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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 11
Cognitive development is the process of the development of children understanding of the world as
a function of age and experience.
Development of Cognition and Cognitive Ability
Cognition is the process of knowing as well as what is known. It includes "knowledge" which is innate/
inborn and present in the form of brain structures and functions. We `remember' the physical environment
in which we were brought up and develop perceptual constructs or knowledge accordingly (seeing, hearing,
sounds etc
Disciplines Interested in the Study and Use of Cognition
The interest in human cognition and its development has been developed and applied in a variety
of scientific disciplines:
Anthropologists focus on, and measure, how cognition develops in different cultures.
Sociologists study how cognitions are acquired and used in various groups and institutional
Computer scientists target to create `artificial intelligence'.
Psychologists are interested in a better understanding of the human cognitive ability and
potentials, how it is utilized in different situations and at different stages.
Nature of Cognition
The very word cognitive refers to the process of knowing as well as the known. Cognition thus, has at least
two main aspects/ features i.e.,
i.  Cognition means `mental processes' that people use to gather/ acquire knowledge, and
ii. Cognition refers to the knowledge that has been gathered/ acquired subsequently used in mental
Mental processes
Cognition and Knowledge
There is probably no aspect of human life and behavior
that is void of all sorts of cognition...not even sleep
All human intellectual activities and potentials, i.e. thinking,
communicating, problem solving, and learning require mental processes and
Factors Influencing the Cognitive Development
Long term memory and information processing or working memory are traits of the human
infant which exist and operate much earlier than when one is aware of it; these are intact even
before birth but these contents of memory are unknown to consciousness.
The ability to control `mental processes' and `innate/ inborn knowledge' develops after birth
and this may occur largely due to the interaction of the child with the physical environment
The child's interaction and bonding with the people around has a deep impact. Most often
parents especially the mother, also including the caregivers/caretakers, are the most significant
connections for the development of cognition.
Significant Influences on Cognition
Socio- Cultural Factor
·  Given and debated in the early 1900s socio-cultural approach has now regained interest among
cognitive scientists
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
It states that cognitive ability does not start with the anatomy/ biology of the individual or only
with the environment: the culture and society into which the individual is born provide the most
important resources/ clues for human cognitive development.
·  They provide the context into which the individual begins his experience of the world.
·  Social groups help in person's cognitive development by placing value/ importance on learning
certain skills, thereby providing all important motivation that the person needs and requires in
order to learn and exhibit those skills or behaviors. This results in cognitive development
·  One perspective about cognitive ability suggest that there is some sort of innate potential existing
within an individual
Another suggests that there is potential within the socio- cultural context for development of the individual.
The individual is born into a society of potential intellect. Knowledge will develop largely based on the
evolution of intellect within the society and culture.
Social Nature of Mind
·  Beside other psychological functions, the most important and influential is the interaction between
·  In the beginning, the child has no means of understanding/ expressing or communicating his
experiences. But as time passes, the teachings of parents and other family members enable a child
to understand the world in which he lives. Knowledge is considered to be the experiences and the
values that parents/ caregivers pass on to their off springs. It reflects their particular social and
cultural norms and standards, which are incorporated in their understanding of their culture.
Language and Cognitive Ability
·  The main and most important tool in acquiring cognitions in any culture is its language through
which an organized body of knowledge is transmitted as "cognitive abilities". By learning the
language, the child is able to share knowledge and experiences with the people he interacts with.
·  Early learning takes place through internalizing and interpreting the world.
·  Afterwards, the child is able to use those internalized skills such as language that have been taught
to him by his parents, culture, or society. It further on helps him to think and function
·  Language, including its written form, is the unifying tool for any culture. As language starts to
develops, so do the social norms, cultural beliefs, and values
Motivation, Cognition and Learning
·  It is believed that cognitive ability alone cannot account for achievement; motivation is also
important in acquiring/ attaining cognitive skills and abilities.
·  People learn information that corresponds to, and is in accordance with, their view of the world.
They learn skills that are meaningful to them. e.g. children who are born in a poor family may not
give any attention or importance to the formal education and as adults, they may pass on similar
beliefs and attitudes to their off springs.
·  Motivation determines whether or not one is capable of learning. Whether one learns well or not,
depends on one's own view and that affects the ability to learn. The motivational condition largely
depends on the way the culture responds to achievements and failures. There are culturally
developed attitudes about the probability of learning successfully after one has initially failed to
learn. These attitudes can greatly affect future learning.
The Individual and the Group
·  These factors also influence the extent or direction of development.
