Theoretical Perspectives Essay

2054 Words Apr 2nd, 2012 9 Pages
A Comparison of Theoretical Perspectives
Heather L. Justice
Psychology 104
Lisa Linkin
May 6, 2009

A Comparison of Theoretical Perspectives
Developmental psychology is the study of human development and the changes that take place from conception on. Through the study of human development, scientists are able to uncover patterns of development in which they make hypothesis and theories from. In their observations, developmental scientists have offered many theories that explain the growth of a child’s body, mind and personality. There are five major psychological theories which are the psychoanalytic, learning, cognitive, contextual and evolutionary / sociobiological perspectives. These perspectives guide scientist down a path
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The cognitive perspective looks at the development of thought processes in children and encompasses Piaget’s cognitive-stage theory and Neo-Piagetian theories, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and the information-processing approach. Cognitive theories combine both organismic and mechanistical concepts. For example, researchers like Jean Paiget viewed development organismically, though he proposed stages of cognitive development.
In Paiget’s cognitive stage theory he suggests that children organize information into schemes which “are organized patterns of behavior that a person uses to think about and act in a situation” (Papalia et al., 2008, p.34). Further, Paiget suggests the addition of new information is handled through adaptation which incorporates assimilation and accommodation. Lastly equilibration is the cognitive process children use when they are unable to handle a new situation and involves utilizing the first two stages to achieve equilibrium. Paiget’s concept focuses on the use of brain only as the impetus of development leaving out important factors such as social and cultural influences.
The sociocultural theory highlights what children think about in relation to their social interactions within their culture and environment. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist suggested that cognitive growth in children occurs primarily through social interactions between adults and children. Adult support,

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