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#51
07-26-2012, 11:04 AM
 Jragon Member Join Date: Mar 2007 Location: Miskatonic University Posts: 7,065
Reading up on rain gauges (which I did in 4th grade and forgot), I don't think I would have ever arrived at the obtuse method they use. The method I'd probably arrive at would be something like the ratio of the volume of water to the area of the aperture. So a beaker with 255mL (aka cm^3) of water with a 5cm^2 hole would yield 255cm^3/5cm^2 = 51cm of rainfall (or more precisely, approximately 255mL of water falls within every 5cm^2 patch of land). Which, either incidentally or not is still measured in units of length, but not in the odd seemingly over-engineered way Wikipedia mentions.

Of course, I'm sure there's a good reason why my way doesn't work.

Last edited by Jragon; 07-26-2012 at 11:06 AM.
#52
07-26-2012, 11:13 AM
 Chefguy Charter Member Join Date: Jun 2003 Location: Portlandia Posts: 24,665
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar Resisting urge to scream. I don't want to blow up over this again, but I think that is ridiculous. I don't believe a child understands the concept of preservation of volume until he learns it. Not some magical stage of development. I don't know who this guy Piaget is, but every time I see the name it's associated with a crackpot theory that is difficult to disprove. But I think this one can be disproved. If you can show me where anybody attempts to teach young children the principle of conservation of volume, and they can't learn it, I'll change my mind, a little bit. But if Piaget didn't do that, his theory is crap.
Trying to teach a young child the concept of volume is tall order. Even after explaining that the amount of water is equal in both, children will still say the glass contains more. Volume is an abstract at that age, and they are reporting what they see: taller=more. Your not knowing who Piaget is doesn't invalidate his research.

Last edited by Chefguy; 07-26-2012 at 11:15 AM.
#53
07-26-2012, 11:53 AM
 Left Hand of Dorkness Guest Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chefguy Your not knowing who Piaget is doesn't invalidate his research.
I dunno. I'm not sure who Heisenberg is, but the idea that you can't know where something is if you know how fast it's going is totally ridiculous. Have you actually tested it? I'm gonna go into threads about quantum physics right now and set people straight.

Jragon, I think your method would work, but rain gauges are pretty simple, AIUI: they just imagine all the rain that falls covers the ground in an even layer, and then you see how thick that layer is. Not much rain=thin layer; a crazy rainstorm=thick layer. Are you maybe overthinking it?
#54
07-26-2012, 12:17 PM
 Jragon Member Join Date: Mar 2007 Location: Miskatonic University Posts: 7,065
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness Jragon, I think your method would work, but rain gauges are pretty simple, AIUI: they just imagine all the rain that falls covers the ground in an even layer, and then you see how thick that layer is. Not much rain=thin layer; a crazy rainstorm=thick layer. Are you maybe overthinking it?
Heh, I actually misread the Wikipedia article. I thought it said that you subtracted 25mL from the total for some Lovecraftian reason when what they actually said was that by standard the overflow container catches any water over 25mL.
#55
07-26-2012, 12:30 PM
 leahcim Member Join Date: Dec 2010 Location: New York Posts: 1,201
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TokyoPlayer She understands that one cookie is the biggest, but takes glob types over flat types, even though the flat types look bigger to me.
If you don't mind a digression, what is a glob type of cookie?
#56
07-26-2012, 01:27 PM
 dracoi Guest Join Date: Dec 2008
Quote:
 Originally Posted by leahcim If you don't mind a digression, what is a glob type of cookie?
I think he means cookies that are more dome-shaped than disc-shaped. For example, Mexican wedding cookies are almost spherical. If you smashed them flat, they'd have a much larger visual cross-section; it would be easy to make mistakes about which one was really bigger.
#57
07-26-2012, 02:25 PM
 Malthus Guest Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness I dunno. I'm not sure who Heisenberg is, but the idea that you can't know where something is if you know how fast it's going is totally ridiculous. Have you actually tested it? I'm gonna go into threads about quantum physics right now and set people straight.
Isn't he that guy who cooks crystal meth?
#58
07-26-2012, 02:48 PM
 Jragon Member Join Date: Mar 2007 Location: Miskatonic University Posts: 7,065
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Malthus Isn't he that guy who cooks crystal meth?
No, he's the one who cooks the books. After all he can't let you predict where the money's gone.

Last edited by Jragon; 07-26-2012 at 02:48 PM.
#59
07-26-2012, 07:53 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by dracoi I think he means cookies that are more dome-shaped than disc-shaped.
This. When using cookie dough that's more viscus, the cookies are more dome-shaped. With things are shaped irregularly, then it's not as obvious which has a greater volume. Flat cookies are bigger around, but glob cookies are taller. The bigger-around seems to be preferable for the older toddler and the younger one just wants either his older sister's or daddy's.

I just re-ran the water experiment with my kids this morning.

Further notes:

As we did last time, Beta-chan wanted to know why we were putting water from one container to another. This actually is an important point, as without a good reason, kids are going to get mentally stuck in that question mode and it can invalidate the rest of the test. When we take over the world, the first law I'm passing is that all child development experiments on preschooler are performed by day care teacher. They understand kids and are good at giving satisfying answers.

I changed the experiment today. I used three containers for the two volumes of water. Let's say Volume A and Volume B. I had two bowls, Bowls 1 and Bowl 2, and a glass.