·  The culture of the individual, the community, the neighborhood, social organizations, and the
family, all influence the experience of the individual. But these experiences have a certain
uniqueness of their own and they may be perceived and viewed differently by different people.
Cognitive Development
Cognitive development is the development of the `thinking' and `organizing systems' of the
brain. It involves
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Mental imagery,
Problem solving and
Memory development
Jean Piaget's (1896-1980) Theory of Cognitive Development
Piaget was a Swiss psychologist. He was a very keen observer from the very beginning; got
published his first research paper at age 15.
As a result of his study of philosophy and logic, he became interested in epistemology i.e.,
knowledge and knowing; the interest in observation and epistemology made a foundation of
his theory of cognitive development.
Piaget was influenced by Henri Bergson's Creative Evolution, unlike most of the other
psychologists who were impressed by Darwin's theory of evolution. Bergson believed in divine
agency instead of chance as the force behind evolution: life possesses an inherent creative
Piaget did his doctorate in Biological Science, but later became interested in psychology
especially abnormal psychology.
He secured a position in Alfred Binet's laboratory In Paris where he got a chance to observe
children's performance, their right and wrong answers.
Piaget's work and observation generated an interest in children's mental processes.
The real shift took place when he started observing his own children from birth onwards. He
kept records of their behavior and used them to trace the origins of children's thoughts to their
behavior as babies; later on he became interested in the thought of adolescents as well
Piagetian Method of Investigation
Known as the Clinical Approach; a form of a structured observation.
Piaget used to present problems/tasks to children of different ages, asked them to explain their
answers. Their explanations were further probed through carefully phrased question.
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
Cognitive Development takes place in stages.
The organization of behavior is qualitatively different in different Stages. Children throughout
the world pass through a series of four stages of cognitive development in a fixed order.
Essential Points of Piaget's Theory
1. The stages emerge in a sequence. There is a constant order of succession for their emergence.
2. The progressive development of mental structures can be explained by neither heredity nor
environment by itself.
Key Terms in Piaget's Theory
According to Piaget, children's thinking develops through two simultaneous processes: assimilation and
·  Assimilation means the incorporation of new knowledge into existing schemes.
·  Accommodation means the modification of the child's existing schemes to incorporate new
knowledge that does not fit in the scheme.
·  Schemes: patterns of action that are involved in the acquisition and structuring of knowledge
e.g. grasping, throwing, and rolling
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
Sensorimotor stage
Preoperational stage
Concrete operational stage
Formal operational stage
Sensorimotor stage
Age: Infancy; Birth-2 years
Major Characteristic:
·  Thought confined to action schemes.
·  Development of object permanence.
·  Development of motor skills.
·  Little or no capacity for symbolic representation.
Preoperational Stage
Age: Preschool; 2-7 years
Major characteristics:
·  Representational thought.
·  Thought is intuitive not logical.
·  Development of language and symbolic thinking takes place.
·  Thinking is egocentric.
Concrete Operational Stage
Age: Childhood; 7-11 years
Major Characteristics
·  Thought is systematic and logical, but only with regard to concrete objects.
·  Development of conservation, and mastery of concept of reversibility.
Formal Operational Stage
Age: Adolescence and adulthood; 11 years onward
Major Characteristics:
·  Abstract and logical thought develops.
·  The person can deal with the abstract and the absent.
Erik Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development
Student and follower of Sigmund Freud.
Left his native land, Germany, in 1930's and immigrated to America, where he studied Native
American traditions of human development, and continued his work as a psychoanalyst.
Broke with his teacher over the fundamental view about what motivates/ drives human
behavior. For Freud, it was `biology' or more specifically the biological instincts of life and
aggression (Eros and Thanatos). For Erikson, the most important force that drives human
behavior and which helps in the development of personality was "social interaction".
His developmental theory of the "Eight Stages of Man" (Erikson, 1950) was unique and
different in the sense that it covered the entire lifespan rather than `childhood' and `adolescent
He believed that social environment combined with biological maturation results in a set of
"crises" that must be resolved.
The individual passes through the "sensitive period" and crisis at different stages, which has to
be resolved successfully before a new crisis is presented. The results of the resolution, whether
successful or not, are passed on to the next crisis and provide the foundation for its resolution
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Erikson's Psychosocial Developmental Stages
Basic Trust vs. Mistrust (Oral-Sensory Stage): Birth ­18months: Infancy
The infant develops a sense of who and when to trust.
He learns when to protect oneself and be cautious.
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt: 18 months to 3 years: Early Childhood
The child develops a sense of independence and is able to understand and recognize his
limitations. If independence is encouraged, he develops a sense of autonomy.
