Childhood Development Cognitive Behavioral Analysis Paper on essay

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Childhood Development

Cognitive behavioral analysis paper on child 2 years old

Analyzing play situations: Applying Piaget's theories to toddlers

The developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, "emphasized the importance of schemas in cognitive development, and described how they were developed or acquired. A schema can be defined as a set of linked mental representations of the world, which we use both to understand and to respond to situations. The assumption is that we store these mental representations and apply them when needed" (McLeod 2009). A good example in the life of an adult is when he or she knows how to order a meal in a restaurant, following a particular social script or schema. Children acquire more and more 'scripts' as they age and become capable of processing scripts of greater and greater complexity.

In the first observational situation, the child is seen enacting a script she likely saw a parent or other adult embody. She pretends to cook what are likely her favorite foods -- pizza and cookies -- and displays them to adults, and offers the adults a 'taste.' In enacting an adult role and by interacting with adults she is clearly mimicking and aspiring to play an 'older' role. The pretend food shows the child's ability to understand that an object can represent something else, as she is using 'play' or plastic food.

Intellectual growth takes place through adapting schemas to the changing circumstances the child encounters. The child assimilates "an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation" and engages in accommodation "when the existing schema (knowledge) does not work, and needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation" (Mcleod 2009). When the teacher asked the question "how did you make the cookies," the child replied "in the oven," referring to the 'play' oven inside the classroom. Then, when prompted: "are they still hot," the child began to blow on the cookies as if to cool them, and handled them as if they were suddenly very warm. "Yes," said the child. "Careful." When the child next produced the 'pizza,' she handled it very differently, acting as if the pizza was extremely hot from the very beginning. She had clearly assimilated the knowledge that food from an oven is hot, transposed that knowledge from real life into 'play' and then understood that if cookies were hot when fresh from the oven, the pizza would be as well.

The child's ability to understand symbolic representation in a linguistic fashion was illustrated in another play scenario, in which the child was coloring and able to name the color of her different crayons correctly, when prompted, connecting the symbolic concept of color with the object. Then, when another child shouted 'cat,' the child shook her head and instead pointed to her shirt, demonstrating that the cat was symbolically represented on her shirt, but was not the intended subject of the drawing, which instead was of a "mommy and daddy and doggie." The child also clearly understood that even though her mother, father, and dog were not in the room, she was symbolically representing them in her art. She comprehended that there was a difference between different types of people (mothers vs. fathers) and dogs vs. cats (some children will call all animals 'doggies' because they are only familiar with dogs in the home). "Equilibrium is occurs when a child's schemas can deal with most new information through assimilation. However, an unpleasant state of disequilibrium occurs when new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas" (Mcleod 2009). The child showed herself to be linguistically adaptable enough to accommodate new information without undue discomfort.

As well as language, the child was able to count up to 20 by using her fingers. This showed symbolic intelligence given that she had to 'start over' and use different fingers after eleven. This shows that she could understand the concept of using fingers as placeholders of value and even that the same finger (a thumb) could represent both 'five' and 'fifteen.'

According to Piaget, another characteristic of early childhood play is egocentrism, the fact that young children are unable to understand the world from the perspective of another person, and attribute their own perceptions to others. Egocentrism in a child is different from egocentrism in an adult (which implies a certain moral judgment in the adult's attitude). Additionally, "egocentrism is a broader concept that encompasses…[continue]

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