Had Beta-chan poured water into the glass, making it Volume A. Then had her pour Volume A into Bowl 1. Refilled glass with Volume B. Asked which is more. The glass.
Had her pour Volume B into Bowl 2. Now Volumes A and B were the same. Poured Volume A back into the glass. Now it was bigger. Returned to bowl and they were the same. Repeated with Volume B with similar results.

I can only assume the out right dismissals of Piaget's findings are based on a non-exposure to children, as anyone who has worked with them, been around them for very long or endured temper tantrums because she wants that one will not be surprised.

The idea that there was specific stages of mental development in children apparently was quite radical to researchers. One brain development author (and mother) suggested that was because the researchers used to be overwhelmingly male. Apparently the previous view was that kids were simply less developed or "defective" mini adults.

In Pinker's book, he describes language acquisition by babies, and goes through the various stages, including learning sounds, cadence, etc., and points out that it's not all just vocabulary. It's interesting to watch my children as they try to simultaneously learn three languages with radically different sounds, pitches, cadence, and vocabularies.

The reason this is relevant -- at least marginally so -- is that child development, including language, is not simply just made up BS. Sure, it's not completely understood, and there's nothing more frustrating than reading idiotic conclusions from poorly designed experiments, but we've got a greater understanding on how the brain develops than the Puritans did.
#60
07-26-2012, 08:57 PM
 Chefguy Charter Member Join Date: Jun 2003 Location: Portlandia Posts: 24,665
Also, the transition from one stage to the next is largely a function of exposure to education, media, etc., along with the physical development of the brain. It's not like the brain suddenly throws a switch and a person then understands concepts like volume vs height or other notions that require some abstract thinking skills and perhaps exposure to mathematical concepts.
#61
07-26-2012, 09:50 PM
 Ike Witt Guest Join Date: Aug 1999
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ferret Herder The one I like is when you learn that a baby figures out it's him-/herself in the mirror. Show a baby a mirror and the baby may wave at the "other" kid or otherwise check out the reflection Turn baby around and touch his face, at one point smearing a little red stain on the end of his nose during the process (casually, not enough to make the kid realize something is up). Turn the baby around again and show him the mirror. If the baby grabs at his own nose, he realizes that's him in the mirror.
Same thing happens with other primates and dolphins.
#62
07-26-2012, 10:11 PM
 SciFiSam Guest Join Date: Mar 2003
Peek-a-boo only works when the child has started to understand object permanence but it's still new to him. Otherwise it would work as well with 2-month-old babies as with 7-month olds. With toddlers it's just a game like any other, but with babies you can usually see surprise when you 'reappear,' and it's not like babies can pretend to be surprised.
#63
07-26-2012, 10:13 PM
 FuzzyOgre Guest Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ike Witt Same thing happens with other primates and dolphins.
My larger cat seems to have it half figured out. He sleeps against a mirror, on a counter, and seems to understand that his reflection isnt another cat. When I come to visit him there, he watches me in the mirror, and if I manipulate something interesting behind his back he'll turn around to give it a swat or a sniff.

Its hard to put something on his fur though. Cats seem more sensitive to stuff, and it will irritate him before he sees it in the reflection.
#64
07-27-2012, 01:12 AM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chefguy Also, the transition from one stage to the next is largely a function of exposure to education, media, etc., along with the physical development of the brain. It's not like the brain suddenly throws a switch and a person then understands concepts like volume vs height or other notions that require some abstract thinking skills and perhaps exposure to mathematical concepts.
Sure, but the physical development is also important. This is a reason why trying for force feed math lessons on toddlers isn't going to work for them.

As an amateur magician, it’s been really interesting to see what types of magic can be comprehended by what age of children. You can’t enjoy magic until you have a strong enough comprehension of the world in which to realize that your understanding is being tested. Before a certain age, it’s all magic. Then toddlers will begin to realize that coins put into a hand should remain there. Ropes cut in half and then restored are more complicated, and the child needs to be maybe four or five. Anything involving cards is not until the kid is much older.
#65
07-27-2012, 03:44 PM
 DSeid Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chefguy Also, the transition from one stage to the next is largely a function of exposure to education, media, etc., along with the physical development of the brain. It's not like the brain suddenly throws a switch and a person then understands concepts like volume vs height or other notions that require some abstract thinking skills and perhaps exposure to mathematical concepts.
Actually to some degree it is, albeit not one that is thrown overnight.

Brian development occurs in waves that are to a large extent predetermined. Exposure before the brain is ready to respond to the stimulation with rapid increase in synapses and modification of existing one won't do much. (It must also be noted that pruning of excess synapses is just as critical a developmental function and also timed ... it won't occur earlier no matter what the experiences are, and is timed to occur in different cortices at different points in time. Not a switch being thrown but in defined windows of time, not before.)

This really should not be a hard concept to grasp, think of physical development: no matter how much 6 year old boys work out they won't develop bulky muscles. Wait a few years and put some testosterone in the mix and weight training can easily lead to bulk. The body needs to be ready for the experience for the experience to cause certain kinds of change, and so with the brain.

