Cognitive Foundations

Caitlin Hall
Flashcards by Caitlin Hall, updated more than 1 year ago
Caitlin Hall
Created by Caitlin Hall over 5 years ago


Chapter 3

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Cognitive development Changes over time in how people think, how they solve problems, and how their capacities for memory and attention change.
Jean Piaget Influential Swiss developmental psychologist, best known for his theories of cognitive and moral development.
Stage A period in which abilities are organized in a coherent, interrelated way.
Mental structure The organization of cognitive abilities into a single pattern, such that thinking in all aspects of life is a reflection of that structure.
Cognitive developmental approach Approach to understand cognition that emphasizes the changes that take place at different stages.
Maturation Process by which abilities develop through genetically based development with limited influence from the environment.
Schemes A mental structure for organizing and interpreting information.
Assimilation The cognitive process that occurs when new information is altered to fit an existing scheme.
Accommodation The cognitive process that occurs when a scheme is changed to adapt to new information.
Sensorimotor stage Cognitive stage in 1st 2 years of life that involves learning how to coordinate the activities of the sense with motor activities.
Pre operational stage Cognitive stages from ages 2 to 7 during which the child becomes capable of representing the world symbolically - for example, through the use of language - but is still very limited in ability to use mental operations.
Concrete operations Cognitive stage from ages 7 to 11 in which children learn to use mental operations but are limited to applying them to concrete, observable situations rather than hypothetical situations.
Mental operations Cognitive activity involving manipulating and reasoning about objects.
Formal operations Cognitive stage from age 11 on up in which people learn to think systematically about possibilities and hypotheses.
Pendulum problem Piaget's classic test of formal operations, in which persons are asked to figure out what determines the speed at which a pendulum swings from side to side.
Hypothetical deductive reasoning Piaget's term for the process by which the formal operational thinker systematically tests possible solutions to a problem and arrives at an answer that can be defended and explained.
Abstract thinking Thinking in terms of symbols, ideas, and concepts.
Complex thinking Thinking that takes into account multiple connections and interpretations, such as use in metaphor, satire, and sarcasm.
Metacognition The capacity for "thinking about thinking" that allows adolescents and adults to reason about their thought processes and monitor them.
Individual differences Approach to research that focuses on how individuals differ within a group, for example, in performance on IQ tests.
Post formal thinking Type of thinking beyond formal operations, involving greater awareness of the complexity of real life situations, such as in the use of pragmatism and reflective judgement.
Pragmatism Type of thinking that involves adapting logical thinking to the practical constraints of real life situations.
Dialectical thought Type of thinking that develops in emerging adulthood, involving a growing awareness that most problems do not have a single solution and that problems must often be addressed with crucial pieces of information missing.
Reflective judgement The capacity to evaluate the accuracy and logical coherence of evidence and arguments.
Multiple thinking Cognitive approach entailing recognition that there is more than one legitimate view of things and that it can be difficult to justify one position as the true or accurate one.
relativism Cognitive ability to recognize the legitimacy of competing points of view but also compare the relative merits of competing views.
commitment Cognitive status in which persons commit themselves to certain points of view they believe to be the most valid while at the same time being open to reevaluating their views if new evidence is presented to them.
info-processing approach An approach to understanding cognition that seeks to delineate the steps involved in the thinking process and how each step is connected to the next.
discontinuous A view of development as taking place in stages that are distinct from one another rather than as one gradual, continuous process.
continuous A view that development as a gradual, steady process rather than as taking place in distinct stages.
componential approach Description of the info-processing approach to cognition, indicating that it involves breaking down the thinking process into its various components.
selective attention The ability to focus on relevant info while screening out info that is irrelevant.
divided attention The ability to focus on more than one task at a time.
short term memory Memory for info that is the current focus of attention.
long term memory Memory for info that is committed to longer term storage, so that it can be drawn upon after a period when attention has not been focused on it.
working memory An aspect of short term memory that refers to where info is stored as it is comprehended and analyzed.
mnemonic devices Memory strategies.
automacity Degree of cognitive effort a person needs to devote to processing a given set of info.
reductionism Breaking up a phenomenon into separate parts to such an extent that the meaning and coherence of the phenomenon as a whole becomes lost.
critical thinking Thinking that involves not merely memorizing info but analyzing it, making judgements about what it means, relating other info, and considering ways in which it might be valid or invalid.
behavioral decision theory Theory of decision making that describes the decision-making process as including 1) identifying the range of possible choices 2) identifying the consequences that would result from each choice 3) evaluating the desirability of each consequence 4) assessing the likelihood of each consequence and 5) integrating this info.
organizational core Term applied especially to cognitive development, meaning that cognitive development affects all areas of thinking, no matter what the topic.
social cognition How people think about other people, social relationships, and social institutions.
perspective taking The ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others.
mutual perspective taking Stage of perspective taking, often found in early adolescence, in which persons understand that their perspective taking interactions with others are mutual, in the sense that each side realizes that the other can take their perspective.
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