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Piaget’s Six Stages Cognitive Development

Sometimes we often wonder, “what are babies thinking? ” Little do people know that infants brain develop faster then their bodies do. The first two years of development for a baby are the most important. Many outside environemental risks can stunt growth or stop the development of the brain. As soon as a child is born they desire to understand their world around them this develops cognitive development. Piaget has developed six stages of infant development. Although, Piaget has created a good foundation to understand babies minds he was mistaken by a few things.

The first two stages of sensorimotor intelligence are called primary circular reactions. This one involves the infant’s own body. It senses motion, sucking noise, and other stimuli and tries to understand them. Stage one is called the stage of reflexes. Infants are really trying to understand the world on their own. Sensation leads to perception, perception leads to cognition, and then cognition leads back to sensation. If they suck their thumb it feels good so they keep doing it. After stage one stage two follows (1 to 4 months). Stage two is called first acquired adaptations.

This stage begins because reflexes adjust to whatever responses they elict. Stage two is very similar to stage one. It all involves the baby’s reaction. If it feels good then continue to do that reflex. In the first stage infants have to adapt their sucking reflexes to whatever they are trying to do. During stage 2 they develop additional adaptations of sucking that begins between ages 1 to 4 months. Cognition leads babies to suck for hunger, comfort, and to not suck blankets or plastic. Stages three and four are next and they are grouped together under, secondary circular reactions.

These reactions go beyond just the infant, now it involves the baby and something else. During stage three (4 to 8 months) start producting exciting experiences that they tend to remember. Babies now start remembering that rattles make noise and parents smiling can trigger a reaction. Next is stage four (8 months to 1 year) with this stage new adaptation and anticipation occurs. Now that some babies can talk instead of crying or fussing they may begin asking for help to get what they want. During this satge they develop new motor skills.

They may start crawling, pointing, and giving certain hand gestures. Around 8 to 9 months babies start to understand object permanence. This means that objects still exist even though they may not seem them. The last two stages are grouped under tertiary circular reactions. These stages are more closly related. They act first (stage five) and think later (stage six). In these reactions infants explore a range of new activites, varying their responses as a way of learning about the world. Stage five (ages 12 to 18 months) is a new world through active experimentation.

At this point infants are more goal oriented this stage is known as the “little scientist. ” They experiement in order to see, for them it is trial and error. They are doing things they have never seen an adult do like, squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube or throw their lunch or dinner. Next is the sixth stage (ages 18 to 24 months) in this stage toddler think before they act. Instead of running up to the cat and pulling its tail they usually heistate a moment. This stage is normally referred to as thought followed by action.

Stage six toddler have the ability to pretend play. They know that a baby doll is not a real person but they may still treat it like a real life baby. Toddler in stage six also begin to imitate an action they have seen before. Normally they do things that their parents or siblings may do. These six stages are normally descibed as feedback loops or circular reactions. They use these terms because if it feels good then keep doing it. Almost like a full circle or spiral. Piaget was correct in many ways but his main mistake was underestimating how rapidly their learning occurs.

He believed it was a slow process and that many children might not catch up as fast because they were not doing a certain task at a certain age. A schema is defined as a building block of knowledge. These schemas allow adults to create a mental model of the world. It may be useful to think of schemas as units of knowledge but they are more things contributing to them. Including, objects, actions, and abstract concepts. We store these concepts in our brain and use them when necessary. Piaget believed we developed a more complex schema the older we were.

An affordance is defined as, an oppourtunity for perception and interaction that is offered by a person, place, or object in the environment. Perception is far from automation, perception comes from experiences and exploring. People, places, or objects affords many oppourtunites for interation. Which affordence is perceived depends on four factors: sensory, awareness, immediate motivation, current level of developments, and past experiences. Selective perception deponds not only on age, motivation, and context but also on culture. At such a young age fears are not really established yet.

A toddler may walk up to a spider or snake and pick it up not knowing the dangers that come with it. Babies pay close attention to things that move and to people. These are two kinds of affordances they are attracted to. Dynamic perception focuses on movements. As soon as babies are able to move they do so. The other attraction is people preference. This means infants have an innate attraction to other humans, evident in visual, auditory, and other preferences. Around 6 months old a babe can detect emotions just by body movements alone.

Before infants can understand language they are able to connect movements, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Within the first week of birth babies have developed memory. Although it is a small amount they can remember their caregivers by face, voice, and smell. 6 month olds may remember an experience that took place a month ago. Learning a language is a priority as a baby. Even though all nations may speak a different language learning the language sequence is the same. Newborns instantly enjoy their mothers voice because they become familiar with the rhythm, sounds, and the cadence.

Babies enjoy listening to child-directed speech. Which is most of the time called “baby talk” it is usually high pitches, simplified, and repetitve. A term known as babbling is also familiar. It is a repition of certain syllables like, ba-ba or ma-ma. This normally pretty common with children between the ages of 6 and 9 months old. Around a year is when a baby begins saying its first word. But then around the age of 18 months babies go through a naming explosion. It is a sudden increase in an infants vocabulary. There are two major theories when it comes to language.

Skinner created the first one that infants need to be taught. Most parents respond to their infants gestures and sounds thus reinforcing speech. Skinner recommended three core ideas of this theory. Parents are expert teachers, although other caregivers help, frequent repition is instructive, espeically when linked to daily life, well taught infants become well-spoken children. The other theory is that infants teach themselves developed from Noam Chomsky. He believed that language is too complec to e mastered merely through step-by-step conditioning.

Chomsky used evidence and stated that humans are born with a mental structure that prepares them to seek some elements of human language. He thinks that infants are wired to have conversations and caregivers universally ask them questions long before they can anwer back. Chomsky have created his own hypothesis for the mental structure. Language acquisition device is a term for a hypothesized mental structure that enable humans to learn language, including the basic aspects of grammer, vocabulary, and intonation.

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