The Function of Social Partners (E.G., Parents, Friends, Peers) in Children’s Social and Cognitive Development.

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Critically discuss the function of social partners (e.g., parents, friends, peers) in children’s social and cognitive development. The relationship between children’s social and cognitive development and the social context has been a subject of observation and exploration for decades (e. g. Piaget, 1959; Vygotsky, 1978). A review and evaluation of central theories and their relevance to contemporary developmental psychology will be delineated. Focus is given to Piaget’s view on cognition development as an intrapersonal process. Furthermore, Vygotsky’s socioeconomic model is discussed, with emphasis on the role of language and the cognitive influence of parent-child tutoring interactions and more specifically scaffolding tutoring. Similarities and differences between the two central concepts are also a subject of discussion. Finally, some evidence for the impact of peer-to-peer relationships in toddlers is presented. Based on the existing literature the thesis of this essay is that intra and interpersonal processes are both influential when it comes to forming children’s social and cognitive skills. One of the fundamental theories in the field of social and cognitive development is that of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980). After years of observation he theorised that much like ‘little scientists’, children acquire knowledge through reflexive and empirical abstraction – observation of the environment and their own interaction with it. He suggests that cognitive development is an intrapersonal process, which occurs within the individual – a child’s mind is viewed as a ‘blank page’, and every experience and interaction with the outside world is interpreted by it to form cognitive schemas (Piaget, 1959). Piaget focused on cognitive development as an outcome of intrapersonal processes, child building its own ideas about the world through their own
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