Evaluating Piaget's Theory Of Cognitive Development

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Using the Habituation Technique to Evaluate a Piagetian Hypothesis The purpose of this paper is to use the habituation technique in young infants to evaluate one hypothesis derived from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. I will compare 5-months olds in a task that involves possible and impossible outcomes. Piaget’s theory specifies the cognitive competencies of children of this age. 1a. During what Piaget calls the sensorimotor stage, children experience the world solely through their senses and actions, such as seeing and touching. 1b. During this stage Piaget posits that infants lack object permanence, the ability to understand that objects exist when they are not perceived. According to Piaget, this occurs because infants are…show more content…
2a. The habituation technique relies on the effects of habituation, a decrease in response to repeated stimuli, to isolate a variable so it can be examined. A related concept, called dishabituation, is just a renewed response to the same repeated stimuli. This lack of response to repeated stimuli can be used to determine what infants perceive and remember. 2b. One alternative technique to test the cognitive capacity of infants is called operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, a naturally occurring action is reinforced with a reward, causing it to happen more often. After a certain action has been conditioned, the stimuli causing the action can be slightly altered to learn about how infants perceive that particular kind of stimuli. 2c. While these are both effective techniques, operant conditioning has downfalls that habituation doesn’t. Many types of conditioning are hard for babies, and there are a limited number of actions that can be accurately studied with it. Habituation is generally more flexible, faster, and easier to implement in studies involving…show more content…
However, future investigations may need to adopt techniques that improve upon those used here. 5a. Figure 3 depicts an the results of an almost identical experiment as figure one, where the only difference is the amount of time between steps 4 and 5. In figure 1 the time was one second, and in figure 3 the time was ten seconds. At first glance, the results seem to conflict with one another. They seem to point to exactly opposite conclusions. The most likely explanation of this difference in results is the fact that the infants in figure 3 became distracted, or just forgot about what they had seen. This would alter the amount of interest they show in the conclusions, in turn altering the results of the experiment. This would suggest that although the results of the second experiment seem to conflict with the first, they both tell a separate truth about how infants track objects and pay attention to their surroundings. 5b. If Piaget had seen the results presented in figure three, he would have concluded that his hypothesis was correct. He would have wrongly assumed that this indicates that infants are not able to track objects outside of their perception, and lack the ability to intuitively do small mathematical operations. 5c. Although this experiment might appear to definitively prove McCrink and Wynns’ hypothesis, the argument could be made that children are reacting to a change in what

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