10-07 Intro to Cog Sci Lecture 11

10-07 Intro to Cog Sci Lecture 11 - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Cognitive Science Lecture 11: 10/7/09 Infant Cognition Just like us! We spent our last class talking about looking-time measures used to study infants. This has allowed us to discover what infants know about physics, numbers, and such. A way to summarize these findings is to assume that they are behaving just like us, except that the stimuli that engage infants come from a much broader class. Imagine you went to a magic show and saw a magician saw a person in half you would stare at this event! This is what infants are doing! They look longer at an impossible event and this differential looking time tells us that their young minds discriminate between impossible and possible events. A developmental progression! This was an example based on the violation-of-expectation paradigm, not the habituation paradigm. You do not need to show an infant something over and over. We find that there is a developmental progression. At 3 months, infants will have an initial concept but do not respond to variations of the initial concept. That is, infants have an innate core, which they then bootstrap off of. State of the Art? The Hershberger study involving chickens pecking at convex or concave visual illusions shows us that the best way to study whether something is innate is to make the animal’s experience exactly counter to what the animal typically experiences. Using this method, researchers have been trying to study whether the developmental progression of understanding variations of when objects fall is the result of learning/experience. It has been shown that you can improve the age at which you see competence in these experiments if you use the correct kind of learning/experience. Therefore, Rene Baillargeon has taken a 3-month old who knows the initial concept and tried to train the infant to expect the wrong thing. She is testing the role of experience. If you give infants an experience that is in accordance with the real world, they will pass the test faster. However, if you give infants an experience that is not in accordance with the real world, it doesn’t work. *Why? The point of this is that even though there is a developmental progression, we cannot conclude that it is just due to environmental influence! It could be that this is actually similar to puberty, which is pre-programmed although it uses environmental input. E.g. Arithmetic This is a famous experiment by Karen Wynn, who suggested that young infants have surprisingly detailed mathematical knowledge. Infants understand simple arithmetic facts. Method: Start with one doll, screen comes up, hand comes in and leaves a second doll and the screen drops to reveal either two dolls or just a single doll. This is a violation-of-expectation experiment, and infants reliably look longer at the impossible outcome. Note that the single doll is more similar to the original situation you saw! The further experiments in this paper show the importance of isolating the hypothesis that you are interested in testing. The 1+1 = 2 or 1 experiment does NOT show that infants can do simple
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10-07 Intro to Cog Sci Lecture 11 - Introduction to...

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