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Cognitive Development

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Cognitive development is a mechanism in where the mind processes new information. An individual can understand any information which corresponds with his or her outlook of the world. When or if this information fails to correspond with this individual's view of the world they will be required to re examine and modify there means of thinking to accommodate this new information. Jean Piaget observed children and their development of making sense of the world and environment around them. He finally developed a four stage model of how and why the mind processes any new information it encounters known as 'Piaget's Stage theory of Cognitive Development'. Piaget suggests that all children develop through 4 stages and they all develop in exactly the same order. These stages are known as the sensorimotor stage, Preoperational stage, Concrete Operations, and Formal Operations. During the Sensorimotor stage which initially occurs from birth to two years it is suggested that the child fabricates an understanding and becomes aware of themselves and how things work also developing a sense of reality. This occurs through interactions with the environment. The infant is able to distinguish the difference between itself and other objects. The learning takes place by assimilation (which is the organization of information and absorbing it into existing schema) and accommodation (which is when an object cannot be assimilated and the schema has to be modified to include the object). ...read more.


and emotional development (attachment). The study also demonstrates that these effects can be reversed to some extent with high quality care. An attachment can be described as very close emotional bond to another person. Within child development this occurs between infants and the person/people who are involved with them. During the first three months of these babies' lives they are actively sociable with any caregiver but after a few months the infant becomes willing and they begin to respond to people who they are most familiar with. There are factors which are essential for the development of attachment. One of these factors is known socially as sensitive responsiveness which means responding appropriately to the babies' specific needs. For example being able to understand and differentiate between a baby's cry of pain and a cry of hunger. An example of an attachment study is that of Rene Spitz and Katherine Wolf (1946). This was an observational study where babies were being brought up by their biological mothers in prison. These babies where then separated from their mothers as a result of a prison re-building programme at the ages ranging from between six and eight months old which as we know are the crucial stages in where attachments first occur. The babies were separated for the duration of three months and during this time the babies were cared for by other mothers. ...read more.


Gibson's and Walks visual cliff (1960) concluded that babies have an inborn ability to perceive depth enabling this perceptual ability to have been hereditary. On the contrary the role of nurture in the development of perception argues that our abilities are learnt socially. Hubel conducted a study in where newly born kittens had one of their eyelids sewn together so they could not open it as they matured. Some kittens had their right eye sewn and some their left. Hubel discovered that the part of the brain that corresponded to the eye that had been sewn up at birth was extremely underdeveloped and the part of the brain corresponding to the eye not sewn was much more developed. This suggests that the part of the brain corresponding to vision develops from stimulation from the environment and is underdeveloped without stimulation. So to conclude the environment can be seen as an influence towards the development of perceptual ability which supports the nurture side of the debate. This study could be criticized for the fact that Hubel used kittens and it could be argued that the human brain and an animal's brain are different so this theory cannot be applied to humans. One of the main ethical issues within psychology is the protection of participants from physical and also psychological harm; this then limit's a psychologists control over them whilst carrying out these studies ...read more.

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