The Thinker Mental Development in Childhood

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  • Is a baby actually learning something when he knocks down a stack of blocks? What happens in a toddler's mind when she "feeds" her teddy bear? Why does it take just as much work to bake an imaginary cake as a real one? This program explores the process through which young children begin to reason, plan, and solve both concrete and abstract problems. Emphasizing that babies are driven to make sense of the world in the same way that they are driven to walk and talk, the video shows how this urgent need to learn is fulfilled through play, which relies on both action and observation. Basic discussions of memory and cerebral cortex development are included.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on Aug. 26, 2010.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.


  • Brain Transformation in Babies (2:53) -- Mental Skills of Babies (5:30) -- Problem-Solving in Toddlers (4:39) -- Constituent Parts and Spatial Relationships (2:08) -- Classification Skills (1:44) -- Creative Thinking Skills in Toddlers (3:36) -- Childhood Pretending (2:50) -- Credits: The Thinker: Mental Development in Childhood (0:35)
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