Lecture 3b: Cognitive Development
last updated 2/6/2004



I. Cognitive Development

        A.  Piaget (more about Piaget's theory of development)

               1.  Process of constructing knowledge

                         a.  Information is organized into schemas (groups of inter-related ideas)

                         b.  Based on principles of assimilation and accommodation (example 1 | example 2)


               2.  Stages of development (overview)

                         a.  Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years)
                                     1. Object permanence (psycSim video)
                                     2. Stranger anxiety

                         b.  Preoperational (2 to 6 years)
                                     1. Ability to pretend: pic1 | pic2 | pic3
                                     2. Egocentrism (theory of mind?): pic1 | pic2

                         c.  Concrete operational (7 to 11 years)
                                     1. Conservation (Psyc Sim video)
                                              a   volume (demo | actual photo)
                                              b.  more examples
                                              c.  cartoon
                                     2. Mathematical transformations
                                     3. Abstract logic, theoretical thinking, mature moral reasoning

                         d.  Formal operations (12 to adulthood)


3. Critique of Piaget's theory

          a.  Underestimated children’s abilities

1.  Object Permanence (understand that partially covered object is whole)
          a.  Occlusion
          b.  Occlusion experiment

               2.  Egocentrism
                         a.  Sally and Anne study (4-year-olds get it right!)
                         b.  Drawings turned to face mom

          b.  Overestimated age differences in thinking (are there clean categories?)

          c.  Vague about process of change

          d.  Underestimated role of environment (e.g., Vygotsky)