CHSV 137 – Cognitive Development – Midterm 2

How do children overcome their information processing limits? (4 items)

1. Rehearsal

2. Means-end 

3. Tools

4. Problem-solving.

Shared assumptions among IP theorists:

1. Thinking is information processing

2. Explains how children get where they are and not farther.

 3.Change is produced by a process of continuous self-modification

Similarities and differences between Piaget and IP




Processing Limits

Not Focus


Analysis of Change

Not Precise


Thinking Model



Analysis Details

Wide Range





What is the 2 basic structural assumptions for IP system: Hardware

1. Sensory memory

2. Working memory

 3. Long term memory

Accuracy of Memory (Children’s eyewitness testimony pg 228)
1. Memory is never complete or very accurate.
2. People can combine seperate experiences into a “composite” memory.
3. 3 Phases: Encoding, Storage, Retrieval.
What are the 2 basic structural assumptions for IP system: Software (Processes)

1. Automatization

2. Encoding

What does the Sam Stone example demonstrate?
That memories are not limited to what actually happened.
Memories are a mixture of what people SEE, what they KNOW and what they INFER.
The 4 types of automatization are:

1. Frequency of information

2. Cluster of information(association)

3. Gender roll association

4. Language-frequency as in learning a language

Review the 3 factors that influence the quality of storage
1. Suggestibility (leading questions etc)
2. Imagination
3. Time
Suggestibility (Quality of Storage)
Leading questions can cause children to recall unimportant events and event affecting their bodies.
Preschoolers more susceptible than older children and adults.
Reality Monitoring (Quality of Memory)
The ability to distinguish what is imagined or thought from what really happened.
Preschoolers have difficulty with this.
What is the significance of Automatization? (6 things)

1. Initial basis for learning

2. Frees up mental resources

3. Difficult to inhibit

4. Not influenced by instruction or practice

5. Depends on the type of information and amount of experience you have

6. Begins at birth

4 factors influencing the quality of retrieval
1. Recall vs. recognition
2. Elaboration
3. Expectations of the questioners
4. How often the Q is asked
What is the significance of Encoding? (Software)

1)The faster this happens, the higher the IQ.

2)We have to do this in order to learn

Why do children fail to Encode?
1)They don’t know what is important, so pick up what was salient to them
2)Don’t know how to do this with the information they take in.
What are Processes?
Used to manipulate informatin actively into sensory memory, working memory, and long-term memory
What is significant about Hardware?
Structure is enduring, maintained, and universal(everyone has one)
On what basis do infants recognize object as familiar?… (Strauss and Cohen, 1978)
Recognize the type of object, but not the properties (size, color etc.)
What is Working Memory?
Used when you try to construct, comprehend, combine, new incoming information with something you know in Long-term memory and tranform information
Characteristics of Recognition (Strauss and Cohen, 1978)
1. Present from birth
2. Durable
3. Rate of habituation predicted later IQ scores.
4. Recognize the type of object, but not the properties (size, color etc.)
5. Accurate at early ages.
How does frontal lobe relate to inhibition? (age factor only)
1. One of the last areas to develop.
2. Substantial development in the first year and between 4-7.
What is Sensory Memory?
When you briefly retain a large amount of information you have just encountered. Limitation: very short; only lives briefly, less than 1 second
Inhibition ability contributes to cognitive development. What specific cognitive abilities at age 1 and age 4-7?

Age 1 – Piaget’s A-not-B task. Must be able to reach where the reward is NOW, not BEFORE.

4-7y – Conservation of liquid task, Simon Says.

Support: Children have to be able to ignore interfering informations. They need to inhibit innappropriate responses

What is Working Memory? (AKA short-term memory)
When you try to construct, comprehend, combine new incoming information with something you know in longterm memory and transform information.
What are the limitations of Working memory?


