1 Cognition - inner processes of the mind that lead to
knowing. Including attending, remembering,
symbolising, categorising, planning, reasoning,
problem solving, creating and fantasising.
2 Piaget's cognitive-development theory
2.1 Constructivist approach - children
construct all knowledge about
their world through their own
2.2 Piaget's stages - A general theory of
development - all aspects of cognition chafe in an
integrated fashion following a similar course. The
stages are invariant - they occur in a fixed order
and no stage can be skipped. They are universal -
They characterise children everywhere.
2.2.1 The Sensorimotor stage - (Birth to 2 years). Circular reaction - Stumbling onto a new
experience caused by the baby's own motor activity. As the infant tries to repeat the event a
sensorimotor response that originally occurred by chance strengthens into a new schema.
220.127.116.11 Sensorimotor substages - 1) Reflexive schemes (Birth to 1 month). Newborn reflexes. 2) Primary
circular reactions (1-4 months), limited anticipation of events. 3) Secondary circular reactions (4-8
months) Imitation of familiar behaviours. 4) Coordination of secondary circular reactions (8-12
months), Intentional goal directed behaviour. 5) Tertiary circular reactions (12-18 months),
imitation and exploration in novel ways. 6) Mental representations (18 months - 2 yrs), Internal
depiction's of objects and events, make-believe play, arrive at solutions without trial and error,
deferred imitation (copying behaviour of models not present).
2.2.2 The pre operational stage - (2 to 7 years). Increase in symbolic activity. Make-believe play - In early
pretending toddlers use realistic objects. After 2 years they pretend with less realistic toys. By age 3
they understand an object may take on numerous fictional identities. Play becomes less self centred.
Play includes more complex combinations of schemes. Sociodramatic play - Make-believe play with
others seen at the end of the 2nd year. Children with make believe friends are advanced in
understanding other's views and are more sociable. Drawings - They progress from scribbles where
intended representations are contained in their drawings, to first representational forms around 3
years, to more realistic drawings around 5 and 6 years.
18.104.22.168 Piaget's limits of pre operational thought. Operations - Young children are incapable of mental
representations of actions that obey logical rules. Egocentrism - Their failure to distinguish other's
symbolic viewpoints from one's own. Inability to conserve - Conservation is the idea that certain physical
characteristics or objects stay the same even when their appearance changes. Their thinking is
characterised by 'cent ration' - they focus on one aspect while ignoring other important features. Lack of
Reversibility - The ability to go through a set of steps in a problem and then mentally reverse the direction
to the start. Lack of hierarchical classification - The organisation of objects into classes and sub classes
on the basis of similarities and differences.
2.2.3 The Concrete Operational stage - (7 to 11 years). Thought becomes far more logical, flexible and organised.
Children are now capable of conservation, explaining it by decent ration and reversibility. Children can
classify the relations between one general category and two specific categories at the same time. Seriation -
The ability to classify items along a quantative dimension such as length or weight, Transitive inference - The
ability to seriate mentally. Improvements in spatial reasoning - Aged 8 to 10 children's maps show landmarks
along an organised route of travel. 10 to 12 year olds can comprehend scale.
2.2.4 The Formal Operational Stage - (11 years and older). Development of the capacity for abstract,
systematic, scientific thinking. Hypo- Deductive reasoning - When faced with a problem people start
with a hypothesis from which they deduct logical testable inferences, then they systematically isolate
and combine variables to see which are confirmed in the real world. Propositional thought - The ability
to evaluate the logic of propositions without referring to real world circumstances.
22.214.171.124 Egocentrism reappears in two ways. Imaginary audience - Adolescent's belief that they are the focus of
everyone's attention and concern, as result they become self conscious. Personal fable - Certain that others
are watching them, they develop an inflated opinion of their own importance. Adolescents with high personal
fable and sensation seeking scores tend to take more sexual risks, more often use drugs and commit more
2.3 Schemas - organised ways of making sense of
experience. They change with age, at first they are
sensorimotor action patterns. Then they move
towards the cognitive approach with mental
representations - internal depictions of information
that the mind can manipulate.
2.3.1 Adaptation - Building schemas through direct
interaction with the environment. It involves
assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation -
Current schemas are used to interpret the external
world. Accommodation - Creating new schemas or
adjusting old ones after noticing the current way of
thinking does not capture the environment completely.
126.96.36.199 Cognitive equilibrium - A comfortable state with
minimal change where assimilation occurs more than
accommodation. Disequilibrium - Rapid cognitive
change. Equilibration - the back and forward
movement between the two states.