A two month old won't have object permanence no matter how much you practice it and a toddler/early preschooler won't get conservation of mass no matter how hard you try to teach it.
#66
07-27-2012, 04:24 PM
 Lemur866 Charter Member Join Date: Jul 2000 Location: The Middle of Puget Sound Posts: 15,582
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Jragon Reading up on rain gauges (which I did in 4th grade and forgot), I don't think I would have ever arrived at the obtuse method they use. The method I'd probably arrive at would be something like the ratio of the volume of water to the area of the aperture. So a beaker with 255mL (aka cm^3) of water with a 5cm^2 hole would yield 255cm^3/5cm^2 = 51cm of rainfall (or more precisely, approximately 255mL of water falls within every 5cm^2 patch of land). Which, either incidentally or not is still measured in units of length, but not in the odd seemingly over-engineered way Wikipedia mentions. Of course, I'm sure there's a good reason why my way doesn't work.
Your method of measuring rainfall by volume in cm^3 divided by aperture area in cm^2 is a great way to measure rainfall. Area is width times length, and volume is width times length times height. So when you divide volume by area, you have w*l*h/*w*l, which leaves height. Not-so-coincidentally, height is exactly how weather guys measure rainfall.

Your method and their method are exactly the same.
#67
07-27-2012, 04:30 PM
 Lemur866 Charter Member Join Date: Jul 2000 Location: The Middle of Puget Sound Posts: 15,582
I remember as a little kid being told that rainfall is measured in height, and thinking that was a really stupid method, because a large bucket would collect more rain than a small one, and so you'd have to somehow specify how wide the collection area was. It really bugged me as a kid because I was sure the values they were collecting were meaningless.

But I didn't realize that volume/collection area would just leave height. It doesn't matter if your collector is a thin cylinder or a wide rectangular trough. It cancels out.
#68
07-27-2012, 07:01 PM
 Pyper Guest Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chefguy Also, the transition from one stage to the next is largely a function of exposure to education, media, etc., along with the physical development of the brain. It's not like the brain suddenly throws a switch and a person then understands concepts like volume vs height or other notions that require some abstract thinking skills and perhaps exposure to mathematical concepts.
Replications of Piaget's studies with other cultures have shown that the environment has more influence on stages of development than previously thought. Pierre Dasen's study demonstrated that Aboriginal children acquire the concept of conservation much later than European children. His research even showed that some Aboriginal adults did not have conversation. However, on spatial/mapping tasks, the Aborigines came out ahead of the Europeans.

If we think about the traditional Aboriginal environment and lifestyle (hunter-gatherers in an area with sparse rainfall, no vessels to carry water), it makes sense that they would not develop conservation.
#69
07-27-2012, 08:06 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Pyper Replications of Piaget's studies with other cultures have shown that the environment has more influence on stages of development than previously thought.
I was just thinking about that question this morning, and wondering why the idea of different volumes of water would be so different than similar shaped objects. It's obvious that at 21 months, toddlers do not have a consistent grasp of "bigger," but at 46 months they do. (Actually, we before that, but I'm using the age of my experimentees.) A three-year-old will consistently pick out bigger and smaller cookies if they are the same shape, but have more difficulty if one is a flat cookie and the other is a "glob" or dome-shaped cookie, to use our Tokyo Child Development Specialist's terminology.

I wonder that if we lived in a culture which spent a lot of time pouring water from one container to another, if the child would develop that ability earlier, and if so, how much earlier?

I also don't know if this invalidates the basic concept of Piaget's studies, but rather means that there is an environmental aspect which also needs to be taken into consideration.
#70
07-27-2012, 08:53 PM
 DSeid Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Dansen's view has been that his cross cultural studies validated Piaget's theories. The hierarchal stages were found to be universal and reflective of deep structural cognitive processes. The exact rate was cultural dependent within ranges.
#71
07-29-2012, 07:39 AM
 Bill Door Charter Member Join Date: Nov 2003 Posts: 2,956
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TokyoBayer (snip) A three-year-old will consistently pick out bigger and smaller cookies if they are the same shape, but have more difficulty if one is a flat cookie and the other is a "glob" or dome-shaped cookie, to use our Tokyo Child Development Specialist's terminology.(snip)
Are we sure? Because there's an old joke about a village idiot who was constantly offered a choice between a nickel and a dime so they could laugh at him behind his back when he took the bigger one. When someone finally privately asked him why, he said, "The minute I take the dime, they're going to stop playing the game."

Maybe the three year olds have figured out that the minute they consistently estimate the volume of a three dimensional shape the cookies quit coming.

Last edited by Bill Door; 07-29-2012 at 07:39 AM.
#72
07-29-2012, 09:33 AM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Bill Door Maybe the three year olds have figured out that the minute they consistently estimate the volume of a three dimensional shape the cookies quit coming.
I'm pretty sure that this is joking, but if you know three-year-olds, you don't see that level of sophistication yet. I don't remember the exact terminology, but it's the ability to see the world from another person's point of view. Maybe "other minds?"

They do experiments where two people are there in a room and they hid something in a box. One person leaves and the other person moves the object. They then ask the child where the other person will look for the object, and three year olds will point to the new hiding place.

We see it with hide and seek. Right now, Beta-chan believes that the game is about knowing where a person is, and pretending to look for them (which is what I have to do, as her hiding places aren't that clever) rather than really hiding, which requires understanding that the other person don't know everything you do.
#73
07-29-2012, 10:15 AM
 DSeid Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
You are referencing "Theory of Mind", the ability to imagine seeing the world from the other's POV, to have a theory that the other has a mind and to imagine what that mind is experiencing.

Some elements of Theory of Mind are extant before three-years-old, albeit not usually enough to have that sophisticated level of manipulation.

