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decorative star graphic  The Play Years:
Cognitive Development
- What Children Think -

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A preschooler's memory is poor in that they

  • seldom try to retain bits of information in memory.
  • donít know how to recall past experiences.

Memory can be enhanced by

•  using scripts which are skeletal outlines of familiar sequence of events.
 
        Scripts have 2 key aspects:
 
          1. They have a begining & an end.
              2. They recognize the causal flow of events.
 
•  asking specific questions.
•  using visual reminders.

Special experiences promote long term memory: if

  • the experience is so repetitive that a script is formed
  • it is a distinct experience that occurs only once (example: natural disaster)

Children as a witness to a crime:

  • provide very accurate details of what happened, but have trouble recalling who was involved
  • (preschoolers) respond untruthfully to misleading questions
  • provide a structured sequence to enhance memory
  • can sometimes give false information to a script that makes sense to them (especially when there is a long duration between the event and recollection)

Theory of the mind - understanding of the human mental processes

   Ψ  Theory of the mind emerges at age 4 in the United States.

   Ψ  Theory of mind is advanced by:

 1. Maturation of the prefrontal cortex
  2. Language: believe, think
   3. An older sibling
    4. A culture that anticipates the future

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ  Preschoolers are beginning to understand mental processes, they can

•  can distinguish between mental phenomena & physical events.
 •  appreciate how mental phenomena can arise from life experiences.
  •  understand mental phenomena are subjective.
   •  recognize that people have differing opinions & preferences.
    •  realize that beliefs & desires can influence human actions.
     •  realize that emotions can come from physical events & goals / expectations.

Note: In children 3-6 years of age, mental phenomena may not reflect reality. Most children however; by age 5, have an adequate "theory of mind" to know the difference between a person's false thinking & an actual case.


Lifespan Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
 
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