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  1. Part II Chapter Six The First Two Years: Cognitive Development Sensorimotor Intelligence Information Processing Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.

  2. The First Two Years: Cognitive Development • Infant cognition • cognition = “thinking” • “thinking” in a very broad sense includes… • language • learning • memory • intelligence

  3. The First Two Years: Cognitive Development • Infants organize by the end of the first year… • sensations and perceptions • sequence and direction • the familiar and the strange • objects and people • events and experiences • permanence and transiency • cause and effect

  4. Sensorimotor Intelligence • Piaget’s first stage • infants learn through senses and motor actions

  5. Piaget and Research Methods • Sensorimotor intelligence actually occurs earlier for most infants than Piaget predicted. • Habituation, the process of getting used to a stimulus after repeated exposure. • If a new object appears and the infant reacts, it is assumed they recognize the object as something different.

  6. Information Processing Theory • “a perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output”

  7. Information Processing Theory • Affordance • “…an opportunity for perception and interaction that is offered by a person, place, or object in the environment” • Perceptionis the mental processing of information that arrives at the brain from the sensory organs

  8. Information Processing Theory • Affordance • two people can have discrepant perceptions of the same situation, not only interpreting it differently but actually observing it differently • depending on: • past experiences • current developmental level • sensory awareness of opportunities • immediate needs and motivation

  9. Information Processing Theory • Information processing improves over the first year as infants become quicker to remember • Experiences affect which affordances are perceived…

  10. Information Processing Theory • Sudden Drops • …the visual cliff, an apparatus to measure depth perception • infants become interested in “crossing” the cliff about 8 months (having had experience falling) • the cliff “affords” danger for older infants

  11. Information Processing Theory • Movement and People • dynamic perception • primed to focus on movement and change • a people preference • a universal principle of infant perception, an innate attraction to other humans, which is evident in visual, auditory, tactile, and other preferences

  12. Information Processing Theory • Memory • Even very young infants can remember under the following circumstances: • experimental conditions are similar to “real life” • motivation is high • special measures are taken to aid memory retrieval

  13. Information Processing Theory • A Little Older, a Little More Memory • after about 6 months infants can retain information for longer periods of time… with less training or reminding • by the middle of the 2nd year toddlers can remember and reenact more complex sequences

  14. Information Processing Theory • Memory is not one “thing” • brain-imaging techniques reveal many distinct brain regions devoted to particular aspects of memory • implicit memory is memory for routines and memories that remain hidden until particular stimulus bring them to mind • explicit memory is memory that can be recalled on demand

  15. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • “The acquisition of language,… its idiomatic phases, grammar rules, and exceptions, is the most impressive intellectual achievement of the young child.”

  16. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • The Universal Sequence • Around the world children follow the same sequence of early language development

  17. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Listening and Responding • infants begin learning language before birth… • infants prefer speech over other sounds • child-directed speech • the high-pitched, simplified, and repetitive way adults speak to infants

  18. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Babbling • repeating certain syllables (e.g., da-da-da). • all babies babble, even deaf babies (although later and less frequently). • babbling is a way to communicate.

  19. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • First Words • usually around 1 year the average baby speaks, or signs a few words • by 13 months spoken language increases very gradually • 6 to 15 month-olds learn meaning rapidly and comprehend about 10 times as many words as they speak

  20. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • The Naming Explosion • a sudden increase in an infant’s vocabulary, especially in the number of nouns begins at about 18 months • vocabulary reaches about 50 expressed words at a rate of 50 to 100 per month, 21 month-olds saying twice as many as 18 month-olds

  21. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Cultural Differences • the ratio of nouns to verbs and adjectives show cultural influences. • one explanation is the language itself (i.e. English, Chinese differ) • another explanation is social context (toys and objects) • every language has some concepts encoded in adult speech

  22. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Sentences • “The first words soon take on nuances of tone, loudness, and cadence that are precursors of the first grammar, because a single word can convey many messages by the way it is spoken.”

  23. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Sentences “Dada!” “Dada?” and “Dada.” • each is a holophrase, a single word that expresses a complete, meaningful thought. • intonations varying in tone and pitch is extensive in babbling and again in holophrases at about 18 months

  24. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theories of Language Learning • 2 year olds worldwide use language well • bilingual children keep two languages separate and speak whatever language a listener understands

  25. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theories of Language Learning • There are 3 theories of how infants learn language: • they are taught (view of B. F. Skinner) • they teach themselves (view of Noam Chomsky) • social impulses foster learning

  26. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theory One: Infants Need to Be Taught • 50 years ago the dominant learning theory in North America was behaviorism • B. F. Skinner (1957) noticed that spontaneous babbling is usually reinforced… a grinning mother appears, repeating, praising, giving attention to the infant • Parents are expert teachers, other caregivers help • Frequent repetitions instructive when linked to daily life

  27. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theory Two: Infants Teach Themselves • a contrary theory is that language learning is innate--adults need not teach it • Norm Chomsky (1968,1980) felt that language is too complex to be mastered merely through step-by-step conditioning

  28. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theory Two: Infants Teach Themselves • universal grammar--all young children master basic language at about the same age • Language Acquisition Device (LAD) • a hypothesized mental structure that enables humans to learn language, including the basic aspects of grammar, vocabulary and intonation

  29. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • Theory Three: Social Impulses Foster Infant Language • called social-pragmatic perceives the crucial starting point to be neither vocabulary reinforcement (behaviorism) nor innate connection (epigenetic), but rather the social reason for language; communication • Infants communicate in every way they can because humans are social beings and depend on one another for survival and joy

  30. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years?

  31. Language: What Develops in the First Two Years? • A Hybrid Theory • the integration of all three perspectives… • their model an emergentist coalition… combing valid aspects of several theories about the emergence of language during infancy