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Middle Childhood: Physical and Cognitive Development


CHAPTER 9 Middle Childhood: Physical and Cognitive Development Figure 9.1: Growth Curves for Height and Weight. Gains in height and weight are fairly steady during ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Middle Childhood: Physical and Cognitive Development

  • Middle Childhood Physical and Cognitive

Growth Patterns
Growth Patterns
  • Middle childhood growth
  • Defined from ages 6 to 12
  • Childs body weight doubles
  • Middle childhood nutrition
  • 4- to 6-year-olds need 1,400 to 1,800 calories
    per day
  • Healthful to eat fruits, vegetables, fish,
    poultry, and whole grains
  • Limit intake of fats, sugar, and starches

Fig. 9-1, p. 178
Gender Similarities and Differences in Physical
  • Boys
  • Slightly heavier and taller than girls through
    the age of 9 or 10
  • Develop more muscle
  • Spurt and grow taller and heavier than girls
    after about 13 or 14
  • Girls
  • Have adolescent growth spurt and surpass boys in
    height and weight until about 13 or 14
  • Develop more fat

Overweight in Children
  • Between 16 and 25 of children and adolescents
    in the United States are overweight or obese.
  • Most overweight children become overweight
  • Overweight children rejected by peers, poor at
    sports, and less likely to be seen as attractive
    in adolescence
  • At greater risk of health problems throughout life

Fig. 9-2, p. 179
Causes of Being Overweight
  • Heredity contributes to being overweight.
  • Overweight parents may have poor exercise habits,
    encourage overeating, and keep unhealthful food
    in the home.
  • Children who watch TV extensively burn fewer
    calories and are more likely to be overweight

Motor Development
Gross Motor Skills
  • Age 6 or 7, children
  • hop, jump, climb, pedal, and balance bicycle
  • Age 8 to 10, children
  • develop balance, coordination, and strength,
    which allows them to engage in gymnastics and
    team sports
  • Myelination
  • Neural pathways that connect the cerebellum to
    the cortex are more myelinated
  • Reaction time
  • Improves (decreases) from early childhood to
    about age 18, but there are individual differences

Fine Motor Skills
  • At 6 to 7 years, children can tie shoelaces and
    hold pencils like adults do.
  • At 6 to 7 years, children can fasten buttons, zip
    zippers, brush teeth, wash themselves, coordinate
    a knife and fork, and use chopsticks.
  • Fine motor skills improve throughout childhood.

Gender Differences
  • Boys
  • More forearm strength, which is good for swinging
    a bat or throwing a ball
  • At puberty, sex differences favoring boys
  • Girls
  • Greater limb coordination and overall flexibility
    aiding them in dancing, gymnastics, and balancing
  • Between middle childhood and adolescence
  • Physical activities become increasingly
    stereotyped by children as being masculine or

Exercise and Fitness
  • Physically active adolescents have better
    self-image and coping skills than those who are
  • Cardiac and muscular fitness is developed by
    participating in running, walking quickly,
    swimming laps, bicycling, or jumping rope for
    several minutes at a time.
  • Schools and parents tend to focus on sports such
    as baseball and football, which are less apt to
    promote fitness.

Children with Disabilities
Children with Disabilities
  • Children with disabilities identified during
    middle childhood years when child enters school
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Child shows excessive inattention, impulsivity,
    and hyperactivity
  • The degree of hyperactivity is crucial
  • Typically occurs by age 7
  • Impairs ability to function at school
  • Sometimes overdiagnosed to encourage better
    behavior at school

Causes of ADHD
  • Genetic component to ADHD involving the brain
    chemical dopamine
  • Brain imaging has shown differences in the brain
    chemistry of children with ADHD.
  • ADHD may be due to lack of executive control of
    the brain over motor and more primitive
  • Stimulants are effective with ADHD because they
    promote the activity of the brain chemicals
    dopamine and noradrenaline, stimulating the
    executive center of the brain to control more
    primitive areas of the brain.

