Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Assimilating Information: Lost in Translation

In one of my early childhood music courses, we talked a great deal about Jean Piaget's (note this link is not to Wiki, since... it was not available today) idea of assimilation and accommodation. Though I had been tested on it twice before in Psych classes, the concept came to life when my teacher gave the following example: A toddler learns the word "truck." Soon everything on the road is a"truck." After his Mom notices, she says, "No, that's a car." The toddler takes a little while to figure out what the differences are, but eventually figures out the differences and can correctly identify at least cars and trucks.

This toddler's mind assimilated all moving road vehicles into trucks because he had made a nice box in his brain for vehicles and called it trucks. Humans learn by forcing new information into boxes they already have a hold on. When we realize there are discrepancies, we have to make new boxes (accommodation), and slowly learn to distinguish "cars" from "trucks."

Jackson is in the throws of this process. Like all humans he will be for the rest of his life, but it's so darn cute when you're a toddler. Most of it is funniest when he responds to verbal conversations or adult talk. It's so fun to feel like you know what's going on in a conversation.

-Me: "I don't think that's where it goes"
Jackson: Excited look, hearing a word he thinks he knows, "Heh!" pulls on his own hair

-Me: "I was worried since I parked so close to a firehydrant"
Jackson: "OOooo wooo wooo ooooo" (sound of firetruck)

-Mark: Says something to the effect of "wide eyed"
Jackson: Puts up his hand for an enthusiastic high five "aih iv!"

-Me: "Jackson, do you want some of this Chicken for dinner?"
Jackson: "Bawk Bawk"

-A little while later, he points to the bowl and says "Bawk Bawk" to indicate he would like more.

-Jackson points to the buttons on my shirt, I say "Yes, those are my buttons." Jackson then lifts up his shirt and points to his belly button.

And this would be Jackson ready to go out in the snow. I told him we had to put warm clothes on because the snow was so cold.

The following day when I mentioned his food was cold (not hot as he had thought), he looked at me and said "Noh!" (snow).

What a beautiful, enthusiastic window into the human brain. Love it!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post! How fun to record the cute mix-ups in a child's brain.


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