Janet Belsky’s
Experiencing The Lifespan, 2e
Chapter 5:
Physical and Cognitive Development
Early and Middle Childhood
Meredyth Fellows, West Chester University of PA
Setting the Context: Special
Social Learning Tasks

What sets us apart from other animals?
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_____________________________
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Learn norms of our culture
Ability to take another person’s perspective
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Mind-reading skill (begins with joint attention)
Language
Slow-growing Frontal Lobes
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Compared to other parts of the brain,
__________________development is on a delayed
timetable.
As frontal lobes mature throughout childhood and
adolescence, our ability to think through, inhibit, and plan
our actions gradually improves.
Growth and Motor Skills: Basic Facts

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Cephalocaudal sequence—bodies elongate and lengthen
Mass-to-specific sequence—physical abilities become more
coordinated and precise
Two types of physical skills
 ________________: large muscle movement
Gross Motor Video
 _______________: small coordinated movement
Fine Motor Video
Obesity

Monitored in U.S. by National Health
and Nutrition Study (NHANES), a
National Poll

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Assessed by BMI=ratio weight to height
Obesity: BMI at or above the 95th %
compared to U.S. norms established for
children in the 1970s
CDC DATA VIDEO
% of U.S. Children Aged 6-11
who are classified as Obese
Childhood Obesity

Global Epidemic

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Demographics differ in developed and
developing worlds
Obesity in the developed world


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Children from low income families
In U.S., highest among
____________________________children
Developing world: disease of the “well-off”
Factors Promoting Obesity

Primary Culprit: lack of physical activity



_________________of food

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Internet, TV
Research shows that time spent watching TV predicts
obesity
Restaurant foods, large servings, and caloric content
Negative attitudes toward the obese

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Teasing; Stereotyping
Studies show gym teachers display negative attitude
(obese children judged slow and clumsy)
Cognitive Development
Cognitive Development
Piaget’s Preoperational Stage

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Spans ages 3 to elementary school (7, 8)
Preoperational Thinking

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Type of cognition marked by an inability to step
back from one’s immediate perceptions and to
think conceptually.
Thinking is qualitatively unlike that of an adult.
Cannot reason logically; cannot look beyond
appearance of objects
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
Assessing Preoperational
Thought

Piaget’s Conservation Tasks
 ____________: our knowledge that the amount of a
given substance remains the same despite changes in
its shape or form. Video
 Preoperational children do not understand:
 The laws of conservation!
 The concept of reversibility!
 Children center only on what they can see!
 Preoperational children learn through pretend play


Video Pretend Play
Video Stars Wars Revealed
Preoperational Thinking:
Peculiar Perceptions About People

Preoperational children
have an inability to
understand
________________—
a person’s core self stays
the same despite
changes in appearance
Other Peculiarities in Thinking

Animism

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Artificialism

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Belief that inanimate
objects are alive
Belief that humans make
everything in nature
________________

Inability to understand
another’s perspective
Piaget’s Concrete Operational
Stage: Ages 5-7

Skills develop gradually (57) but by age 8 children are
firmly in this stage.
 Understand conservation
tasks-Video
 Give up animism
 Understand identity
constancy
 Look beyond the way
things appear
 Begin to understand
principles of basic math
Evaluating Piaget

Should we classify preoperational and concrete
operational thinking as
belonging to different stages?


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Skills appear gradually!
Children are less egocentric
than Piaget believed.
Cultural influences on timing
of learning certain tasks
Piaget did not believe in active
teaching; believed children
would automatically grow out
of their preoperational
worldview.
Lev Vygotsky: A Different
View of Cognitive Growth

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
Human interaction promotes learning
and cognitive growth
Zone of ________________________
Learning is bidirectional
Video
Information Processing:
Helping Children with ADHD

Standard Treatment: psycho-stimulant
medications


Best when used with reinforcement for
appropriate behavior
Foster best person-environment fit

Provide non-distracting environment that
demands selective attention (e.g.
homework)
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder

Characteristics:

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Excessive restlessness
Easily distracted
Difficulties focusing
Usually diagnosed in elementary school
Most often diagnosed in boys
More often diagnosed in the U.S.
Interventions for ADHD

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Reduce distractions.
Allow special time for exercise.
Give the child special time and help with
activities that demand several steps.
Minimize the need to multitask.
Consider psycho-stimulant medication.
Avoid power-assertion. Do not define your
child as a “bad kid.”
Theory of Mind


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The understanding
that people have
different beliefs and
perspectives from
one’s own
About age 4-5
Researchers use
“_______________”
Video