Theories in Cognitive Development

1262 Words6 Pages
A description and evaluation of cognitive developmental theories Unit 1: by Nazar Mahmood (group B) According to Schacter (2009) cognitive development is the changing process of thought, learning and perception as a child develops from infancy to adulthood. Two notable psychologists, Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) hypothesised cognitive development theories to explain how this happens. Piaget (1956) suggested that children’s cognition passes through four major stages that are both invariant and universal - that the stages are always in the same order and children never skip a stage, regardless of the country or culture, which contrasts an alternative approach by Vygotsky’s seminal theory that stresses the importance of culture, in teaching children both how to think and what to think. However, the theories of both psychologists have strengths and limitations. The underlying concepts of Piaget’s theory are as follows. According to Piaget when a child meets new objects or ideas, they will try to include them into their existing schemas, a collection of information, experience, ideas and memories about an object or situation (Piaget, 1952).If they are able to do this without the schema changing, it is known as assimilation. If any modification of the schema is required to deal with the new object or idea, it is known as accommodation. If the child cannot assimilate nor accommodate the new object or idea, they will be in a state of mental disequilibrium. This motivates a change in their existing schema or to make a new one until a state of equilibrium is reached. Piaget’s believed that children must progress through four invariant and universal stages of cognitive development, that are always in the same order and a stage cannot be skipped as each successive stage builds on the previous stage. Piaget believed the stages apply to all
Open Document