You also see it in how kids play, initially pretty much ignoring other babies or more so treating them as objects, then "parallel play", aware of the other child and imitating them to some degree but not really playing together, to true interactive play as Theory of Mind emerges.

Theory of Mind underlays both empathy and the ability to out-manipulate others; kind of interesting that.
#74
07-29-2012, 05:42 PM
 maggenpye Guest Join Date: Apr 2006
And Theory of Mind is tied up with the ability to lie. Up until around 3, the kids assume you have the same knowledge they do (like with the hiding TokyoBayer referenced (I thought it was going to be so confusing having two dopers with such similar names and I've only just got that they're the same person updated!)).

My dad tells the story of me at around that age, right on the borderline - refusing to say if I'd tidied my room because I knew he'd be angry. I didn't think of saying yes, but I knew that if he was asking, he wasn't sure.

It's apparently a recognised milestone and we should be dead proud when our kids start lying like dogs.
#75
07-29-2012, 07:24 PM
 FuzzyOgre Guest Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
 Originally Posted by DSeid then "parallel play", aware of the other child and imitating them to some degree but not really playing together,
I parallel played with my younger sister. To this day she remembers me as being the fun(read peaceable) one to play with. Our older brother wanted to dictate the terms of play, so the two of them would squabble.

When I outgrew parallel play, I stopped playing, or only played by myself.

Pertinent fact: older brother is 13 months older than I, younger sister is 34 months younger(2 months short of 3 years).

The development period I am referencing of is when she was about 7-8, and he was 11-12. For completeness sake, I was about 10.
#76
07-31-2012, 09:23 AM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Left Hand, so far your argument consists of insults and a magical ability to understand the inner workings of the juvenile mind based on proximity. I take this to mean you don't understand the work that you are citing. Your examples again contradict your own assertion. In this thread you've now stated a virtual miracle where a group of children who had not reached the stage of mental development you claim exists, suddenly within a few minutes reach that stage. All of them at exactly the same time, quite remarkable.

Now let's start with your initial claim, that young children do not understand the principle of conservation of volume because their brains are not sufficiently developed to comprehend it. You offer as the means of proof this test. I'll take it that the video is nothing but a dramatic presentation, because otherwise it is unscientific drivel. Since you are an expert on Piaget I'm sure you can tell me in detail the specific methodology he used, so why don't you start there? Are you able to see the flaws in the video clip you present as a valid test of something? And can you explain how a valid test of this nature determines something about the development stages of a child's mind? All I see is a test designed to obtain a specific answer from children too young to participate in the test because they lack the requisite background knowledge. Even if using valid methodology, there is no way that test can determine why a child would or would not know the answer.

All that is needed to disprove your claim is a single child who can give the 'correct' answer after having the principle explained to them. Can you, based on your in depth knowledge of this theory, describe how the attempts to disprove were conducted. I'd be surprised if you can, because your own anecdote disproves your theory.

You have the opportunity to show you understand the theory you claim I don't. I don't claim to have any knowledge of it, so if I lack understanding, that would be completely understandable. But you haven't yet demonstrated an understanding of the thing you claim to be expert on.
#77
07-31-2012, 04:02 PM
 Trinopus Member Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: San Diego, CA Posts: 4,759
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar . . . All that is needed to disprove your claim is a single child who can give the 'correct' answer after having the principle explained to them. . . .
Well, no, that would simply establish the amazing existence of a highly unusual and precocious kid who somehow developed far in advance of all other kids. It would be fascinating, but it wouldn't really disprove the idea. Exceptional cases are fascinating, but they don't necessarily disprove general rules. You can sometimes find nine year old kids doing integral calculus, but it doesn't disprove the rule that calculus is a high-school/college course.

I'm not quite sure what your major point is in this thread, but Piaget, while dated, still is held in admiration and approval by most scientists studying the idea. Object permanence and the concept of volume, and a lot of other signs of abstract thinking, tend to appear, quite suddenly, in children, at about the age of two and a half.

Scientific American had an article on the "doll house model of this room" experiment. At about age two and a half, kids suddenly realized, "Wait, that doll house model is of this very room I'm in!" Below that age, they never understood that. By a later age, such as we adults, it's painfully obvious. But it is right about that age -- two and a half -- that the light bulb goes on, and "abstract thought" becomes possible.
#78
07-31-2012, 08:10 PM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Trinopus Scientific American had an article on the "doll house model of this room" experiment. At about age two and a half, kids suddenly realized, "Wait, that doll house model is of this very room I'm in!" Below that age, they never understood that. By a later age, such as we adults, it's painfully obvious. But it is right about that age -- two and a half -- that the light bulb goes on, and "abstract thought" becomes possible.
I understand your point about disproof. That was my lead in to a more in depth discussion about the nature of this type of science. This is an area where both proof and disproof are elusive. I am not criticizing Piaget either, because I still know nothing material about his work. Also, your age of 2 1/2 is about half the age the experts have told me is the age that developmental stage is reached. However, 2 1/2 is about the age where you see children begin to actually reason at all, and they can participate in any kind of testing at all (though I doubt with reliable results for any but simple matters).

All I've stated from the beginning of an old squabble on this subject is this: If a person doesn't know something, it's because they haven't learned it. To claim it is based on a stage of mental development requires more than an obviously flawed testing technique.
#79
07-31-2012, 08:36 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar All I've stated from the beginning of an old squabble on this subject is this: If a person doesn't know something, it's because they haven't learned it. To claim it is based on a stage of mental development requires more than an obviously flawed testing technique.
In contrast to what, exactly?

