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Everett Bailey
Everett Bailey

Concepts, Kinds, And Cognitive Development

Keil argues that it is impossible to adequately understand the nature of conceptual representation without also considering the issue of learning. Weaving together issues in cognitive development, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, he reconciles numerous theories, backed by empirical evidence from nominal kinds studies, natural-kinds studies, and studies of fundamental categorical distinctions. He shows that all this evidence, when put together, leads to a better understanding of semantic and conceptual development.

Concepts, kinds, and cognitive development

Cognitive development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology focusing on a child's development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of the developed adult brain and cognitive psychology. Qualitative differences between how a child processes their waking experience and how an adult processes their waking experience are acknowledged (such as object permanence, the understanding of logical relations, and cause-effect reasoning in school-age children). Cognitive development is defined as the emergence of the ability to consciously cognize, understand, and articulate their understanding in adult terms. Cognitive development is how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of their world through the relations of genetic and learning factors.[1] There are four stages to cognitive information development. They are, reasoning, intelligence, language, and memory. These stages start when the baby is about 18 months old, they play with toys, listen to their parents speak, they watch tv, anything that catches their attention helps build their cognitive development.

Jean Piaget was a major force establishing this field, forming his "theory of cognitive development". Piaget proposed four stages of cognitive development: the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational period.[2] Many of Piaget's theoretical claims have since fallen out of favor. His description of the most prominent changes in cognition with age, is generally still accepted today (e.g., how early perception moves from being dependent on concrete, external actions. Later, abstract understanding of observable aspects of reality can be captured; leading to the discovery of underlying abstract rules and principles, usually starting in adolescence)

In recent years, however, alternative models have been advanced, including information-processing theory, neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development, which aim to integrate Piaget's ideas with more recent models and concepts in developmental and cognitive science, theoretical cognitive neuroscience, and social-constructivist approaches. Another such model of cognitive development is Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory.[3] A major controversy in cognitive development has been "nature versus nurture", i.e, the question if cognitive development is mainly determined by an individual's innate qualities ("nature"), or by their personal experiences ("nurture"). However, it is now recognized by most experts that this is a false dichotomy: there is overwhelming evidence from biological and behavioral sciences that from the earliest points in development, gene activity interacts with events and experiences in the environment.[4]

Jean Piaget is inexorably linked to cognitive development as he was the first to systematically study developmental processes.[5] Despite being the first to develop a systemic study of cognitive development, Piaget was not the first to theorize about cognitive development.[6]

Lawrence Kohlberg wrote the theory of stages of moral development, which extended Piaget's findings of cognitive development and showed that they continue through the lifespan. Kohlberg's six stages follow Piaget's constructivist requirements in that those stages can not be skipped and it is very rare to regress in stages. Notable works: Moral Stages and Moralization: The Cognitive-Development Approach (1976) and Essays on Moral Development (1981)

Jean Piaget was the first psychologist and philosopher to brand this type of study as "cognitive development".[15] Other researchers, in multiple disciplines, had studied development in children before, but Piaget is often credited as being the first one to make a systematic study of cognitive development and gave it its name. His main contribution is the stage theory of child cognitive development. He also published his observational studies of cognition in children, and created a series of simple tests to reveal different cognitive abilities in children. Piaget believed that people move through stages of development that allow them to think in new, more complex ways.

The first stage in Piaget's stages of cognitive development is the sensorimotor stage. This stage lasts from birth to two years old. During this stage, behaviors lack a sense of thought and logic. Behaviors gradually move from acting upon inherited reflexes to interacting with the environment with a goal in mind and being able to represent the external world at the end.

Between 18 and 24 months of age, children begin to build mental symbols and start to participate in pretend play. For example, a child is mixing ingredients together but does not have a spoon so they pretend to use one or use another object to replace the spoon.[17] Symbolic thought is a representation of objects and events as mental entities or symbols which helps foster cognitive development and the formation of imagination.[23] According to Piaget, the infant begins to act upon intelligence rather than habit at this point. The end product is established after the infant has pursued for the appropriate means. The means are formed from the schemas that are known by the child.[20] The child is starting to learn how to use what it has learned in the first two years to develop and further explore their environment.

Piaget's theory of cognitive development ends at the formal operational stage that is usually developed in early adulthood. It does not take into account later stages of adult cognitive development as described by, for example, Harvard University professor Robert Kegan.[26]

Unlike Jean Piaget, who believed development comes before learning, Vygotsky believed that learning comes before development and that one must learn first to be able to develop into a functioning human being. Vygotsky's theory is different from Piaget's theory in four ways. Firstly, Vygotsky believed culture affects cognitive development more. Piaget thought that cognitive development is the same across the world, while Vygotsky had the idea that culture influences cognitive development. Secondly, under Vygotsky's beliefs, social factors heavily influence cognitive development. The environment and parents the child has will play a big role in a child's cognitive development. The child learns through the zone of proximal development with help from their parent. Thirdly, while Piaget considered thought as an important role, Vygotsky saw thought and language as different, but eventually coming together. Vygotsky emphasized the role of inner speech being the first thing to cause cognitive development to form. And fourthly, Vygotsky believed cognitive development is strongly influenced by adults. Children observe adults in their life and gain knowledge about their specific culture based on things the adults around them do. They do this through mediation and scaffolding.[31]

Empiricists study how these skills may be learned in such a short time. The debate is over whether these systems are learned by general-purpose learning devices or domain-specific cognition. Moreover, many modern cognitive developmental psychologists, recognizing that the term "innate" does not square with modern knowledge about epigenesis, neurobiological development, or learning, favor a non-nativist framework. Researchers who discuss "core systems" often speculate about differences in thinking and learning between proposed domains.

Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development emphasized the role of information processing mechanisms in cognitive development, such as attention control and working memory. They suggested that progression along Piagetian stages or other levels of cognitive development is a function of strengthening of control mechanisms and enhancement of working memory storage capacity.

Cognitive development and motor development may also be closely interrelated. When a person experiences a neurodevelopmental disorder and their cognitive development is disturbed, we often see adverse effects in motor development as well. Cerebellum, which is the part of brain that is most responsible for motor skills, has been shown to have significant importance in cognitive functions in the same way that prefrontal cortex has important duties in not only cognitive abilities but also development of motor skills. To support this, there is evidence of close co-activation of neocerebellum and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in functional neuroimaging as well as abnormalities seen in both cerebellum and prefrontal cortex in the same developmental disorder. In this way, we see close interrelation of motor development and cognitive development and they cannot operate in their full capacity when either of them are impaired or delayed.[42]

Being deaf or hard-of-hearing has been noted to impact cognitive development as hearing loss impacts social development, language acquisition, and the culture reacts to a deaf child.[46] Cognitive development in academic achievement, reading development, language development, performance on standardized measures of intelligence, visual-spatial and memory skills, development of conceptual skills, and neuropsychological function are dependent upon the child's primary language of communication, either American Sign Language or English, as well as if the child is able to communicate and use the communication modality as a language.[47] There is some research pointing to deficits in development of theory of mind in children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing which may be due to a lack of early conversational experience.[48] Other research points to lower scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children,[49] especially in the Verbal Comprehension Index[50] due differences in cultural knowledge acquisition.[51] 041b061a72


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