Developmental psychology/Chapter 7/Cognition

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Vygotsky and Piaget[edit | edit source]

  • Concrete operational thought - This was Piaget's term for a child being able to engage in productive thinking. Kids classify items into certain groups (different types of meat, for example). Children at age 11 are able to arrange things into a series (such as the alphabet, for example), which is known as seriation.

Vygotsky, like Piaget, believed that the child's thought process should be considered vs. the product. Middle childhood was also the major source of growth, largely depending on their culture. Vygotsky opposes modern-day educational systems (education based on memorization) because it hampers a child's creativity and expression.

As opposed to Piaget believing children will figure out things for themselves, Vygotsky stressed mentors as they are the bridge for a child's understanding, tailoring to their zone of proximal development. Early schooling, for example, has different results for different children - Vygotsky explaining that some educational systems are more interactive than others, improving the education of that child. Children can learn by interacting with other children and can be finely tuned by a mentor, which is why kids age 11 are able to "master logical arguments". Kids learn information at face-value opposes figuring out the deeper meaning of things.

Overall, Piaget focused on universal growth while Vygotsky paid more attention to the cultural impact.

Dwelling into the brain
  • Hubs are areas in the brain where a number of axons meet up. These are near the corpus callosum and brain dysfunction is the result of damaging these areas.
  • The linkage between the hypothalamus and amygdala is crucial for emotional regulation. Stress hinders this linkage.
  • The many lobes of the brain connect with each other and that is how we're able to read.

The Third Option: Robert Siegler[edit | edit source]

Moving on further from Piaget & Vygotsky is information-processing, which is where children seek answers to their questions, study the answers and then summarize based on the information they see. This is advocated by Robert Siegler.

As children strengthen their knowledge base (knowledge in a certain field that allows children to learn new info in that field). They're able to judge and remember what is/what is not worth remembering. It is past experiences, current situation and motivation that allows for the knowledge base to grow.

  • Control processes - The mechanisms in the brain (including emotional regulation) which add "memory, processing speed, and the knowledge base" into one to control what comes in/out of the information-processing system. Two terms that are crucial to understanding "cognitive control" are metacognition ("thinking about thinking") and metamemory ("thinking about memory"). The brain operates like a CEO of a business. Maturation and experience play a role, with 11-year-olds knowing what questions to delete out of a test in which they know what they didn't know.

Language[edit | edit source]

  • Kids in the pre-frontal cortex can understand "prefixes, suffixes, compound words, phrases, and metaphors". A 10-year-old who's never familiar with "rotten eggs" will know what "last one in is a rotten egg" mean. Vocabulary is taught in every elementary school in the world.
  • Pragmatics is understood, where a child knows how to talk to a teacher vs. a friend. This is evident in formal vs. informal.
  • About 1/5 children speak another language at home, with different grammar and pronunciation. This may cause issues for a teacher, but kids <5 yrs can easily learn different language codes.

How to teach ELLs?[edit | edit source]

  • ELL - someone with a deficiency in English, usually measured by a score vs. an official score for proficiency. One method of learning is immersion, studying all contents in the second language, vs. introducing the second language after the first language. Other methods are bilingual education and ESL (classes for learning English to prepare them for English learning classes). Cognitive advances lead to proficiency in the language.

Immigrant children may feel a need to get approval from their parents who've worked hard to settle into their new land, so they study and work hard.

SES[edit | edit source]

Kids from low SES families possess smaller vocabulary learnings and are impaired in grammatical ability vs. kids in high SES families. This may be because of air pollution, no breakfast, poorly educated/teenage parents, violence, no appropriate models, etc. The plasticity of the brain allows neural connections to be made to support language. This can be aided by providing children with many books to read, which can give them +3 yrs in education.