Learning Disabilities
  • Some children who are intelligent and provided
    with enriched home environments cannot learn how
    to read (dyslexia) or do simple math problems.
  • Children are diagnosed with a learning disability
    when performing below the level expected for
    their age and intelligence, and when there is no
    evidence of other handicaps such as vision or
    hearing problems, retardation, or socioeconomic
  • The younger the child when remediation occurs,
    the better the chances of compensating for the

Origins of Dyslexia
  • Dyslexic individuals
  • Sensory and neurological problems may contribute
    to reading problems.
  • Genetic factors may give rise to neurological
    problems or circulation problems in the left
    hemisphere of the brain.
  • Problems in the angular gyrus may give rise to
    reading problems.
  • Dyslexic statistics
  • 25 to 65 of children who have one dyslexic
    parent are dyslexic themselves.
  • About 40 of the siblings of children with
    dyslexia are dyslexic.

Fig. 9-3, p. 167
Educating Children with Disabilities
  • Treatment for dyslexia focuses on remediation.
  • Given highly structured exercises to help them
    become aware of how to blend sounds to form words
  • Evidence is mixed on whether placing disabled
    children in separate classes can also stigmatize
    them and segregate them from other children.
  • Mainstreaming disabled children are placed in
    regular classrooms that have been adapted to
    their needs

Cognitive Development
Cognitive Development
  • Children make enormous strides in their cognitive
    development during middle childhood as their
    thought processes and language become more
    logical and complex.

Piaget The Concrete-Operational Stage
  • Child enters concrete-operational stage around
    age 7
  • Concrete-operational thought is reversible and
  • Children can reverse mathematical operations
    (e.g., 2 3 5 can be reversed to 5 3 2)
  • Children less egocentric and are able to engage
    in decentration (focus on multiple parts of a
    problem at once)
  • At age 7, children understand law of conservation

Piaget The Concrete-Operational Stage (contd)
  • Transitivity
  • If A exceeds B in some property and B exceeds C,
    then A must also exceed C
  • Seriation
  • Ability to place objects in a series by age,
    height, weight
  • Children can seriate two dimensions at once

Fig. 9-4, p. 185
Piaget The Concrete-Operational Stage (contd)
  • Class inclusion
  • Focusing on two subclasses and larger subclass at
    the same time
  • Concrete-operational children understand class
  • Piagets theory applied to education
  • Learning involves active discovery.
  • Instruction should be geared to the childs level
    of development.
  • Learning to take into account the perspectives of
    others to develop cognition and morality

Moral Development The Child as Judge
Moral Development The Child as a Judge
  • On a cognitive level, moral development concerns
    the basis on which children make judgments that
    an act is right or wrong.
  • May be influenced by the values of the cultural
    settings in which they are reared, but also
    reflect the orderly unfolding of cognitive
  • Moral reasoning is related to the childs overall
    cognitive development.

Piagets Theory of Moral Development
  • Piaget believed childrens moral judgments
    develop in two overlapping stages moral realism
    and autonomous morality.
  • Moral realism
  • Behavior is considered to be correct when it
    conforms to authority or to the rules of the game
  • Immanent justice or automatic retribution
  • Thinking that negative experiences are punishment
    for prior misdeeds, even when realistic causal
    links are absent
  • Ages 9 to 11, children show autonomous morality
  • Moral judgments become self-governed

Kohlbergs Theory of Moral Development
  • Preconventional level
  • Children base moral judgments on the consequences
    of their behavior
  • Stage 1 toward being obedient and punishment
  • Stage 2 good behavior allows people to satisfy
    their own needs and the needs of others
  • Conventional level
  • Right and wrong are judged by conformity to
    conventional standards of right and wrong
  • Stage 3 focuses on being a good boy or girl in
    order to meet the needs and expectations of
  • Stage 4 focuses on moral judgments met to keep
    social order
  • Stages 3 and 4 emerge during middle childhood

Kohlbergs Theory of Moral Development (contd)
  • Postconventional level
  • Moral reasoning is based on persons own moral
  • Adolescents and adults participate in moral
    reasoning at this level

Information Processing Learning, Remembering,
Problem Solving
Information Processing Learning, Remembering,
Problem Solving
  • Development of selective attention
  • Development of the capacity of memory and of
    childrens understanding of the processes of
  • Development of the ability to solve problems as,
    for example, by finding the correct formula and
    applying it