1. Can only recall 3-7 pieces of info at a time.

2. Rate of lost working memory is 15-30 seconds unless rehearsed.

3. Older children’s is greater than younger childrens due to rehearsal, pronunciation

4. Separate storage for verbal ; spatial information until age 10 yrs

3 phases of memory
1. Encoding
2. Storage
3. Retrieval
When does processing of frequency information begin?
This begins at birth.
Encoding (Memory Phase)
1. 2 types of representations: VERBATIM and GIST
2. Prior knowledge affects encoding – can lead to more accurate recall, but also produce distortions.
3. Inferences – Sam Stone

Dr. Ceci;s study – Conclusions about children;s eyewitness testimony

Basic Info:

1. Memory is NOT like a series of photographs or a movie.

2. At no age is memory nearly complete or accurate.

3. Preschoolers have less accuracy, but the difference is in degree, not kind.


1. Factors: Recount of events;; initial encoding, ex during storage, condition of retrieval

2. Accuracy: If no interviewer bias, preschoolers accurately recall much relevant to the case. May lack details but generally accurate

3. Preschoolers vulnerable to the efforts of misleading questions/ stereotypes.

What are the structural characteristics of IP
1. Sensory Memory
2. Working Memory (Short-term Memory)
3. Long Term Memory
What are the basic processes(software) of IP
1. Automatization
2. Encoding
Frequency (Automatization)
Your brain is collecting information automatically so you have knowledge without realizing that you collected it.
Cluster (Automatization)
Your brain combines things in groups that apply to each other
Ex: When you think of animals with beaks, you then think of feathers etc.
Gender Role (Automatization)
We learn without realizing it how certain genders are supposed to behave. If a kid is pretending to be daddy, they wouldn’t start painting their nails. Roles are learned by the frequency they see them demonstrated
Language (Automatization)
We don’t remember learning explicitly how to pronounce words, but we pick it up through frequency of hearing it.
Foundation of Robbie Case’s Theory
Piaget (stages) + IP
1. Added the questions how do children create goals, working memory, problem solving
Emphasis of Robbie Case’s Theory

Growth of Working Memory + Automatization = Overcoming Limits 

1. You somehow find space in your memory and make it bigger OR

2. You make the information become automatic

Central conceptual structures
An internal network of concepts and conceptual relations which plays a central role in permitting children to think about a wide range of (but not all) situations at a new epistemic (higher) level.
What are the 3 main Central Conceptual Structures (CCS)?
1. Thinking about numbers
2. Thinking about space
3. Thinking about stories
Example of CCS by age


4 yo



OJ Task

Same/don’t know with flawed reasoning. Some will say theirs due to egocentrism

Same – same amt of cups. Theirs (flawed reasoning) – Paid attention to only one salient dimension.

Theirs because there is more cups with OJ in theirs.



One dimensional thinking: using 2 number line

2 number lines to understand which numbers are bigger or smaller than others.



