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Copy of Chapter 2 & 5: Cognitive Development (Dolgin, 2011)

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Suzanne Swantak-Furman

on 28 November 2016

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Transcript of Copy of Chapter 2 & 5: Cognitive Development (Dolgin, 2011)

How does thinking and reasoning change during adolescence?
Cognition: "the act of knowing or perceiving" (p. 118)

3 basic approaches to the study of cognition:

1) Piagetian- emphasizes broad patterns,
changes in thinking

2) Information-processing

3) Psychometric- measures

Effects of Adolescent Thought on Personality & Behavior
Reality-distorting qualities of early adolescence (Elkind):

- What it
might be like, thinking in terms of perfection
Adolescents can develop a "justice" or "cause" orientation
Offer ideal solutions to complex problems; suggest perfect outcomes and alternatives
Become critical of society and parents


- Discrepancy between what people say and do

Adolescents become detectives, sniffing out hypocritical behavior in others. They love to expose contradictions in adult arguments, values and beliefs. It becomes clear upon closer examination that teens are applying rules to others but not themselves.

Information Processing
Much of current research is focused on this theory of cognitive development.

An approach to studying cognition that focuses on the perception, attention, retrieval, and manipulation of information by the individual (p. 129).

Differs from Piaget in several ways:
Focused on micro-level analysis vs. broad approach
Change is more gradual and continuous vs. stage theory
Knowledge/cognitive structures are more specialized (skills used in contexts similar to those in which they are acquired) rather than general (p. 129).

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
Chapter 2 & 5: Cognitive Development (Dolgin, 2011)
The primary differences among the stages have to do primarily with:

1) what one can think about;
2) how flexible one's thinking is; and
3) how correctly one can use logic.
Sensorimotor (Birth-Age 2)
Senses bring child into contact with objects, as the child moves from a body-centered to object-centered world.
Learning is related to mastery of sensory-motor sequences
Intrigued with simple motor activities
"To think is to move"

Inflexible thought, does not engage in logic

Main development is understanding that objects exist and events occur in the world independently of one's own actions
Object Permanence
: knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden
Early in this stage, children do not grasp this concept, which is why peekaboo is a fun game!
Preoperational (Ages 2-7)
Language is acquired

Transductive reasoning
: Faulty logic that involves making inferences from one specific to another
The child looks at the moon and reasons;
'My ball is round, that thing there is round; therefore that thing is a ball' .

Children begin to engage in
symbolic play
Dress-up, fantasy/make-believe, role play
Using objects to represent something else (finger as gun)

Three Mountain Task- used by Piaget to test whether children were egocentric
Preoperational: Key Terms
: Trying to link ideas that are not always related
Last time Mommy went to the hospital, she brought home a baby; therefore, the next time she goes to the hospital she will bring home another baby.

: Inanimate objects have human-like properties and emotions
My doll is lonely, sad, hungry, etc.

: The tendency to focus on one detail; inability to shift attention to other details of the situation
There more water in the shallow dish than the tall one, because it is wider (Conservation Task)
Thoughts/communications are usually
(about themselves)...
You mean the world really doesn't revolve around me?
Are not able to consider more than one perspective simultaneously
Assume everyone thinks the same as they do
Concrete Operational (Ages 7-11)
Greater capacity for logical reasoning (concrete, not yet abstract)
Can make
transitive inferences
'Tom is taller than Fred, and Fred is taller than Marty. Is Tom taller than Marty?'
Requires ability to
(arrange in order from small to large or vice versa) AND perform mental manipulations

Able to arrange objects in
hierarchical classifications
(nested series of categories)

class inclusion relationships
(objects can be fit into different levels of hierarchies)

Learn that things can be grouped by size, alphabetical order, age, and so on AND that an object can simultaneously belong to more than one class

BUT... the object they are thinking about needs to be present. This is why elementary children benefit from manipulatives for math!
Jill's friend Beth has a new poodle. Jill knows that a poodle is a dog and a dog is a mammal and a mammal is an animal.

When she was younger, she didn't understand how these classifications worked, but now that she's older, she understands that each set of things nests inside of the others. She knows that poodles are dogs and dogs are mammals, and therefore, she knows that poodles are mammals.
Four Important Mental Operations
- All actions have an opposite; lets you think backward and imagine the object's state before some action was performed on it
If we see a wet washcloth, we know it was dunked in water, since removing the water will make it dry again

- If we do something to an object, and then do the opposite, the net effect is that the object remains unchanged (the action is nullified)
You have 6 pennies. Your brother gives you 2 more, but your sister takes 2 away. Nothing has changed.

- The same outcome can result from different clusterings, combinations, or actions
If I make a fruit salad, I can mix blueberries and pineapple, and then add strawberries. OR I can mix pineapple and strawberries, and then add blueberries... it's the same end result.

