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INFANCY
Cognitive and Language Development
Cognitive Development
Learning: A Definition
 Change
in behavior
 Change must be relatively stable.
 Change must result from experience.
How Soon Do Infants Start
Learning?
 Learning
in the Womb
 De Casper
 Cat in the Hat
 Newborn
Learning
 Sameroff’s experiments
Piaget: The Sensorimotor
Period
 Refers
to the coordination of motor
activities with sensory inputs.
Capacity to look at what they’re listening to
Object permanence: Capacity to view the
external world as permanent
Inability to represent world internally
Neo-and Post-Piagetian
Research
 Playing
is Learning
 Playing gives babies clues as to what they
should do and when they should do it.
 Consequences
of Maternal Depression
Youngster lags behind in emotional, language
and social development
Bruner on Modes of Cognitive
Representation
 We
“know” something in three ways:
 Enactive: doing it
 Ikonic: picture or image of it
 Symbolic: language
Continuity in Cognitive
Development from Infancy
 Decrement
and Recovery in Attentiveness
 Two components of attention indicative of
intelligence in youngsters:
Decrement of attention
Recovery of attention
Language and Thought
Language
 Language:
a structured system of sound
patterns that have socially standardized
meanings.
The Functional Importance of
Language
 Two
contributions:
Communication: The process by which people
transmit information, ideas, attitudes and
emotions
Facilitation of thought and other processes.
Language as Container of
Thought
 Thought
takes place independently of
language
 Words are only necessary to convey thought
to others.
Language as a Determinant of
Thought
 Language
develops parallel with, or prior
to, thought.
 Conceptualization: Grouping perceptions
into classes or categories based on
similarities.
Theories of Language
Acquisition
Nativist Theories
 Noam
Chomsky et.al.
 Human beings begin life with the
underpinnings of later speech perception
and comprehension.
 “Pre-wired” by their brain circuitry for
language use
Chomsky’s Theory of
Language Development
 Language Acquisition
Device
 All languages possess:
Surface Structure
Deep Structure
 Transformational
built in.
grammar biologically
Other Nativist Studies
The Twins’ Early Development Study
(TEDS)
 The Cambridge Language and Speech
Project
 Genetics of Developmental Dyslexia
 International Molecular Genetics Study of
Autism

Arguments for
Nativist Theories
 Children Acquire
Language with Little
Difficulty
 Adult Speech is Inconsistent, Garbled and
Sloppy
 Children’s Speech is not a Mechanical
Playback of Adult Speech.
Learning and Interactionist
Theories
 Caretaker
Speech
 Interactional Nature of Caretaker Speech
 Motherese
Language Development
Communication Processes
 Nonverbal
Communication or Body
Language
Physical movements
Gaze
Pointing
Paralanguage
The Sequence of Language
Development
 From
Vocalization to Babbling
 Babbling
 Receptive Vocabulary
 Holophrases
 Overextension
 Two-Word Sentences
 Telegraphic Speech
Bilingualism
 Critical
period of language acquisition:
prior to onset of puberty
 Best time to learn a new language is early in
life.