Theories of Human Behavior

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Theory of Cognitive Development
• Developmental psychology
• Concerns the growth of intelligence, which for Piaget, meant the ability to more accurately represent the world and perform logical operations on representations of concepts grounded in interactions with the world • Schemata – schemes of how one perceives the world; emerges and is developed in developmental stages • We construct our cognitive abilities through self-motivated action in the world • Assimilation – take in material from the environment

• Accommodation – difference made to your mind to understand what you take in from the environment (through assimilation) o You cannot have one without the other
• Classification – the ability to group objects together on the basis of common features • Class inclusion – the ability to understand that some classes or sets of objects are also sub-sets of a larger class o Class of dogs, class of animals; all dogs fit into the classification of “animals,” so the class of “animals” includes dogs • Conservation – realization that objects or sets of objects stay the same even when they are changed about or made to look different • Decentration – the ability to move away from one system of classification to another one as appropriate • Egocentrism – belief that you are the center of the universe and everything revolves around you; can’t see the world from another person’s perspective • Operation – process of working something out in your head; Young children have to act and try things out in the real world (count on your fingers); older people can do it in their head • Four Stages:

1. Sensorimotor (birth – 2 years)
▪ Development of essential spatial abilities and understanding of the world in 6 sub-stages: i. Reflex Scheme (birth-1 month)
a. Development of reflexes
b. Grasping, sucking, etc.
ii. Primary Circular Reaction Phase (1-4 mos.) a. Repetition of reflexive behaviors b. Opening and closing fingers repetitively iii. Secondary Circular Reaction Phase (4-8 mos.) a. Development of coordination between vision and prehension (hand-eye coordination) b. Try to reproduce interesting consequences c. Kicking feet to move a mobile suspended over the crib iv. Coordination of Secondary Circular Reaction (8-12 mos.) a. Responses become coordinated into more complex sequences b. Development of object permanence – reach behind a screen to get a hidden object v. Tertiary Circular Reaction Phase (12-18 mos.) a. Discover new ways to produce the same consequence of obtain the same goal b. Pulls a pillow toward him to get a toy resting on the pillow vi. Beginnings of Symbolic Representation (18-24 mos.) a. Internal representational system develops b. Deferred imitation

2. Preoperational (2 – 7 years)
▪ Begin to use symbols to represent objects and personify objects ▪ Difficulty in conceptualizing time
▪ Classifies objects by a single feature (all of the red blocks, regardless of shape; all of the square blocks regardless of color) ▪ Thinking is influenced by fantasy
▪ Egocentrism – only see things from his perspective 3. Concrete Operational (7 – 11 years)
▪ Accommodation increases
▪ Achieves conservation of number, mass, and weight ▪ Classifies objects according to several features ▪ Beings to think abstractly and to make rational judgments about concrete or observable phenomena ▪ Give him the opportunity to ask lots...
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