- Classes can be combined to form larger, broader categories
All men and all women = all adults
Conservation Problems
Used by Piaget to determine if a child has entered the concrete operational stage of cognitive development
Children who have mastered concrete operations understand that changing an object's appearance does not alter its fundamental properties
Formal Operational (11-Adult)
The key development in this stage = Abstract reasoning emerges...
No longer need to have concrete objects available

If we ask the question “If Kelly is taller than Ali and Ali is taller than Jo, who is tallest?” a child in formal operational stage can answer it without drawing/writing on paper;

Can use
inductive reasoning
(gathering information, forming hypotheses/constructing theories, testing them logically and scientifically, forming conclusions)
hypothetico-deductive reasoning
(Scientific Method)
Engage in systematic problem-solving
Thinking is flexible; they are not stuck with preconceptions
The classic task that Piaget developed to measure formal operational thinking was the
pendulum task

If one has a pendulum that is swinging, what determines the period (length of time) of the swing?

What steps should we take?

Make a plan.
Pendulum Task
Adolescent Egocentricity
A Summary: Formal Operational
At each stage of development, the person becomes less egocentric... at this stage, we see that adolescents are still more egocentric than adults
Critique of Piaget's Theory
Researchers agree that adolescent thinking surpasses that of younger children, but questions Piaget's claims about formal operational thought on several fronts:

Age at which formal operational thought replaces concrete operational thought AND whether it is inevitable
Age of first 3 stages appears more or less universal; full attainment of formal operations is not guaranteed
Fewer economically deprived adolescents achieve formal thought
Some cultures offer more opportunities to develop abstract thought

Even those who use formal operations don't consistently do so
If you lose your keys and check the same place 10x while looking for them, are you searching in a logical, systematic way?

Development isn't as sudden as stage theory might suggest; subtle changes in a child's thinking happen gradually, over time.
Let's not discount Piaget entirely. Children do become significantly and qualitatively more intelligent beginning at about age 11. Deductive reasoning, the ability to think hypothetically, and metacognition improve during adolescence.
The inability to take the perspective of another or to imagine the other person's point of view
The assumption that everyone share's one's thoughts, beliefs, feelings
Personal fable
: Adolescents' belief that they are indestructible, their feelings are special, and they are highly unique.
A cognitive limitation
"Nobody else can understand"
'It can't happen to me" syndrome-
I am so special, those things won't happen, only other people get in car accidents, have unintended pregnancies, get STDs
Imaginary audience:
Adolescents often have the feeling that everyone is
watching and paying attention to what they are doing. "I am the main actor and everyone else is the audience"
An egocentric state
This contributes to strong feelings of extreme self-consciousness
Some adolescents react to this imaginary audience by loud and provocative behavior (need to be noticed)
Let's Discuss...
Do you believe "imaginary audience inhibited you in early and middle adolescence? Now?
Steps in Information Processing
Steps in Memory Processing
- You receive info through your senses

- your ability to choose what to attend to and ignore distractions improves throughout adolescence

- based on your perceptions; can be faulty due to lack of information

- where information is held (sensory, ST, LT)... LT memory improves throughout childhood, adolescence

Processing speed
- the pace at which the brain perceives and manipulates information... slower in 12-13 year olds than adults. As this improves, it leads to increases in intelligence, problem solving abilities, reasoning

Ross (1981) proposed mastering five skills to effectively make decisions:

(1) Identifying alternate courses of action

(2) Identifying appropriate criteria for considering alternatives

(3) Assessing alternatives by criteria

(4) Summarizing information about alternatives

(5) Evaluating the outcome of the decision making process
Older adolescents are more aware of the process of decision-making than younger adolescents, who are less likely to generate options, anticipate consequences, evaluate credibility of sources.
Barriers to Good Decision-Making
1) Over reliance on
(rules of thumb; mental short cut).
Example: Deciding to eat in a restaurant because there are a lot of cars in the parking lot
Sunk cost fallacy
- people will do more of a disliked activity if they paid for it than if it were free
Ever go to a bad movie?

Rely on intuition instead of analytic reasoning
Going with your gut

Dual process theory
- Theory of decision-making that says adolescents can logically and analytically make choices, but instead often rely on intuition and short-term benefit instead

Risky decision-making... if an adolescent views a behavior in absolute terms "It's ALL BAD" they are less likely to do it. If the behavior is viewed as having costs AND benefits, they are more likely to do it anyway.
Psychometric Approach
Interested in measuring knowledge and thinking ability

Achievement tests
: measure mastery of particular subject matter. Example: SAT

IQ tests
: measure intelligence
Primarily measure analytical, linguistic, and logical/mathematical intelligence
Score may change greatly between childhood and adolescence; by adolescence, IQ score is typically stable

Factors influencing results include: test anxiety, motivation, actual intelligence, cultural bias of the assessment tool

Many tests are a blend of the two types
Remember... test results may not reflect intelligence
May reflect emotional or physical state
Measures a narrow range of intelligence
May reflect background

IQ tests do generally predict school performance
Theories of Intelligence
Intelligence has many definitions
Innate capacity to learn, think, reason,understand, and solve problems

Two theories generally accepted:

Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
Analytic- traditional concept of intelligence- general learning, comprehension abilities
Creative- creativity, insight
Practical- problem-solving
Research points to adolescents learning more if we tap into all three

Gardner- Multiple Intelligences

Gardner's Theory
Making good decisions is a characteristics of an intelligent, mature adult.