My daughter is almost four. She understands that I am an American, that her mother is Taiwanese and we live in Japan. She knows that Daddy, his family and some of his friends speak English, her mother, her mother's family and some of her mother's friends speak Chinese. Almost everyone else speaks Japanese.

She knows that two cookies are more than one cookie. If I separate legos into two unequal piles, she can pick out the larger one 100% of the time as well as correctly identify if they are the same, without needing me to give leading questions.

I've just talking about this to give a background level of abilities. She's reasonably intelligent and doesn't seem to have any learning disabilities.

If we fill two similar cups (A and B) of water she will correctly identify that they are the same 100% of the time, without fail.

If we then have her pour one cup "A" into another one which is taller and skinnier, then she will incorrectly say that the taller one has more. She says this 100% of the time.

When we pour the water back into "A" she will then correctly say the two cups are the same. It doesn't seem to bother her that she believes that the volumes are changing.

OK, now my question to you, and I offer her services to conduct any reasonable experiment, is how exactly is she supposed to learn that the amounts are the same, regardless if they are in different sized cups? She's the one pouring the water. She should see that no extra gets added or any removed.

What would be a valid test or are you claiming there isn't a way? If so, why is she correctly able to tell which has more when the cups are identical?

Last edited by TokyoBayer; 07-31-2012 at 08:36 PM.
#80
07-31-2012, 09:13 PM
 Trinopus Member Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: San Diego, CA Posts: 4,759
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar . . . If a person doesn't know something, it's because they haven't learned it. To claim it is based on a stage of mental development requires more than an obviously flawed testing technique.
What I would emphasize is that, in some cases, the mind is too young to be able to learn it. The stage of mental development really does make a difference. It is simply not *possible* to teach a very, very young child things like object permanence, conservation of volume, or how to see another person's viewpoint.

I wish I had a pointer to the Scientific American article.

(They also had one on autism, where they showed that some kids -- autistic kids -- don't learn "another person's point of view" at the age that other kids do. Very haunting article.)
#81
07-31-2012, 09:25 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Trinopus What I would emphasize is that, in some cases, the mind is too young to be able to learn it. The stage of mental development really does make a difference. It is simply not *possible* to teach a very, very young child things like object permanence, conservation of volume, or how to see another person's viewpoint.
He doesn't believe the conclusion, which is fine. That's fine, but I'm offering him a chance to disprove this. I've got access to a number of different friends of my daughter. Let's see if there is a way for a child at the age of four to understand that volumes of water don't change regardless of the shape of container they are poured into.

This has nothing to do with Piaget any more. This is TokyoBayer's daughter and her friends. At almost four, she's giving incorrect answers to a specific question to a specific test. She gives correct answers to specific questions to a very similar specific test, one in which nothing additional was taught.

Why is it that she can correctly point out which pile of Legos is larger; which amount of cookies is larger; and which cup has more water, when the cups are the same size and shape; but is unable to do so when the size and shape of the cups are not similar?

Forget about Piaget or anyone else. What's happening here?
#82
07-31-2012, 09:47 PM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TokyoBayer This has nothing to do with Piaget any more. This is TokyoBayer's daughter and her friends. At almost four, she's giving incorrect answers to a specific question to a specific test. She gives correct answers to specific questions to a very similar specific test, one in which nothing additional was taught. Why is it that she can correctly point out which pile of Legos is larger; which amount of cookies is larger; and which cup has more water, when the cups are the same size and shape; but is unable to do so when the size and shape of the cups are not similar? Forget about Piaget or anyone else. What's happening here?
I feel uncomfortable discussing your daughter as a test subject, but in this broader context I don't mind saying that your daughter would seem to be very bright, and might just be messing with you
#83
07-31-2012, 10:33 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar I feel uncomfortable discussing your daughter as a test subject, but in this broader context I don't mind saying that your daughter would seem to be very bright, and might just be messing with you
I think it's great to challenge science. I really wish that more people would do so, because wrong hypotheses are blindly continued for generations because people blindly listened to people like Dr. Spock without critically challenging them.

But, it's one thing to constructively criticize. It's another to just jeer from the sidelines.

You have repeatedly stated that your hypothesis is that children don't know things because they haven't learned them yet. You are attacking Left Hand (who is perfectly able to defend himself), but I fail to see the logic of your attack.

My question to you is simple. I've described a set of experiments and the results. Leaving aside Piaget, my hypothesis is that my daughter and other kids around four years seem unable to understand conversation of liquids. (It's not my original theory, but let's say it is.)

So, what do we need to do? Obviously, she's not picking up the concept by direct observation, which is seemingly odd because she picks up almost everything by direct observation. We never specifically taught her that gravity work via attraction of masses, and that mashed potatoes dropped from high chairs goes down instead of up or sideways. Yet she has a firm grasp that things will fall down.

She does a lot of experimenting playing with water herself. She pours things from glasses to buckets and back. Nevertheless, she seems unable to tell that the quantity of water is not changing when being poured.

You seem to be suggesting that she's teasing me about this, but only this. She never teases me about anything else consistently. So why this? It doesn't have to be my daughter. There's lots of four-year-olds around here to work with.

