This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: tures or
capabilities that are qualitatively different from those of earlier stages.
Development is not simply a matter of acquiring additional
information, but it is also a matter of developing different ways of
understanding the world. • The sequence of the stages is the same for all children and adolescents,
but the timing of the stages can vary. This means that although typical
age ranges can be specified for stages, these ages may not apply to
every child. • Development is cumulative in that development in later stages have
their basis in development that occurred in earlier stages. • Children and adolescents may demonstrate characteristics of two
developmental stages simultaneously. Piaget refers to this as 8 horizontal decalage (Ginsburg & Opper, 1988; Nurrenbern, 2001).
Horizontal decalage implies that children and adolescents may
demonstrate a cognitive understanding in one situation, but fail to
show the same level of cognitive understanding in a related but
different situation. Piagetians usually credit children and adolescents
with their highest demonstrated level of development.
(Insert Table 5.1 About Here.)
The sensorimotor stage is the period of cognitive development that occurs
during the first two years of life. The term sensorimotor is descriptive of the
nature of cognitive development during infancy because infants think and develop
schemes through their motor responses to stimuli in the environment. For
example, by hitting crib mobiles and making them move, infants develop basic
understandings (schemes) about cause and effect. Although a lot happens during
these first two years, the development of intentionality and object permanence are
particularly important to Piagetians (Wadsworth, 1996).
Intentionality. Intentionality develops gradually during the sensorimotor
stage, and it consists of consciously acting in certain ways to achieve goals
(Thomas, 2000). At first, newborn infants’ motor responses consist mainly of
neonatal reflexes. For example, if you place your finger a few millimeters into a
newborn infant’s mouth, your finger should initiate a sucking reflex. If you place 9 your finger in a newborn’s hand, the infant should demonstrate the palmar grasp
reflex by closing her hand around the finger. All nenonatal reflexes are initiated
by an environmental stimulus, and the infant responds automatically to the
By the time infants exit the sensorimotor period, however, they develop
the understanding that they can achieve goals through their behavior. This
understanding is reflected in the development of circular reaction. A circular
reaction is when an infant’s behavior creates an environmental effect that
motivates the infant to repeat the behavior (Piaget, 1927). One of your authors
recently observed a circular reaction at a local restaurant. A waiter placed drawing
paper and a crayon on the high chair tray in front of an infant girl. The infant
picked up the crayon and dropped it on the floor, and the young father promptly
View Full Document
This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08