Shape OR location

Shape AND location



Sequence of events

Can understand 2 story lines in one plot

How do children overcome working memory limits?
1. CCS
2. Biological Maturation
3. Automatization
Biological Maturation
The natural maturation of the brain.
What are the 3 phases of Biological Maturation?
Phase 1 – Left Brain – Short distance connections
Phase 2 – Left and right brain start doing long distance
Phase 3 – Right Brain – short distance
What are limitations to an IQ test?
1. There is only a single score and therefore easy to be labeled.
2. Cultural biased
3. Cannot measure creativity and learning potential
What are the strengths of IQ tests?
1. Stable over time
2. Relates to school performance at the time of the test
3. Predicts later school performance
4. Provides a foundation to discover differences in cognitive functioning
What are the 3 aspects to human intelligence?
1. Analytical
2. Practical
3. Creative
Analytical (R. Sternberg Aspect of Intelligence)
Used to analyze, compare/contrast, critique, evaluate etc. Used in school and academic situations
Practical (R. Sternberg Aspect of Intelligence)
Used to address problems in everyday life, adapting and shaping and selecting environments. Abilities include using and applying information.
Creative (R. Sternberg Aspect of Intelligence)
Abilities needed to cope with novel situations. Abilities include creating, imagining, inventing, discovering etc.
What are the 3 components of triarchic theory?
1. Knowledge acquisition components
2. Performance components
3. Metacomponents
Knowledge Acquisition Components
1. Selective encoding
2. Selective combination
3. Selection comparison
Selective Encoding (Knowledge Acquisition)
Identifying what is or isn’t important
Selective Combination (Knowledge Acquisition)
Take newly heard information and attempt to make sense of it. Combining old memories with new information to integrate it into something meaningful.
Selective Comparison (Knowledge Acquisition)
Relate new information to previous information
Performance component sequence
1. Encoding
2. Inference
3. Mapping
4. Application
According to Sternberg, what is the correlation between encoding time and IQ?
BEFORE AGE 1 = negative correlation,
AFTER AGE 1 = positive correlation
Mechanism that we consider executive procedures or process that govern all the other components. A BRAIN PLANNER
What are the 3 characteristics of Metacomponents?
1. Construct
2. Monitor
3. Evaluate
Knowledge Transfer (Metacomponents)
1. If you can transfer information from one context to another it’s a sign that you have a high IQ.
2. Experts study – usually experts are better at knowledge transfer
3. High IQ people are better at knowledge transfer.
What are the 4 steps of performance components?
1. Encoding – identifying information
2. Inference – making assumptions
3. Mapping – Connecting information
4. Application – Utilizing information
The differences in adult and a 7-year-old child’s use of 4 performance steps
WE ALL GO THROUGH THOSE 4 STEPS. The difference is how we ALLOCATE the energy it takes to go through them.
The importance of metacomponents is evident in …
Knowledge transfer – if you can transfer information from one context to another it’s a sign that you have a high IQ.
Overlapping Waves Approach
How competitive cognitive functions produce developmental changes.

Each student has various methods to study for a test. Each of those methods is used more or less depending on effectiveness. They overlapping.

What are the basic assumptions of the Overlapping Waves Approach?
1. At any given one time, children have various of thinking
2. These various way of thinking compete with each other
3. Some become frequent, some less. Some new ones emerge.
They can change, stay the same
Characteristics of Overlapping Waves Approach
1. Strategies find their niche – your mind will find the best strategy for the situation
2. Overtime strategies change – based on what happened to the strategy. Did it get encouraged or not encouraged? Does it work or not work?
The source of strategic variation (Overlapping Waves)
1. Taught – from parents and teachers etc. “Here is how you do it…”
2. Imitate – seeing what someone else did and trying it that way.
3. Discovery – Finding a method on your own.
How do children discover new strategies? (Overlapping Waves)
1. Time devoted – if you don’t devote time you won’t discover anything.
2. Intuitive shortcut strategy – Finding connections and using the easiest and shortest methods.
3. Understanding of a problem domain – The more you understand something the easier it is for you to discover new things.
R. Siegler’s Basic Features of Cognitive Evolution
1. WHAT – describing the competing entities (ideas)
2. HOW – competition leads to adaptive outcomes (the idea that fits you the best is the winner)
3. Identify MECHANISMS producing Variety + S (the actual methods used to get winning idea)
Whose theory is Cognitive Evolution?
Robert Siegler
Whose theory is Triarchic
Robert Sternberg
Whose theory is Neo-Piagetian?
Robbie Case
Three phases of memory:

1. Encoding

2. Storage

3. Retrieval

Encoding memory phase–what influences encoding?
(Must encode well first in order to retrieve.)
See: Verbatim vs. Gist
Know: Prior Knowledge
Infer: Inferences (ex clumsy Sam Stone story)
Verbatim vs. Gist
Gist stays longer in memory. Children don’t have the cognitive ability to remember gist.
Verbatim Gist
choose to X

Lasts longer X


choose to
remember X

Lasts Longer X

Prior Knowledge is:
What is important to us and what is plausible/probable.
Inferences in encoding are:
Going one extra step beyond knowledge. It may not be accurate. Reason–>Conclusion.
Ex: Clumsy Sam Stone
How accurate is memory?
At no age is memory nearly complete or accurate. Adults & children fail to remember what they saw, ‘remember’ events that never happened, and combine memories. Preschoolers’ memories are somewhat less accurate than older children but it is a matter of degrees.
What are the 3 factors influencing the quality of encoding?