2.3.2 Organisation - An internal process where children form new
schemas, rearrange them, linking them with other schemas
to create a stronger interconnected cognitive system.
2.4 Piaget's educational principles -
1) Discovery learning - Children
are encouraged to discover for
spontaneous interaction with the
environment. 2) Sensitivity to
children's readiness to learn -
Teachers introduce activities that
build on children's current
thinking. 3) Acceptance of
individual differences - Children
go through the same sequence
of development but at different
rates, therefore teachers must
plan different activities for small
groups and judge progress in
relation to previous development
not on the basis of normative
2.5 Challenges to Piaget's
Theory - 1) His
account of cognitive
change is not clear
Overemphasis on child
initiative. 2) Does
take place in stages? -
Periods of cognitive
equilibrium are rare
and progress takes
3 Object permanence - The
understanding that objects
continue to exist when they are
out of sight. A-not-B search error
- If they reach several times for
an object in a certain hiding
place (A), then see it moved to
another (B), the still search for it
in the first hiding place (A).
4 Violation-of-expectation method -
Habituate babies to a particular
event or show babies an expected
event. Then show them an
unexpected event and heightened
attention to the unexpected event
shows the child's awareness.
5 Analogical problem solving -
Applying a solution strategy from one
problem to other relevant problems.
Evident in infants from 10-12 months.
6 Displaced reference - words can
be used to cue mental images of
thins not physically present.
Occurs around 12months.
7 Video defect effect - Poorer
performance after attaching a video
than a live demonstration. Declines
around 2 1/2 years. Amount of tv
viewing is negatively related to 8-18
month olds language progress.
8 Dual representation - viewing a
symbolic object as both an object in
its own right and a symbol.
9 The Core
9.1 Infants begin life with innate special purpose knowledge systems
referred to as core domains of thought. Each prewired
understanding permits a ready grasp of new, related information
and supports early rapid development of certain aspects of
9.2 Physical knowledge -
understanding of objects and their
effects on one another. Numerical
knowledge - the capacity to keep
track of multiple objects and to
add and subtract small quantities.
9.2.1 Physical - 21/2 month olds realise that solid
objects cannot move through one another.
In the first half year infants are sensitive to
basic principles of object support.
9.2.2 Numerical - Babies can discriminate
quantities up to three and use that
knowledge to perform addition or
subtraction. 6 month olds can
distinguish between large sets of items
when the difference is great, at least by
a factor of 2. 6 month olds can also
9.3 Development is seen as domain-specific
and uneven. Children are viewed as naive
theorists building on core knowledge
concepts to explain their everyday
experiences in the psychological,
biological and physical worlds.
9.4 Theory theory - The theory of children as theorists. After
children observe an event, they draw on innate concepts to
theorise about it. Then they test their naive theory against
experience and revise it when it cannot adequately
account for new information.
9.4.1 Theory of mind -
oneself and others
that forms rapidly
during the first few
9.4.2 Children also have naive biological and physical theories.
The biological theories are the slowest to develop.
10.1 Emphasises the
profound effects or
rich social and cultural
contexts on children's
10.2 Speech - Language is the
foundation for all higher cognitive
processes. Children speak to
themselves for self-guidance and
as they get older and tasks get
easier their speech in internalised
as inner speech.
10.2.1 Private speech - Children use it more when tasks are
appropriately challenging, after they make errors or
when they are confused.
10.3 Zone of Proximal
Development - A range of
tasks too difficult for the
child to do alone but
possible with the help of
more skilled people.
10.4 Intersubjectivity - To promote
cognitive development social
interaction must have two
participants who begin a task
with different understandings
and arrive at a shared
10.5 Scaffolding - Adjusting the support offered during a teaching session to fit
the child's current level of performance. In contexts outside schooling
'guided participation' may be more effective. It refers to shared
endeavours without specifying the precise features of communication.
10.6 Make believe play - Vygotsky viewed it as a broadly influential zone of proximal development in which
children advance themselves as they try out a wide variety of challenging skills.
10.7 Education - Vygotksy's
classrooms promote assisted
discovery. Teacher's guide
children's learning with
explanations, demonstrations and
verbal prompts. Assissted
discovery is aided by 'peer
collaboration'. An emphasis on
10.7.1 Reciprocal Teaching
- A teacher and 2 to 4
students form a
and take in turns
leading dialogues on
the content of the text
summaise, clarify and
Learning - Peer
conditions. A crucial
factor is cooperative
learning where small
groups of classmates
10.8 Cultural variation - It
helps us understand
wide cultural variation in
cognitive skills. In some
cultures verbal dialogues
are not the most
important means in
which children learn.