Decision-making involves information search and processing to understand available options.
What factors improve decision making?
Advances in metacognition (thinking about one's own thinking) or executive control
What are your best study conditions?
More experience in decision-making
(practice makes perfect)
- to develop new thoughts from old information

- the conscious, deliberate manipulation of information. Adolescents can better use negative information in thinking (refutes hypotheses)

- Logical, constrained, useful thinking. Analogies, deductions, inductions, problem solving. Improves in adolescence
(better able to see similarities between problems, use past experiences to solve current dilemmas)
but still don't use data as effectively as adults.
Compare to actions of a computer:

Information coded and fed into the computer, stored in memory

When information is needed, computer is asked to retrieve it

Computer locates and displays the information

The computer can then operate on the information
Steps in Information Processing
Chapter 2: OVERVIEW (pp. 38-42)
Cognition = act or process of knowing (p. 38)

Piaget: Believed brain maturation (BIOLOGY) and personal experience (ENVIRONMENT) drive cognitive development

Vygotsky: Cognitive skills develop through social interactions.

Children learn best when paired with a more skilled partner for collaborative problem-solving

The task should be just beyond the child's grasp, but not so hard as to be overwhelming (ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT)

Learning is enhanced when we use scaffolding (provide assistance and gradually withdraw as the child learns to complete the task alone)
Piaget: Adaptation TERMS (ch. 2, p. 39)
the original patterns of thinking; the mental structures that people use for dealing with what happens in the environment
A set of linked mental representations of the world, which we use both to understand and to respond to situations.

Child has a schema about what a dog looks like based on experiences.
EXAMPLE: Dogs are small, furry and has 4 legs

including and adjusting to new information that increases understanding. There are two means of adaptation:

1. Assimilation:
incorporating a feature of the environment into the existing mode or structure of thought

Assimilation is like adding air into a balloon. You just keep blowing it up. It gets bigger and bigger.
Child encounters large dog, takes in this new information and modifies the schema for dog.

2. Accommodation:
adjusting to new information by creating new structures to replace the old ones
Child encounters a raccon (small, furry, 4 legs). Child alters existing information to leran that all 4 legged, furry small animals are not dogs. The child now understands that a raccoon is not a dog but an entirely new animal
Chapter 2: OVERVIEW (pp. 38-42)
Bandura (Social Learning Theory): Children learn by observing others' behavior and imitating the pattern (MODELING)...
Research shows parents are most likely to be modeled by adolescents. Siblings, significant others, and friends/peers also play a role.

Bandura also identified forms of reinforcement as key to learning:
1. Vicarious reinforcement: learning from observing the positive/negative consequences of another's behavior

2. Self-reinforcement: The act of learners rewarding themselves for activities/responses they consider good quality

QUESTION: Do you ever engage in self-reinforcement?
"...what adults do and the role models they provide are far more important in influencing adolescent behavior than what they say" (Dolgin, 2011, p. 41)
Chapter 2: OVERVIEW (pp. 38-42)
Bandura expanded his theory in the 1980s to add the role of cognition (beliefs, self-perceptions, expectations)

Social-Cognitive Theory: It's not just the environment that influences our behavior. We also determine our own futures by selecting future environments and setting goals we wish to pursue. We then reflect on/regulate our thoughts, feelings and actions to achieve these goals we have set.
How you interpret the ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES determines how you will act
EXAMPLE... Next slide!
Think about learning to ride a bike. What are the scaffolds?
We can move students beyond what they can do without help by providing adult guidance or problem solving collaboratively with peers
Children in the formal operational stage will test each variable systematically to see which one(s) affect the period of the swing.

Younger children will also test but they will not test systematically.
- Tendency to approach problems at much too complex a level and to fail, not because the tasks are too hard, but because they are too simple.
Looks like stupidity but it's NOT; the obvious or simple seems to illude them
Even small decisions can become overwhelming- they get lost in all the possibilities and miss the obvious [OVER ANALYZE]
Due to lack of experience

- Fascination with one's thoughts and feelings
Replaying interactions, looking for subtle meaning
Can you think of how this might work to society's/ schools advantage?
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