Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Conceptual Development

Today in class we discussed how concepts are learned by children and how at certain ages, concepts are still not understood. Because I had a late night last night, I was very tired in class. To deal with this, I took very detailed notes of everything we were going over in class. I usually just take notes on the main ideas, but this helped me keep focused. 

Like many of the topics of developmental psychology, conceptual development allows for another debate between nativists and empiricists. Nativists believe that infants are born with specific learning systems for things like physical concepts, language, etc. Empiricists believe that what an infant learns is based off of their experience and the input that they are receiving. So for conceptual development the argument of a nativist argument could be that infants are born with a specific module to learn certain concepts. The empiricist argument could be that babies learn these concepts because they experience them repeatedly, and learn them this way. 

When kids are much younger, their thinking is very egocentric, and they do not understand the concept that other people think through a different perspective. A way to show this is called the Smarties test. In this test, kids are shown a box labeled smarties. When asked what they think will be in the box, they of course answer smarties, but then when the box is opened they find that the box actually contains pencils. Then the administrator of the test asks the kid what a peer who hasn't seen the contents of the box will think is in the closed box. Younger kids seem to only be able to think from their own perspective, so they answer that the peer will think the box contains pencils. At some point in children's conceptual development, there is a change, whether it is gradual or sudden, and then children understand thinking from the perspective of others. 

She let us go to lunch about half an hour early, so we had some extra time to converse. After lunch, we got into our research groups to work on the method section part of our final paper. We also got our introduction and literature review with comments on it so we could correct it. It was basically just time to work on any assignments we needed to complete before the experiment and that we needed to catch up on. That is how we spent class time until about 3:30. Then she dismissed us.

As soon as I got back to campus, I got ready to go to the gym with Victoria. We spent about an hour their before heading back to dinner to eat with the whole cohort. After dinner we worked on homework in the lounges.

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