Jean Piaget Cognitive Development

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Cognitive development covers the development of a child’s thinking, and includes sensory development, concept formation, problem solving, memory and concentration, the development of creativity and imagination. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are two of the main psychologists whose work in this area has been the foundation of much research in cognitive psychology. A common understanding between the two rest on the idea that cognitive development in children occurs through stages, nonetheless, their recognition of these stages vary. Jean Piaget and his contributions to cognitive development was one of the major breakthroughs in psychology. He was progressively inspired by behaviourisms and started to research and examine the subject even further.…show more content…
The concrete operation stage starts at seven years old and continues until the child is about 11 years old. This third stage in Piaget’s theory and is sometimes referred to as middle childhood. According to Piaget (Gleitman and Gross, 2011, p.556) Children now ‘grasp the fact that changes in one aspect of a situation can be compensated for by changes in some other aspect’. Concrete operational thinking involves development of conservation skills, reversible mental actions, coordinating several characteristics of objects, classifying and interrelating things and greater flexibility in problem-solving. However, even though children begin thinking logically about concrete events, they have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts (Santrock, 2007). In this stage, the child not only uses symbols to represent the world, but can manipulate those symbols logically (Santrock, 2007). However, one of the main aspects that Piaget failed to include in his theory of cognitive development was that of social and cultural context. Not enough focus was placed on how a child’s social setting and interaction with others can influence the way that their mind works. In his theories, he emphasised how children develop mainly on their own without outside help from family members or peers. He paid little attention to the variation…show more content…
It is evident that both Piaget and Vygotsky acknowledge cognitive development in children as a process and view the child as an active learner. However, it is important that a distinguish is made between their different stages of development. Although Piaget seems to have adequately described general sequences of intellectual development, his tendency to infer underlying competencies from intellectual performances often led him to underestimate children’s cognitive capabilities. Some investigators have challenged Piaget’s assumption that development occurs in stages, whereas others have criticized his theory for failing to specify how children progress from one “stage” of intellect to the next, and for underestimating social and cultural influences on intellectual development. Vygotsky provided a valuable service by reminding us that cognitive growth is best understood when studied in the social and cultural contexts in which it occurs. Although this theory has fared well to date, it has yet to receive the intense scrutiny that Piaget’s theory has. (Shaffer & Kipp,
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