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2410 -week3

2410 -week3 - Historical Perspectives on Cognitive...

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1 Historical Perspectives on Cognitive Development Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky Overview Jean Piaget Stages of development Object permanence Conservation Why do children fail conservation tasks? Vygotsky – socio-cultural perspective Jean Piaget (1896-1980) One of the most important figures of modern psychology First paper published at the age of 11 Followed by several hundred books and papers Lived and worked in Geneva, Switzerland Studied child development primarily through the observation of his own children Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Studied under Alfred Binet Constructed the first intelligence test Became interested in how children learn Genetic Empistemology Primary research question: how is knowledge possible? How do knowledge representations develop? Why so important? Piaget challenged: – behaviorism (B.F Skinner 1950’s-1970’s) – empiricism or ‘blank slate accounts’ (i.e. John Locke) Formulated constructivist account: children do not simply learn by instruction but are actively not simply learn by instruction, but are actively involved in constructing knowledge. Development involves the construction of abstract representations. Piaget talked about mental processes that change over developmental time rather than directly observable changes Caused a revolution in the way we think about the developing mind Hallmarks of the theory According to Piaget, infants have so-called schemas for interacting with their environment (ex. Grasping schema) Schema are initially behavioral repertoires and become mental operations (script or rule) New behaviours can be assimilated into old schema’s if they are appropriate Old schemas can be accommodated to allow the infants to deal with new objects etc. In this case the schema is changed. Development as a constant process of adaptation where the goal is the establishment of an equilibrium between the environment and the way in which it is represented in the infants mind and thus guides the infants behaviour The process of equilibration Over development the child constructs increasingly complex and abstract mental operations through the process of equilibration driven initially by sensori-motor activity.
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2 The notion of stages and qualitative change According to Piaget, development involves qualitative changes in mental ability These qualitative changes are characterized by so-called “stages of development” 4 main stages of intellectual development Piaget’s Methodology Piaget worked with small groups of children. Many of the his own Observational design Detailed interviews Qualitative data analysis – no statistical rigour Emphasis on Diagnostic interviews to make insights into the developing mind Piagetian milestones: Object permanence “Out of sight – out of mind” Object permanence Thought to be acquired towards the end of the sensori-motor stage
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