalent between ages 4-6 years
children develop their self-regulation and problem-solving abilities by telling themselves aloud what to do, much as their parents did in the first stage


the mutual understanding that people share during communication (a "meeting" of minds) --> same psychological understanding
EXAMPLE: infants crying= parent responds
-observing the environment
-social referencing: Emma couldn't find the toy so

Children as Products of Their Culture: How does chinese childhood memories differ from american?

Chinese culture prizes and promotes interdependence among people, especially among close relatives.
European American culture, in contrast, prizes and promotes the independence of individuals.

joint attention

a process in which social partners intentionally focus on a common referent in the external environment
When an adult tells a toddler the name of an object, the adult usually looks or points directly at it; children who are looking at the same ob

social scaffolding

more competent people provide temporary framework that supports children's learning at a higher level than children could manage on their own (LOOK UP TO ADULTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT)
ex: Parents demonstrating how a task can be done and helping the child wit

autobiographical memories

Explicit memories of one's own experiences including one's thoughts and emotions.
includes: information about ones goals, intentions, emotions and reactions relative to these events.

example of an autobiographical memory

a mother might reply to her toddler's statement "Bird fly away" by saying, "Yes, the bird flew away because you got close to it and scared it." Such statements help children remember their experiences by improving their encoding of key information or rela



Dynamic-systems theories

a class of theories that focuses on how change occurs over time in complex systems
example: if an infant has improved reaching abilities, it allows infants to play with objects in a more advanced way and because of this, they think and learn more.