Well, I'm basically saying, but very nicely, to put up or shut up.
#84
07-31-2012, 10:52 PM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
TokyoBayer, my argument with Left Hand goes back a ways on this subject. It certainly has no bearing on you. I'm not going to try to evaluate what goes on with your daughter. But in reference to you, why are you so concerned about this? Your daughter is exhibiting an active and creative mind, so what difference does it make why she answers this one question the way she does? And why do you demean your own daughters experimentation by calling it playing? I understand you did that as a humorous expression, but she is experimenting, that's what a lot of playing is about, especially in bright children like your daughter.

As for putting up or shutting up, I already have. I don't know how to state it any more clearly. If a person does not know something, it is because they have not learned it. That's a simple application of Occam's Razor. To claim otherwise requires proof, and none was offered by Left Hand, and none by you. No one has expressed a means by which any other conclusion can be determined. If there is one, someone who claims that Piaget has proven this, and that they understand what Piaget has proven, would be able to present the means by which an alternate theory has been proven, or even could be proven. We all know that at some very early age children seem to lack the capability to reason in many ways, but determining that point, and the determination of specific stages of development require more than anecdotes.

Last edited by TriPolar; 07-31-2012 at 10:56 PM.
#85
08-01-2012, 10:33 AM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar But in reference to you, why are you so concerned about this? Your daughter is exhibiting an active and creative mind, so what difference does it make why she answers this one question the way she does? And why do you demean your own daughters experimentation by calling it playing? I understand you did that as a humorous expression, but she is experimenting, that's what a lot of playing is about, especially in bright children like your daughter.
I am not demeaning her play. I'm actually complimenting her. Many parents think their kids are playing when they really are experimenting with the world.

I'm not concerned at all about my daughter. I find this fascinating. I'm using the terms "right" and "wrong" in the sense that they are factually correct or not. This is simply a report and not criticism of her at all. What you are failing to see is that there is a fascinating issue here. Why is a child able to understand one thing but not another? Why is it that all kids in general have the same understandings and inabilities?

Quote:
 If a person does not know something, it is because they have not learned it. That's a simple application of Occam's Razor. To claim otherwise requires proof, and none was offered by Left Hand, and none by you.
I think this is the worse application of Occam's Razor which I have ever run across.

If that is how Occam's Razor were to work then it would eliminate all scientific and engineering endeavors. Discoveries are found when people ask why.

Your answer fails because it's not simply that small children have not learned that two volumes of water are the same, it is that they seem unable to grasp that despite direct observation.

You say that they have not learned it. Why hadn't they learned it? What do they require? Why is it that they can directly observe that two volumes of water are equal when they are in similar sized glasses but not in dissimilar sizes? Why is it that they believe that the water is the same when it is in one glass but not another?

Why is it that children in a similar culture seem to develop the ability to grasp the more abstract concept at a fairly similar age?

If it were a simple matter of children not learning this yet, then how do you teach them? At four, they seem unable to grasp this on their own. Why is that? What is required for them to learn?

Quote:
 No one has expressed a means by which any other conclusion can be determined. If there is one, someone who claims that Piaget has proven this, and that they understand what Piaget has proven, would be able to present the means by which an alternate theory has been proven, or even could be proven. We all know that at some very early age children seem to lack the capability to reason in many ways, but determining that point, and the determination of specific stages of development require more than anecdotes.
We have a theory. It's been tested and fairly well established. As you admit you can't be bothered to read what Piaget has said, then there isn't enough common knowledge to have a discussion.

Quote:
 And I am not just jeering from the sidelines.
I beg to differ.
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 I was only 4 when my parents volunteered me to be locked in a simulated refrigerator for some sadistic experimentation hidden under the guise of scientific research. I don't know how to say this quite right, but don't use your brain to assess your daughter, use your heart. I hear from you a tale of parent who is blessed with a diamond, and is worried about a flaw that may only be random glimmer of light. I hope that sounds right, please don't take it the wrong way.
Yes, you are taking this completely, 100% wrong. Do not project your parents' misguided shit on me. I am not your sadistic parent. If you are seriously suggesting that asking a little girl if two glasses of water is in anyway the equivalent of locking a child into a contained space, you need to calm down and back away from the keyboard for a while.

I love my child dearly and to suggest otherwise is suggests more about your issues than mine.
#86
08-01-2012, 10:48 AM
 John DiFool Guest Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TokyoBayer I'm not concerned at all about my daughter. I find this fascinating. I'm using the terms "right" and "wrong" in the sense that they are factually correct or not. This is simply a report and not criticism of her at all. What you are failing to see is that there is a fascinating issue here. Why is a child able to understand one thing but not another? Why is it that all kids in general have the same understandings and inabilities?
As an educator who has worked with tons of little kids over the years, I can definitely say that children of the same age can in fact differ wildly in terms of their understandings and capabilities (this includes social skills as well).
#87
08-02-2012, 08:00 AM
 DSeid Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar [... If a person does not know something, it is because they have not learned it. ...
That may be true so far as it goes. The real issue though is whether they have not learned it because they have not had the proper experiences to learn it (either by natural experimentation or from being taught") or because they are unable to learn it

You are being read as implying that it is the former and that is an extraordinary claim given the cross cultural evidence accumulated since Piaget's first observations that the same developmental sequence occurs in all groups tested, in some taking longer to demonstrate that particular concept than Western children such as Piaget's own but in known substantially earlier. The simple point made by TokyoBayer is that bright kids, exposed to the concept in question many times, able to absorb other concepts easily, cannot grasp that one before they are developmentally ready to do so. That readiness cannot be significantly rushed. I don't care how much you try to teach a three year old to read, they won't master that skill until their brain is also developmentally mature enough to learn it.

