Psychology 21 –Developmental Psychology: The Child

Psychology 21 –Developmental Psychology: The Child
Dr. Kent T. Yamauchi
Chapter 6: The First Two Years: Cognitive Development
(Berger, The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence, 8th Edition)
Chapter 6 explores the ways in which the infant comes to learn about, think about, and adapt to
his or her surroundings. It focuses on the various ways in which infant intelligence is revealed:
through sensorimotor intelligence, perception, memory, and language development. The chapter
begins with a description of Jean Piaget’s theory of sensorimotor intelligence, which maintains
that infants think exclusively with their senses and motor skills. Piaget’s six substages of
sensorimotor intelligence are examined.
The second section discusses the information-processing theory, which compares cognition to
the ways in which computers analyze data. Eleanor and James Gibson’s influential theory is also
described. Central to this theory is the idea that infants gain cognitive understanding of their
world through the affordances of objects, that is, the activities they can do with them.
The text also discusses the key cognitive elements needed by the infant to structure the
environment discovered through his or her newfound perceptual abilities. Using the habituation
procedure, researchers have found that the speed with which infants recognize familiarity and
seek something novel is related to later cognitive skill. It points out the importance of memory
to cognitive development.
Finally, the chapter turns to the most remarkable cognitive achievement of the first two years: the
acquisition of language. Beginning with a description of the infant’s first attempts at language,
the chapter follows the sequence of events that leads to the child's ability to utter two-word
sentences The chapter concludes with an examination of three classic theories of languages
acquisition and a fourth, hybrid theory, which combines aspect of each.
Sensorimotor Intelligence
Table 6.1: The Six Stages of Sensorimotor Intelligence
Stages One and Two: Primary Circular Reactions
Stages Three and Four: Secondary Circular Reactions
New Directions
Object Permanence
A View From Science: Object Permanence Revisited
Stages Five and Six: Tertiary Circular Reactions
Piaget and Modern Research
Boredom as a Research Method
Measuring the Brain
Figure 6.2: Some Techniques Used by Neuroscientists to Understand
Brain Function
Information Processing
Concepts from the Gibsons
Reminders and Repetition
A Little Older, a Little More Memory
Aspects of Memory
Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?
The Universal Sequence
Table 6.3: At About This Time: The Development of Spoken Language in the First
Two Years
Listening and Responding
First Words
The Naming Explosion
Cultural Differences
Putting Words Together
Theories of Language Learning
Theory One: Infants Need to Be Taught
Figure 6.1: Maternal Responsiveness and Infants’ Language Acquisition
Theory Two: Infants Teach Themselves
Theory Three: Social Impulses Foster Infant Language Learning
A Hybrid Theory