How Do The Childhood Years Affect Us Later In Life?

859 words - 3 pages

How do the childhood years affect us later in life?As infants grow into children, and children to teens, and teens to adults, they are changing in other ways besides their physical appearances. As an adult looking back, I can remember how the friends and environment that I was raised in has developed certain aspects of my behavior today. Baron states, "Evidence indicates that [infants] can be classically conditioned, but primarily with respect to stimuli" (294). This suggests that throughout our early childhood we are being conditioned to the environment that we are growing up in and therefore affecting our behavior later in life.The childhood years are the stages of several types of development. Baron defines childhood as, "the years between birth and adolescence" (286). It is during this time that our cognitive development is in high gear to begin understanding the world around us. Infants begin to mock the facial reactions of their parents and start to understand the difference between happy, sad, angst, and overall emotion. These changes do not happen instantly, rather they occur in stages. Jean Piaget came up with the stage theory, "a type of theory suggesting that all human beings move through an orderly and predictable series of changes" (Baron 298-299). Meaning that the development begins and rather than being similar to a linear math function and constantly increasing, it reaches a stage, remains there for a bit, and then eventually takes another step, like walking up a flight of stairs and pausing on each step.Cognitive development and understanding works is similar to the file storage of a computer database. As a child grows, new information is assimilated and added to the database and referenced to current knowledge. If the new information is recognizably different, then it is formed into a new category rather than piled in with other information, or different schema. Baron illustrates this example by comparing cats and squirrels. A child will learn that a cat is a small four legged, furry creature with a tail, but when they see a squirrel for the first time, they will see another small four legged, furry creature with a tail. As they observe and take in the new information about the squirrel they will begin to notice different characteristics and realize that a squirrel is not a cat, so the squirrel moves from the general category of a small furry animal into its own schema (Baron 299).As the stages of cognitive development continue, children eventually reach what Piaget calls the preoperational stage. During this stage a child's actions have grown and they are capable of symbolic play, or in...

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