IF you are claiming it can be, then that extraordinary claim would require extraordinary evidence to support it.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by John DiFool As an educator who has worked with tons of little kids over the years, I can definitely say that children of the same age can in fact differ wildly in terms of their understandings and capabilities (this includes social skills as well).
Yes within a range; "wildly" is a relative thing.

Back to object permanence ... most kids will develop the concept around seven to eight months of age. Yes, it can happen a bit earlier or a bit later, but not because of how much a parent has tried to teach the kid the concept ... the experiences that trigger in a child developmentally ready to learn it it don't need to be taught, they are near impossible to avoid (and occur whether a child is sighted or not, deaf or not ...) Why not much earlier? the necessary brain wiring to do so has to develop.
#88
08-02-2012, 08:44 AM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TokyoBayer I think this is the worse application of Occam's Razor which I have ever run across. If that is how Occam's Razor were to work then it would eliminate all scientific and engineering endeavors. Discoveries are found when people ask why.
The point of Occam's Razor isn't to prove anything. It's just about making starting assumptions. The simplest explanation is most likely, and more complex explanations need to be proven before the simplest can be discarded. That's all it is, I don't offer it as proof of anything.

Quote:
 Yes, you are taking this completely, 100% wrong. Do not project your parents' misguided shit on me. I am not your sadistic parent. If you are seriously suggesting that asking a little girl if two glasses of water is in anyway the equivalent of locking a child into a contained space, you need to calm down and back away from the keyboard for a while. I love my child dearly and to suggest otherwise is suggests more about your issues than mine.
I was not suggesting otherwise or comparing you to my misguided parents. I was hesitant to discuss your daughter at all because of something like this and asked you not to take it the wrong way. You brought your daughter into this discussion and I would have been wiser not to mention her even indirectly. But obviously you like others have some kind of emotional reaction to this subject.
#89
08-02-2012, 08:56 AM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by DSeid bright kids, exposed to the concept in question many times, able to absorb other concepts easily, cannot grasp that one before they are developmentally ready to do so. That readiness cannot be significantly rushed. I don't care how much you try to teach a three year old to read, they won't master that skill until their brain is also developmentally mature enough to learn it.
Which is the point made by the authors of Einstein Never Used Flashcards. The trap which many parents fall into is trying to push kids into reading faster or memorizing more animal names or whatever. It doesn't do anything for the kids, and just burns them out if pushed.

What a parent or educator can do is to be aware of the child's capabilities and find ways to encourage curiosity or confidence building within those capabilities and to provide the child with exposure to things just a little beyond their capabilities, in such a way to encourage growth, but without frustrating the child.

Also by being aware that most babies will develop separation anxiety; knowing that it's generally the strongest is the 8 to 12 months or so range, but that it will get better in time, then the parents can take steps to help decrease the stress which the baby feels, and which will help speed up the naturally occurring decrease in anxiety. Don't force babies to do to strangers right away. Even if the strange is Grandma. Watch for the baby to look to you and give reassurance. Etc.

This is another reason why TriPolar's argument is unsatisfying. If one truly believed it were a matter of simply learning something, then more parents would push kids before their brains are wired in that way.
#90
08-02-2012, 08:59 AM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Quote:
 Originally Posted by DSeid That may be true so far as it goes. The real issue though is whether they have not learned it because they have not had the proper experiences to learn it (either by natural experimentation or from being taught") or because they are unable to learn it You are being read as implying that it is the former and that is an extraordinary claim given the cross cultural evidence accumulated since Piaget's first observations that the same developmental sequence occurs in all groups tested, in some taking longer to demonstrate that particular concept than Western children such as Piaget's own but in known substantially earlier. The simple point made by TokyoBayer is that bright kids, exposed to the concept in question many times, able to absorb other concepts easily, cannot grasp that one before they are developmentally ready to do so. That readiness cannot be significantly rushed. I don't care how much you try to teach a three year old to read, they won't master that skill until their brain is also developmentally mature enough to learn it. IF you are claiming it can be, then that extraordinary claim would require extraordinary evidence to support it.
I understand that children aren't born with the capability of abstract thought, and many other capabilities that develop over time. What I'm asking for is proof of the alternate concept such as Piaget's. That's what's missing in this conversation, and I've asked over and over again. The test with the glasses of water which has been referenced so many times cannot possibly be used to make the determination which is being claimed. I'd be very interested in finding out how Piaget's or anyone elses claims have been proven. We can't see inside children's heads to find out how they are working, or why. So parlor tricks won't do the task. I suspect it something much more complex than has been described, and simply attributing the level of mental development in children to a few stages is an oversimplified approach.

I also suspect that Piaget did ground breaking research that disproved a bunch of older theories that had no scientific basis. He may have pioneered research into this field which has greatly enhanced our knowledge of childhood development. But somehow by questioning this general concept I am goring a sacred ox. I'll just draw more resentment by speculating why, so I won't do it here. But the way to counter my argument is with facts. So far, you and a few others have given reasonable responses. Others are insisting it must be true because they read it in a book and it satisfies their subjective observations, which is probably the methodology in childhood studies that Piaget was trying to counter in the first place.