If the child is overly restricted, over-protected, or criticized it may result into self-doubt and
shame. Shame occurs when child is overly self-conscious when negatively exposed. Self-doubt
occurs when parents overly shame the child, e.g. about elimination.
Initiative vs. Guilt: 3 to 6 years: late Childhood
The child is able to tryout and explore various things.
Indulges in various activities, both motor and intellectual.
Guilt arises after doing the negative acts e.g. aggression.
Industry vs. Inferiority: 6 to 11 years: School Age
o  Child is busy in
· Building,
· Creating, and
· Accomplishing
o  Receives systematic instruction as well as fundamentals of technology.
o  Learns norms and standards of the society in which he lives.
o  Socially decisive age. The child gains self- esteem.
Identity vs. Role confusion: Adolescence
The person has a coherent sense of self.
Plans to actualize one's abilities or becomes confused when unable to accomplish task.
Problems may result in impulsive attitude or extended immaturity.
Indecisiveness may occur.
In extreme cases there can be a possibility of antisocial behavior.
Intimacy vs. Isolation: 18 to 25 years: Young adulthood (beginning in the early 20s and may extend to the 40s)
Young adults focus on
· Maintaining one's individuality
· Making friends
· Relationships and intimacy
Adulthood Generativity vs. Stagnation: Middle adulthood (40-60 years)
o  Age of;
· Creativity
· Productivity
· Concern about guiding and helping the next generation
· Concern for others or self-indulgence
· Impoverishment of self
Ego Integrity vs. despair: Old age
The person develops a sense of acceptance of life as it was lived.
Importance of the people and relationships that individual developed over the lifespan.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Comes to terms with approaching death.
Some sort of despair is inevitable.
Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of Moral development
A psychologist __ born in Bronxville New York.
Served as a professor at Harvard University.
Started as a developmental psychologist in the early 1970s and became famous for his later
work in moral education and moral reasoning.
His theory emphasizes on how moral reasoning develops in stages___ similar with the theory
of Piaget's cognitive development.
Like Piaget, Kohlberg believed that development is flourished by social interaction.
Moral education can be taught in formal education by confronting people with moral dilemmas
that evoke/ arise cognitive conflicts.
According to Kohlberg, discussion over these dilemmas promotes development, which further
helps in higher stages of moral reasoning __ showing benefits of the higher stages of reasoning.
He and others formulated dilemmas for this purpose.
Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development
Moral reasoning, which Kohlberg thought is the basis for ethical behavior, has developmental stages. There
are six identifiable stages of moral development. These stages can be classified into three levels.
Stages of Moral Development
Level 1
Obedience and Punishment Orientation
Self- interest orientation
Level 2
Interpersonal accords
Conformity (good boy/Good girl attitude)
Social order orientation (law and order morality)
Level 3
Social contract orientation
Universal ethical principles (principled conscience)
Levels of Moral Development
a. Pre-Conventional
o  Common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning.
o  Judging the morality of an action by its direct consequences.
o  Pre-conventional level is divided into two stages:
· Stage One: Obedience and punishment orientation
· Stage two: self-interest orientation
o  In stage one, individuals focus on the direct consequences that their actions will result into. They
see and analyze as to what actions are morally wrong and, if the person commits them, gets
punishment for it.
o  In stage two, right behavior is what is defined as, `what is in one's own best interest'. Limited or
little interest is shown about other's needs.
o  Concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect.
b. Conventional
o  Can easily be seen in adults and older children.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Persons, who reason in a conventional way, judge the morality of actions by comparing these
actions to social rules norms, standards, and expectations.
The conventional level is divided into two further stages:
· Stage three: conformity orientation
· Stage four: law-and-order morality
Individual, whose moral reasoning is in stage three, seeks approval from others. Tries to be a `good
boy' or `good girl', having learned that there is inherent value in doing so.
Judging the morality of an action by evaluating its consequences.
In stage four, individual thinks that it is important to obey the laws and social conventions because
it is important in maintaining society and thus does not require approval which is important in stage
c. Post-Conventional
o  The post-conventional level is divided into two stages;
· Stage five: social contract orientation
· Stage six: principled conscience
o  In stage five, people have certain principles or beliefs to which they may attach more value than
laws e.g. human rights or social justice.
o  In the sixth and final stage, moral reasoning is based on the use of `abstract reasoning' using
`universal ethical principles'.
o  Although Kohlberg insisted that sixth stage exists but he had difficulty finding people who used it.
It appears that people rarely use it, if, ever they reach this sixth stage of Kohlberg's model
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology