The purpose of this paper is to use the habituation technique in young infants to evaluate one hypothesis derived from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. I will compare 5-months olds in a task that involves possible and impossible outcomes. Piaget’s theory specifies the cognitive competencies of children of this age. 1a. In the sensorimotor stage, children experience the world through senses and actions such as looking, hearing, touching, mouthing and grasping. The sensorimotor stage is the first stage of Piaget’s theory and starts from birth to approximately the age of two.
This stages allows children to rely on their sensory knowledge and motor movements. There are six sub stages of the sensorimotor stages: reflexes, primary circular reflexes, secondary circular reflexes, coordination of ons, tertiary circular reactions, and early representational thought. 1b. Object permanence is a child’s ability to know that objects still exist although they are not seen. Piaget would explain the absence of object permanence in infants by their matured, cognitive development has increased. As infants become mature, they have the ability to use their motor abilities and activities.
Instead of being surprised and smiling, the matured infants may want to expose the familiar face in the game of peek-a-boo. They may also realize that the familiar face may appear again and find the game boring. According to Piaget, object permanence starts from birth to the age of two. It appears to begin in this stage because children are using their sensory knowledge and motor movements to create their own choices without outside influences. Their cognitive development has improved and the completion of the sensorimotor stage will help the children use their learned skills in the preoperational stage.
As infants grow older, they use their existed understandings to interpret new experiences while adjusting their understandings. 1c. Stranger anxiety is experience of stress where children are exposed to unfamiliar faces. When exposed to a stranger, a child may start to cry, fuss, or hide behind their parent. According to Piaget, stranger anxiety also starts from birth to the age of two. Object permanence and stranger anxiety may occur at the same time because to improve cognitive development in children but also have children to distinguish their prior knowledge versus their present knowledge.
At first, children may experience stranger anxiety but as they become more mature, they are able to recognize their parents are around or will come back. Both experiences work together by keeping brain activity active, new skills are developed, and using these new skills in different life situations. 1d. McCrink and Wynn’s theory states that infants have some knowledge on estimation of calculating numbers. In their experiment, nine month old infants were able to add and subtract number of items that surpassed objects’ limit when variables such as area and length were controlled.
The nine month old infants had to compute a numerical problem (either 5+5 or 10-5). The infants that observed the addition and subtraction math problems had a longer response and gave an incorrect answer. These results demonstrated infants are able to compute large numbers but more importantly they have developed distinctive techniques to solve numerical problems. Their view opposes Piaget’s view because they believe children’s cognitive development includes more quantitative growth and less qualitative movements. Cognitive development are usually continued through the children’s development and cannot be terminated.
Habituation is a method that might be used to explore predictions of Piaget’s theory. 2a. Habituation is a decreased response to stimuli in a repetitive environment. The habituation technique is where the repeated stimuli is exposed to an infant and the infant’s response starts to decrease as the repeated stimuli is more exposed. Dishabituation is when a person responds to an old stimulus as a new stimulus. Habituation help researchers test the cognitive capacity of infants by help helping researchers determine how the infants’ quick cognitive development has developed habituation to specific stimulus.
It also helps researchers determine how the infants can recognize to a specific stimulus and see if their response is surprised or is boring. If the stimulus was familiar, the infants would spend few seconds and would not be surprised. If the stimulus was new, the infants would spend more time on memorizing the specific stimulus and recognize the same stimulus in the future. 2b. An alternative technique that could be used to test cognitive capacity of infants is exposing them the sounds of a dog and cat. The infants would be able to distinguish the sounds of a dog as a bark and the sounds of a cat as a meow. 2c.
The advantages of using the habituation technique with infants over the alternative technique you described in 2b are habituation is simpler to notice and skills developed from habituation can be used in other experiences such as noticing other four-legged animals have different sounds. The dog and cat experiment would only the sounds of the cats and dogs. An experiment was performed to examine the age at which infants recognize certain outcomes as impossible. Five-month old infants were tested in the procedure depicted in Figure 1. Figure 1 3a. First, there are two dolls are placed in a case and shown to an infant.
Next, the screen comes up and the dolls cannot be seen by the infant. Last, an empty hand comes into the case while the infant sees this action take fold. Finally, the hand enters into the case and removes one doll in front of the infant. Then, the screen drops and the infant is exposed to a possible outcome or an impossible outcome. The possible outcome shows the infant that one doll remained in the case. The impossible outcome shows the infant that there are two dolls in the case. 3b. There are two different conditions (possible outcome and the impossible outcome) involved in this experiment.
The condition would be considered the experimental condition is the possible outcome because this condition test if infants have some form of numerical knowledge. They are able to calculate simple math problems and reason at a beginner’s level. The infants that were exposed in the possible outcome would conclude the hand took one doll behind the screen and one doll remained. Yes, a separate control group is necessary because it provides a starting point where one can compare and contrast the results of the experimental group. The control group was the possible outcome.
A possible control group is the two dolls are placed in the case and there is no screen present and no hand in the case when shown to the infants. When exposed, the infants would be surprised at first but would expect the dolls to do an unexpected action. 3c. Habituation technique is used by exposing the experiment to same infants and different infants. The same infants would exercise habituation and would quickly realize that there would be one doll if exposed in the possible outcome or two doll if exposed in the impossible outcome.
Different infants would be surprised and would have a different response from the same infants when exposed to the possible outcome or impossible outcome. The more the stimulus is shown, the response will have a decreased impact on the infants. The independent variable in this experiment was the infants able to conclude the dolls showed 1+1 or 2-1 or the two possible outcome. The dependent variable in this experiment is time spent on the outcome. Figure 2 contains results from the experiment. The results bear strongly on the experimental hypothesis. 4a.
The experimental hypothesis by using Piaget’s theory is the five month olds have no numerical knowledge and have little or no level of intelligence. The alternative hypothesis by using the McCrink and Wynn’s theory is the five month olds have some numerical knowledge that can solve simple math problems. 4b. A possible outcome of the current experiment is there no difference in five month olds in the experimental group and control group. A possible outcome that would support the alternative hypothesis is five month olds use dishabituation in the experimental group compared to the control group.
This outcome would support alternative hypothesis by demonstrating the infants used their development of habituation to solve the simple numerical problems and use habituation when exposed to numerical problems in school or home. 4c. Figure 2 According to Figure 2, the actual outcome of this experiment is the impossible group stared longer than the possible group. The possible group showed the greatest dishabituation in terms of percentage. The information would you need to determine whether the difference between conditions was statistically significant is a specific measurement within the variation of the groups.
If there was a statistically significant between the conditions, a ratio of the difference of the possible and impossible groups over the variation in the groups. 4d. The results of the experiment consistent with the alternative hypothesis. The results demonstrated the infants stared at the impossible outcome for a longer period than the possible outcome. This proves the infants have object permanence and numerical knowledge. The results of the experiment were valuable in addressing the hypothesis under study. However, future investigations may need to adopt techniques that improve upon those used here.
Figure 3 5a. These results are the explanation of infants who were exposed to the possible outcome and the impossible outcome could not remember what they saw in the case. These results do not support the conclusion I made in 4d. Both results could be true if the same infants were used in both trails, all of the infants had a short attention period or they are easily distracted from the experiment. 5b. The results that could support Piagetian hypothesis is the longer period increases and that object removed behind the screen, the infants demonstrate they do not have the skill of object permanence.
Piaget would dismiss the results of Figure 2 and figure 3 supports his theory that the infants are only focused on the temporary action of the object at the moment. The infants are unable to remember or understand the numerical knowledge behind the experiment. 5c. The follow up experiment that McCrink and Wynn was exposing the different infants and same infants would be exposed to difficult math problems that may include equations, variables, or different operations such as division and multiplication. The different and same infants would be in a different age group such as seven years old.
To address the critic’s concern, a plausible explanation would be that the follow up experiment the infants’ numerical knowledge had expanded as they grew older and mature. Although their brains are continuing to develop, the infants are able to solve these numerical problems with little or no issues. McCrink and Wynn used larger quantity of the dolls used in the experiment but regulating the concentration of the objects placed in the case. McCrink and Wynn would decide the infants developed the skill of object permanence, which aid the infants compare and contrast the objects the infants observed.