Last edited by TriPolar; 08-02-2012 at 09:00 AM.
#91
08-02-2012, 08:37 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar What I'm asking for is proof of the alternate concept such as Piaget's. That's what's missing in this conversation, and I've asked over and over again.
This is why you are simply shouting from the sidelines. You're summarily rejecting what child developmental psychologists have concluded and you want us to do all of your hard work for you when you apparently can't even be arsed enough to become familiar with the material yourself.

Quote:
 But the way to counter my argument is with facts. So far, you and a few others have given reasonable responses. Others are insisting it must be true because they read it in a book and it satisfies their subjective observations, which is probably the methodology in childhood studies that Piaget was trying to counter in the first place.
My son is in the middle of his terrible twos, a period in which reason takes back seat to "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO." At some point it is no longer the parent's responsibility to cater to the child. Likewise, in a discussion, simply shouting "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO" is not satisfying.

I've offered to explore to find alternative solutions and you are ignoring them. What else exactly do you want? My son is unable to answer this question, but perhaps you could.

What do you want? For someone to teach you child development, when you admittedly don't study the material?

Go read the book I quoted from above, about Einstein never used flashcards. Then come back and we can have a intelligent conversation.

Last edited by TokyoBayer; 08-02-2012 at 08:37 PM.
#92
08-02-2012, 10:21 PM
 DSeid Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TriPolar ... The test with the glasses of water which has been referenced so many times cannot possibly be used to make the determination which is being claimed. I'd be very interested in finding out how Piaget's or anyone elses claims have been proven. We can't see inside children's heads to find out how they are working, or why. So parlor tricks won't do the task. ...
The claim is simple: children do not master the concept of conservation of volume until they have mastered other certain other concepts first and the sequence is rarely mastered before a particular age range. There is no way to test concept of conservation of volume other than some variant of that glasses of water test because that is the concept being tested: is the volume conserved when it is transfered between containers of different shapes? The answer under a certain age is consistent across cultures and experiences: no, the volume changes when moved to another container. How else would you test the concept?

Conservation of number comes before conservation of volume and this study shows how certain brain networks need to mature before the concept can mastered. I cannot find a study that documents further maturation of those or other networks as conservation of volume becomes a more common milestone but would be shocked if those changes did not exist.

Of course it is fair to dispute Piaget's stage theory and written in stone it aint. Hard-edged stages have mostly given way to hard-wired constraints of variation based on experiences in a more fuzzy edged developmental progression. Some readiness for the concepts can be seen in testing before the skills are readily used and therefore easily observed.
Quote:
 In general, the neo-Piagetian perspective expands upon Piagetian theory by asserting that, while some general constraints or core capacities are hard-wired at birth, learning and experience lead to variation and domain-specificity in the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Cross-cultural studies have shown that varying cultural experiences result in the acquisition of different, contextually relevant skills. For example, children from a Mexican village known for its pottery-making learn conservation of solids (e.g., the fact that a ball of clay has the same mass even when it is molded into a long, thin roll) before conservation of number, which is generally mastered first in formally schooled children. Thus, most neo-Piagetians believe that while learning is constrained by innate mechanisms or information processing capacities, it proceeds in an individualized, domain-specific manner. The question of whether certain knowledge or skills can be acquired before a child has reached a specified stage of development has also been addressed by neo-Piagetians. Renee Baillargeon conducted experiments with young infants and found that they recognize properties of object permanence prior to reaching that designated Piagetian stage of development. In addition, researchers have demonstrated that children can be taught concrete-operational concepts even before they have formally reached that stage of cognitive understanding–though these children are unable to transfer such knowledge outside the context of the testing situation. ...
Please note however: despite successfully teaching some concrete-operational problems in a specific context marginally earlier than expected the children could still not generalize the concept. It's been tried and the edge can be pushed, but only so far.

If you want details of how the components of object permanence development get teased out and critiqued then try your hand at reading this article. Yes it gets complex, and those studies hardly scratch the surface as faces are processed as a very special class of objects and not just by the features like height and color. Some of that complexity can be appreciated in this review (see sections 3 and 4).

Enjoy.

Last edited by DSeid; 08-02-2012 at 10:22 PM.
#93
08-02-2012, 11:13 PM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Thank you very much DSeid. I've only had time to scan your references, I want to look at couple in much greater depth. I appreciate your taking the time to provide an informative response.
#94
08-03-2012, 10:36 PM
 TokyoBayer Guest Join Date: Oct 2003
The problem with something this complicated is that it's pretty much impossible to read an article on the Net and understand what's going on.

One of the best books for the lay person is What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. To understand development in general terms, I can't think of a better book than Pinker's The Language Instinct, although slightly dated, and perhaps overly sympathetic to Chomski's theory of universal grammar, it still remains the gold standard of a book written by an expert for the lay audience.

For general development, I liked Your Child's Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning From Birth to Adolescence and the more general Ages and Stages stages. Most of my library is in storage, so I'd have to go back to see what other books I've read and could recommend.

However, I think it's pretty much a given that without some actual experience with preschoolers, then an actual discussion is pretty much impossible, especially with people who are more interested in shouting or proving someone.
#95
08-03-2012, 10:56 PM
 TriPolar Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: rhode island Posts: 19,777
Thank you for the references TokyoBayer.

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