Children learn about the world by
perceiving the things around them and paying attention to the
stimuli in their environment. They are very good at this, and
these perceptual skills are well-developed
right from birth.
Children's memory skills develop
as they grow, and the better their memory usually depends on the
technique that they use to memorize. Younger children tend to
use very simple strategies - like repetition, whereas older children
will use imagery and categorization. One development that enhances
memory is meta-memory - which is the knowledge and understanding
of ones own memory abilities.
Language Comprehension and Use:
Language comprehension is the ability
of children to understand that symbols of language, and language
use is the ability to produce these symbols to communicate. As
with the other skills, these skills also increase with age.
One of the earliest indications
of children's ability to use quantitative skills is counting.
As well, children develop their own strategies for arithmetic
problems - such as counting on the fingers.
Problem Solving and Reasoning:
With respect to problem solving,
at first children usually only consider a problem from one perspective.
AS they grow and gain more ideas of the complex rules that govern
the world, they take into account more information than is present
in the immediate situation. Reasoning can be both deductive and
inductive. Deductive reasoning is used when one goes from general
information to specific information to arrive at an answer. It
has been proposed that reasoning that uses this chain-like way
of thinking is largely dependant on memory skills. Inductive reasoning
doe snot lead to one solution to a problem, but to solutions that
have different levels of possibly solving the problem. In this
sort if reasoning the person takes a specific situation and generates
many general solutions. It is thought that children as young as
three years old are able to use this form of inductive reasoning.
Adult Cognitive Functioning:
There exist two types of knowledge
- fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence
is the ability to perform mental tasks such as the manipulation
of abstract symbols - such as mathematics. Crystallized intelligence
is specific knowledge of the world that we have acquired throughout
our lives. Therefore, crystallized intelligence is often higher
for older people than younger, and fluid intelligence higher for
younger than older. In general, crystallized abilities increase
with age and fluid ones decrease.