1. Verbatim vs. gist

2. Prior knowledge

3. Inference

What does the Sam Stone example demonstrate?
It demonstrates inference; children were told he was clumsy and when the torn book and the dirty stuffed animal turned up, they took that information to the next step and inferred that he was responsible.
What are the 3 factors that influence the quality of storage?

1. Suggestibility

2. Imagination

3. Time

What is suggestibility?
Recall of events can be greatly influenced by experiences that occur after the original event but before the time of retrieval, while the info is stored, especially in children under age 6.
What is reality monitoring?
This is the ability to distinguish what children imagined or thought about from what really happened. Especially difficult for preschoolers. IE, distinguish between true and untrue events.
What are the 4 factors influencing the quality of retrieval?

1. Recall vs. recognition

2. Elaboration

3. Expectations of the questioners

4. How often the question is asked

What is elaboration?
This is rehearsal and thinking deeply, going back to rehearse detail as close as possible to original information.
What are “basic processes” in memory?
Frequently used/rapidly executed memory activities
Ages of attainment of basic processes:


• Implicit/explicit • Association • Recognition • Limitation and recall


3 Months:

• Insight • Generalization • Integration


1 Year:

• Inhibition • Resistance to Interference

Most basic of basic processes.1966 experiment – baby learned to associate sounds to which direction they should turn their head. Begins at birth.
How do we study newborns recognition ability?
Habituation. At 2 months (BIRTH) can remember at two weeks. After two weeks may not remember.
On what basis do infants recognize objects as familiar?
Strauss and Cohen’s 1978 study: size, color, form, orientation. After 15 min, only form and color. After 24 hours, only form.
Deferred imitation is the sign of what basic memory process?
What is the range of activity for infant imitation?
Sequence of infants imitation parallels Piaget’s circular reactions. In terms of recall the trend is from the body outward to the external world. From Birth (At 6 weeks infants can imitate adults. By 9 months, up to 24hrs later, at 14 mo, up to 4mo later.) “What they are capable of imitating is going from their own body to the external world.” Dr. Sun
What was Rovee-Collier’s 1995 Mobile study?
AT 3 M/O, baby learns that kicking leg with ribbon tied to it shakes the mobile and kicks faster. Learning is abrupt which suggests infants have insights about how things work. However, they don’t generalize this information–if the crib bumper is changed to a different color, the baby will have to relearn because she cant generalize.
What is integration?
“Practice events, related events” Practice with in 3 days with a related event for infants.
What is a “time window”?
A certain period during which one can integrate information, and strengthen initial memories. From 3 months. Duration of the time window is from the initial event to the time you forget. Review toward the end of the time window. Ex: court testimony, review right before giving testimony.
What is the implication of the time window for eye witness testimony?
Information should be reviewed before the end of the time window and before testimony in order to refresh the memory.
How does frontal lobe relate to inhibition? (referring to age)
The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls this. There are two notable increases in this ability: at age 1, when infants stop making a-not-b errors, and between 4-7 years, when children master conservation of liquids. Both correspond with increases of maturity in the frontal lobe.
Why do we have infantile amnesia?

1. Physiological changes (verbal vs. non-verbal) early memories are only pictures

2. Influence of social world on language use (hearing/producing stories about past)3. Mismatch of encoding/retrieval(verbal vs. nonverbal, perception, general knowledge) Ex: remembering an ice cream truck instead of an ambulance

4. 1, 2, 3 are not mutually exclusive

Processing capacity: Is working memory expandable?
Does Processing speed change?

1. Increases with age(immediate processing, processing in WM, retrieval)

2. Parallel with physical maturity

3. Practice does NOT equal processing speed

4. Nature of tasks (rarely encounter vs daily; ie walk, drive eat, etc)

Why is it important to study children’s memory
1. Determining reliability of children’s testimony
2. Use as a comparison point for children’s report
3. Implication of memory development – if we understand it we can apply it elsewhere.

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