Berk is a distinguished professor of psychology at Illinois State University, where she has taught child and human development to both undergraduate and graduate students for more than three decades. Her research has been funded by the U. Her empirical studies have attracted the attention of the general public, leading to contributions to Psychology Today and Scientific American. Currently, she is associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology.

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Answer: According to Piaget, specific psychological structures called schemes, change with age. At first, schemes are sensorimotor action patterns. They cannot yet carry out many activities mentally. It provides a special means of adapting her first schemes.

She starts to gain voluntary control over her actions through the primary circular reaction, by repeating chance behaviors largely motivated by basic needs. This leads to some simple motor habits. Through the secondary circular reaction, she tries to repeat interesting events—through intentional, or goal-directed, behaviors—in the surrounding environment that are caused by her own actions.

As she begins to master object permanence and imitation, the tertiary circular reaction, or repeated behaviors with variation, emerges.

Yet research indicates that, beginning at 8 to 10 months, babies can recall the location of hidden objects, indicating that babies construct mental representations of objects and their whereabouts. And in studies of deferred imitation, categorization, and problem solving, representational thought is evident even earlier. Researchers disagree on how babies arrive at these impressive attainments. One view holds that older infants and toddlers categorize more effectively because they become increasingly sensitive to fine-grained perceptual features and to stable relations among these features.

An alternative view is that before the end of the first year, babies undergo a fundamental shift from a perceptual to a conceptual basis for constructing categories. Yet we have also seen evidence that infants comprehend a great deal before they are capable of the motor behaviors that Piaget assumed led to those understandings. Answer: Piaget believed that through pretending, children practice and strengthen newly acquired representational schemes.

Sociodramatic play has been studied most thoroughly. Vygotsky regarded make-believe play as a unique, broadly influential zone of proximal development in which children advance themselves as they try out a wide variety of challenging skills. First, as children create imaginary situations, they learn to act in accord with internal ideas, not just in response to external stimuli. Gradually they realize that thinking or the meaning of words is separate from objects and that ideas can be used to guide behavior.

Pretend play, Vygotsky pointed out, constantly demands that children act against their impulses because they must follow the rules of the play scene. For example, a child pretending to go to sleep obeys the rules of bedtime behavior. A child imagining himself as a father and a doll as his child conforms to the rules of parental behavior. Through enacting rules in make-believe, children better understand social norms and expectations and strive to follow them.

Vygotsky argued that, like other higher cognitive processes, the elaborate pretending of the preschool years has social origins. He believed that when children first mentally represent the world, they tend to focus on their own viewpoint and to assume that others perceive, think, and feel the same way they do. Conservation refers to the idea that certain physical characteristics of objects remain the same, even when their outward appearance changes. First, their understanding is centered, or characterized by centration.

They focus on one aspect of a situation, neglecting other important features. The most important illogical feature of preoperational thought is irreversibility. Reversibility—the ability to go through a series of steps in a problem and then mentally reverse direction, returning to the starting point—is part of every logical operation. Preoperational children also have difficulty with hierarchical classification—the organization of objects into classes and subclasses on the basis of similarities and differences.

Answer: Piaget believed that at adolescence, young people become capable of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. When faced with a problem, they start with a hypothesis, or prediction about variables that might affect an outcome, from which they deduce logical, testable inferences.

Then they systematically isolate and combine variables to see which of these inferences are confirmed in the real world. This form of problem solving begins with possibility and proceeds to reality. In contrast, children can evaluate the logic of statements only by considering them against concrete evidence in the real world.

Although Piaget did not view language as playing a central role in cognitive development, he acknowledged its importance in adolescence. Formal operations require language-based and other symbolic systems that do not stand for real things, such as those in higher mathematics.

Secondary school students use such systems in algebra and geometry. Formal operational thought also involves verbal reasoning about abstract concepts.

Adolescents show that they can think in this way when they ponder the relations among time, space, and matter in physics or wonder about justice and freedom in philosophy.

Answer: According to the core knowledge perspective, infants begin life with innate, special-purpose knowledge systems referred to as core domains of thought. Two core domains have been studied extensively in infancy. The first is physical knowledge—in particular, understanding of objects and their effects on one another. The second is numerical knowledge—the capacity to keep track of multiple objects and to add and subtract small quantities.

Physical and numerical knowledge permitted our ancestors to secure food and other resources from the environment. Rather than regarding development as a general process, core knowledge theorists see it as domain-specific and uneven, with each core domain developing independently. And although initial knowledge is assumed to be innate, that knowledge becomes more elaborate as children explore, play, and interact with others.

Piaget believed that cognitive development and certain social experiences eventually bring an end to egocentric speech. Specifically, through repeated disagreements with peers, children see that others hold viewpoints different from their own. As a result, egocentric speech declines in favor of social speech, in which children adapt what they say to their listeners. Because language helps children think about mental activities and behavior and select courses of action, Vygotsky saw it as the foundation for all higher cognitive processes, including controlled attention, deliberate memorization and recall, categorization, planning, problem solving, abstract reasoning, and self-reflection.

As they get older and find tasks easier, their self-directed speech is internalized as silent, inner speech—the internal verbal dialogues we carry on while thinking and acting in everyday situations. Children use more of it when tasks are appropriately challenging neither too easy nor too hard , after they make errors, or when they are confused about how to proceed.

With age, as Vygotsky predicted, private speech goes underground, changing into whispers and silent lip movements. Furthermore, children who freely use self-guiding private speech during a challenging activity are more attentive and involved and show better task performance than their less talkative agemates. Assisted discovery is aided by peer collaboration, as children work in groups, teaching and helping one another.

Once formal schooling begins, Vygotsky emphasized literacy activities. Vygotsky-based educational innovations include reciprocal teaching, in which a teacher and two to four students form a collaborative group and take turns leading dialogues on the content of a text passage. Within the dialogues, group members apply four cognitive strategies: questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting. Today, peer collaboration is widely used, but evidence is mounting that it promotes development only under certain conditions.

A crucial factor is cooperative learning, in which small groups of classmates work toward common goals. Conflict and disagreement seem less important than the extent to which peers achieve intersubjectivity—by resolving differences of opinion, sharing responsibilities, and providing one another with sufficient explanations to correct misunderstandings. Page Ref: —


Child Development, 9th Edition



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Child Development, 9th edition



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