Development of Selective Attention
  • Ability to focus ones attention and screen out
    distractions advances steadily
  • Preoperational children
  • Engaged in problem solving
  • Tend to focus their attention on one element of
    the problem at a time
  • Major reason they lack conservation
  • Concrete-operational children
  • Attend to multiple aspects of the problem at once
  • Permits them to conserve number and volume

Developments in The Storage and Retrieval of
  • Sensory memory
  • Visual impression of an object lasting for a
    fraction of a second

Working Memory (Short-Term Memory)
  • Focus on a stimulus in the sensory register
  • Tends to be retained in working memory for up to
    30 seconds after the trace of the stimulus decays
  • Memory function in middle childhood
  • Similar to adult-like organization and strategies
  • Quantitative improvement through adolescence
  • Auditory stimuli can be maintained longer in
    short-term memory than can visual stimuli
  • Promoting memory
  • Encode visual stimuli as sounds
  • Rehearsing sounds that can be repeated out loud
    or mentally

Fig. 9-6, p. 190
Long-Term Memory
  • Vast storehouse of information containing names,
    dates, places
  • May last days, years, or a lifetime
  • No known limit to the amount of information that
    can be stored in long-term memory
  • Older children more likely than younger children
    to use rote rehearsal, or repetition, to remember
  • Elaborative strategy
  • Relating new material to known material

Organization in Long-Term Memory
  • Knowledge of concepts advances
  • Storehouse of long-term memory becomes organized
    according to categories
  • Preschoolers tend to organize their memories by
    grouping objects that share the same function.
  • Children are more likely to recall accurate
  • Knowledge in a particular area increases the
    capacity to store and retrieve related

Development of Recall Memory
  • Memory ability good indicator of childs
    cognitive ability
  • 4th graders more likely to categorize and recall
    pictures than 2nd graders

Development of Metacognition and Metamemory
  • Metacognition
  • Childrens knowledge and control of their
    cognitive abilities
  • Shown by ability to formulate problems, awareness
    of the processes required to solve a problem,
    activation of cognitive strategies, maintaining
    focus on the problem, and checking answers
  • Metamemory
  • Aspect of metacognition that refers to childrens
    awareness of the functioning of their memory
  • Store and retrieve information more effectively
  • Show more knowledge of strategies that can be
    used to facilitate memory

Intellectual Development, Creativity, and
Intellectual Development, Creativity, and
  • Intelligence
  • Childs underlying competence or learning ability
  • Achievement
  • Childs acquired competencies or performance
  • Competencies underlying intelligence manifest
    themselves during middle childhood when children
    are exposed to formal schooling.

Theories of Intelligence
  • Spearman
  • Intelligence has a common underlying factor, g
    (general intelligence), which represents broad
    reasoning and problem-solving abilities.
  • Thurstone
  • Intelligence consists of several specific factors
    or primary mental abilities, such as the ability
    to learn the meaning of words and visual-spatial

Theories of Intelligence (contd)
  • Sternberg
  • Constructed a three-part, or triarchic, theory
    of intelligence
  • Part 1 analytical intelligence
  • Academic ability
  • Part 2 creative intelligence
  • Ability to cope with novel situations and to
    profit from experience
  • Part 3 practical intelligence
  • Adapt to the demands of their environment,
    including the social environment

Fig. 9-8, p. 193
Theories of Intelligence (contd)
  • Gardner
  • Believed intelligence reflects more than academic
  • Theory based on multiple intelligences
  • Multiple intelligences can include verbal
    ability, logical-mathematical reasoning, spatial
    intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic, musical,
    interpersonal, and personal knowledge.

