UC Davis - PSC 162 - Class Notes

UC Davis - PSC 162 - Class Notes - PSC 141 Cognitive...

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PSC 141 – Cognitive development 6/25/07 Outline - What is cognitive development? - What is children’s thinking? - Themes in cognitive development o Nature and nurture o How development occurs – qualitative change vs. quantitative changes o Individual differences/commonalities o The brain and cognitive development o Social influence and cognitive development What is Cognitive Development - “Thinking that takes place from the moment of birth through the end of adolescence” (p. 2) - Why important to study? o Childhood – a period of rapid development that is unparalleled o Long-term influences of childhood Easy to trace effects of childhood… “the child is mother to the woman”…what they did as a child affect what people become as adults o Insights into complex adult processes What is Children’s Thinking? - Hard to define - Higher mental processes o Includes: problem solving, remembering, symbolizing, conceptualizing, planning, etc. Children were asked questions and they gave rather silly answers…like the octopus that had “eight testicles” - Dramatic changes across childhood Themes in Cognitive Development: Nature and Nurture - Historically, a debate of nature vs. nurture o What is innate? o What is learned? - Now, question is how nature and nurture interaction the course of development - Three General Perspectives : o Associationist – very little innate abilities that must be learned through associations 1700s-1800s John Locke, David Hume Infants come into the world with minimal capabilities
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Locke’s view – all children are born equal and the mind of a newborn infant is like a blank slate (tabula rasa) Primary ability of infants is to associate experiences – knowledge comes only from experiences and learning Babies are able to recognize certain holding positions, like when they’re being fed…so they have associative learning o Constructivist 1920s-1970s Jean Piaget Development is an active construction process In addition to associative capabilities, infants are born with important perceptual and motor abilities – through these activities, they build increasingly differentiated and comprehensive cognitive structures o Competent infant Late 1980s-today Other approaches grossly underestimate capabilities of infants Impressive list of competencies that either exist from birth or appear soon thereafter Research has shown that infants are able to imitate facial expression for the first few hours of life Infant can recognize the voice of their mother who read a story to them before their birth, and they prefer to hear their mother’s voice Some rudimentary math skills…hiding objects behind screen…putting 2 behind a screen and then taking one away and leave infants puzzled. Qualitative vs. Quantitative Change
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSC 162 taught by Professor Davidblack during the Spring '07 term at UC Davis.

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UC Davis - PSC 162 - Class Notes - PSC 141 Cognitive...

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