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Psy 600 - Field Research

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Field Research

Sharesa Gulley


August 27, 2018

Dr. Adam Castleberry

Field Research

        Swiss theorist Jean Piaget formulated a theory, which suggests that a child’s cognitive development is heavily influenced by how they experience the world (Berk, 2014, Chapter 5).  A child will progress through the four stages of Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory more quickly depending upon how much the child explores and experiences his or her world.  There are companies that develop instructional programs that promise to accelerate cognitive development in children, causing parents to jump at the hope of rearing young ‘prodigies’.  This paper examines the legitimacy of one of these programs, the ABCmouse Early Learning Academy. We will discuss whether the program is effective in the cognitive development of children and why.  Furthermore, we will specify the tools needed to promote healthy cognitive development.  Finally, we will discuss how the APA Code of Ethics plays a role in the endorsement of products that are not effective.

ABCmouse Early Learning Academy

        Age of Learning, Inc. developed ABCmouse in 2007. The program, available online via computers, tablets, and smartphones is designed to develop and advance cognitive skills in children from age two through eight.  ABCmouse offers over 9,000 learning activities and more than 850 lessons in various subjects, which include “reading, language arts, math, science, health, social studies, art, and music.” (ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy).  According to the Age of Learning, Inc. website, ABCmouse has won numerous awards, including the Mom’s Choice Award, which is appraised by educational value, production quality, and price as well other factors.  The video presented on ABCmouse’s website claims that their product is “the most comprehensive early learning program on earth.” (Age of Learning, Inc., 2018, Real Results).  The image below shows the child development and early learning framework on which the program’s curriculum is based upon.

[pic 1]

(Age of Learning, Inc., 2018)

Healthy Cognitive Development

According to Ramey and Ramey (2004), there are seven types of experiences that are essential to developing proper cognitive skills: exploration, mentoring in basic skills, celebration of developmental advances, practicing new skills, protection from inappropriate punishment, good communication, and behavioral management (Essential Experiences in the Early Learning Years).  It is imperative that children have positive and constructive interactions with their parents, particularly in their early years.  Research shows that learning to read is vital to successful outcomes in school. Ramsey and Ramsey (2004) suggests that when children receive education in pre-literacy skills, they are better prepared for formal learning environments.

The California Department of Education (n.d.) states that the foundations of cognitive development is are cause and effect, spatial relationships, problem solving, imitation, memory, number sense, classification, symbolic play, attention maintenance, and understanding personal routines (Foundations).

        Cause and Effect

Cause and effect helps infants and children understand and acknowledge the impact of their behaviors. For example, when a child pushes a button with a cat on it, he or she hears a meow sound. The child learns that every time that button is pushed, it results in the meow sound.

Spatial Relationships

Spatial relationships are about how things move and fit into spaces. They help children maneuver through their environment.  For example, a child is on a playground and there is a ladder preceding a slide; in order to climb the ladder, the child needs to figure out the spatial relationship of the space between each step of the ladder. Understanding this relationship will help to child climb the ladder successfully.  Spatial relationships are learned through trial and error.

Problem Solving

According to The California Department of Education (n.d.), " Infants and toddlers solve problems by varied means, including physically acting on objects, using learning schemes they have developed, imitating solutions found by others, using objects or other people as tools, and using trial and error.” (Problem Solving). For example, an infant may have to reach for a toy several times before he or she gains the proper amount of leverage to successfully grab the toy. An older child may simply just ask for help.


Imitation aids in learning and the development of communication skills. Imitation is occurs when something is perceived and then repeated. For example, it is a common occurrence for parents to teach an infant how to say their names.  The parents say ma-ma or da-da and the infant imitates the sounds he or she hears to form and repeat the words.


According to The California Department of Education (n.d.), Memory “allows infants and toddlers to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar people and objects, anticipate and participate in parts of personal care routines, learn language, and come to know the rules of social interaction” (Memory). In school, memory can help with activities such as reading comprehension

                Number Sense

According to the California Board of Education (n.d.), “Between 18 and 24 months of age, children use relational words to indicate “more” or “same” as well as number words [and] begin to count aloud (Number Sense).


Classification is a term used to reference an infant’s ability to group, sort, categorize, connect and have expectations of people in accordance with their attributes (The California Department of Education, n.d.). Classification plays a crucial role in problem solving as well as symbolic play.



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