Fig. 9-9, p. 194
Measurement of Intellectual Development
  • Binet-Simon scale
  • Yields a score called a mental age (MA)
  • MA shows the intellectual level at which a child
    is functioning
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
  • Yields an intelligence quotient, or IQ
  • IQ states the relationship between a childs
    mental age and his/her actual or chronological
    age (CA)
  • IQ equals MA divided by CA times 100
  • IQ today is compared to those performances of
    other people of the same age

Table 9-2, p. 195
Measurement of Intellectual Development (contd)
  • Wechsler scales
  • Developed for use with school-aged children
    (WISC), younger children (WPPSI), and adults
  • Groups test questions in subtests that measure
    different intellectual tasks
  • Suggests childrens strengths and weakness as
    well as provide overall measures of intellectual

The Testing Controversy
  • Cultural bias
  • Scoring well on intelligence test requires a
    certain type of cultural experience
  • Culture-free
  • Evaluates reasoning ability through the childs
    comprehension of the rules that govern a
    progression of geometric designs
  • Middle-class children still outperform
    lower-class children
  • Tests do not predict academic success as well as
    other tests

Fig. 9-12, p. 198
Patterns of Intellectual Development
  • School may help crystallize intellectual
    functioning around age 6.
  • Middle childhood
  • Undergo more stable patterns of gains in
    intellectual functioning
  • Intelligence tests gain greater predictive power
  • Individual differences still exist
  • Changes in the home, socioeconomic circumstances,
    and education influence changes in IQ scores.

Intellectual Disability
  • Mental retardation (MR)
  • Disability characterized by significant
    limitations both in intellectual functioning and
    in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual,
    social, and practical adaptive skills
  • Involves IQ score of no more than 70 to 75
  • Down syndrome children
  • More likely to be moderately retarded
  • Can learn to speak, dress, feed, clean
    themselves, and eventually engage in useful work
  • Cultural-familial retardation
  • Biologically normal children that do not develop
    normally due to impoverished home environment

  • Involves more than excellence on the tasks
    provided by standard intelligence tests
  • Educators criteria for intelligence
  • Outstanding abilities
  • Capable of high performance in a specific
    academic area, such as language or mathematics
  • Show creativity, leadership, distinction in the
    visual or performing arts, or bodily talents, as
    in gymnastics and dancing

Socioeconomic and Ethnic Differences in IQ
  • Lower-class African-American children obtain IQ
    scores between 10 and 15 points lower than those
    obtained by middle- and upper-class children.
  • African-American, Latino- and Latina-American,
    and Native-American children all tend to score
    below the norms for European Americans.
  • Youths of Asian descent frequently outscore
    youths of European backgrounds on achievement
    tests in math and science, including the math
    portion of the SAT.

Creativity and Intellectual Development
  • Creativity
  • Ability to do things that are novel and useful
  • Creative children and adults solve problems where
    there is no tried and true solution.
  • Take chances and appreciate art and music
  • Challenge social norms
  • Moderate relationship between IQ score and
  • Convergent thinking
  • Process children use to answer questions on an IQ
  • Divergent thinking
  • Child associates freely to the elements of the
    problem more creative

Determinants of Intellectual Development
  • MZ twins have a high concordance rate on IQ
    scores (0.85)
  • MZ twins reared apart still show 0.67
  • Correlation between children and natural parents
    vary from about 0.40 to 0.59
  • Heritability between 40 and 60
  • Stronger correlation of adoptive parents and
    adopted children when IQ of adoptive parents was
    similar to IQ of natural parents
  • Environmental stimulation increases IQ whether
    child is adopted, biological, or low SES.

Language Development and Literacy
Vocabulary and Grammar
  • By age 6, vocabulary at 10,000 words
  • Semantic sophistication by 7 to 9 years old
  • Subtle advances made in articulation during
    middle childhood
  • Children use connectives (conjunctions) and can
    form indirect object-direct object constructions

Methods of Teaching Reading
  • Word-recognition method
  • Associates visual stimuli with the sound
    combinations that produce spoken words
  • Phonetic method
  • Children first learn to associate written letters
    and letter combinations with the sounds they
  • Helps with decoding
  • Sight vocabulary
  • Recognizing useful words such as ones name, and
    such signs as danger, stop, and poison

Bilingualism Linguistic Perspectives on the World
  • Approximately 50 million of Americans speak a
    different language than English at home.
  • Bilingual children not cognitively delayed
  • Half of Spanish-speaking children at home are
    proficient in both languages
  • Bilingualism contributes to the complexity of the
    childs cognitive processes.
  • Bilingual children understand symbols used in
    language are arbitrary
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