Comparing Piaget's Theory Of Cognitive Development

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This essay will compare and contrast two theorist; Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky from the field of developmental psychology focusing on the area of cognitive development. Cognitive development simply means the change in intellectual/mental abilities such as thinking, reasoning and understanding (California Department of Education, 2015).
Jean Piaget based his theory of cognitive development on observations of children from infancy to adolescents of which he did on his three children. According to Piaget, children are born with certain abilities and potentials; a set of perceptual capacities, reflexes and the ability to learn language. The child’s development is a process that develops over a period of time due to internal (bio-maturation) and
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He identified four main stages of cognitive development in a child, sensory motor stage (age 0-2) a child can perceive and manipulate but they cannot reason i.e. blanket and ball experiment; pre-operational stage (age 2-7) the child’s language and symbolic thought becomes apparent and they are considered to be egocentric i.e. experiment of the three mountains; concrete operational stage (age 7-11) the child develops ability to group, classify, and categorise i.e. conservation of numbers experiment; and formal operational stage (age 11+) the child is able to think abstractly and reason hypothetically and systematically i.e. Pendulum task (McLeod, 2009). At each stage, there is a qualitatively difference in the child’s thinking and understanding of the world, which is very different to that of an adult. Therefore, a child should only be asked to do a task when they have a full understanding of the concept involved. Piaget believed that a child passes through this four stages in the same order and no stage can be skipped. However, different children will pass through these stages at different rates; perform tasks associated with different stages at one stage, which is bound to take place at points of transition into a new stage. Vygotsky proposed the term zone proximal development (ZPD), which is used to …show more content…
According to Vygotsky, Piaget underestimated the abilities of children because his experiments were either too difficult or confusing for a child to comprehend. His concept of schemas were not compactable with the theories of Vygotsky. However, Vygotsky theories did not provide any speculations or specific research tools that Piaget’s test and experiments provided. In light of Piaget’s theory, he provided the gateway of research on understanding the cognitive development in a child, from which Vygotsky used as a pathway to develop his own theory (Hetherington, P et al, 2003). Piaget’s work is now used in communicating and understanding children, especially in the fields of

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