sensorimotor intelligence
Piaget’s term for the way infants think-by using their senses and motor skills-during the first period of cognitive development
primary circular reactions
the first of three types of feedback loops in sensorimotor intelligence, this one involving the infant’s own body. The infant senses motion, sucking, noise and so on, and tries to understand them.
secondary circular reactions
the second of three types of feedback loops in sensorimotor intelligence, this one involving people and objects. The infant is responsive to other people and to toys and other objects the infant can touch and move.
object permanence
the realization that objects (including people) still exist when they cannot be seen, touched or heard.
tertiary circular reactions
the third of three types of feedback loops in sensorimotor intelligence, this one involving active exploration and experimentation. The infant explores a range of new activities, varying his or her responses as a way of learning about the world.
“little scientist”
Piaget’s term for the stage-five toddler (age 12 to 18 months) who experiments without anticipating the results.
deferred imitation
a sequence in which an infant first perceives something that someone else does and then performs the same action a few hour or even days later.
habituation
the process of getting used to an object or event through repeated exposure to it
information-processing theory
a perspective that compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, including sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output.
affordance
an opportunity for perception and interaction that is offered by a person, place, or object in the environment.
visual cliff
an experimental apparatus that gives an illusion of a sudden drop between one horizontal surface and another.
dynamic perception
perception that is primed to focus on movement and change
people preference
a universal principle of infant perception, consisting of an innate attraction to other humans, which is evident in visual, auditory, tactile and other preferences.
reminder session
a perceptual experience that is intended to help a person recollect an idea, a thing, or an experience, without testing whether the person remembers it at the moment
child-directed speech
the high-pitched, simplified and repetitive way adults speak to infants.
babbling
the extended repetition of certain syllables, such as ba-ba-ba, that begins between 6 and 9 months of age.
naming explosion
a sudden increase in an infant’s vocabulary, especially in the number of nouns, that begins at about 18 months of age.
holophrase
a single word that is used to express a complete, meaningful thought.
grammar
all the methods-word order, verb forms, and so on-that languages use to communicate meaning, apart from the words themselves.
language acquisition device (LAD)
Chomsky’s term for a hypothesized mental structure that enables humans to learn language, including the basic aspects of grammar, vocabulary, and intonation.