Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who regarded cognitive development as a maturational process (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2010). Piaget constructed his conclusions through the observation of his own children and children at his Centre of Genetic Epistemology in Geneva. Piaget observed that children depend on an altered type of thinking when compared to the way in which adults think. A child’s thinking is qualitatively different than an adult’s thinking. Through his study, Piaget found that children of a similar age are inclined to behave in a similar manner and make similar mistakes when problem-solving.
Piaget Theory Overview- Piaget’s theory of cognitive development in children focuses on the stages and processes that demonstrate growth and eventually lead to adult reasoning. This theory implies that children will progress through the stages of cognitive development in the same particular order, however there will be differences in the rate each child progresses based on the environment and biological differences. Piaget described each stage with developmental norms with named processes (McLeod, 2015). Aspect of Lifespan Development (Module Focus)- Cognitive and Language Development Theory Components – Stages of Cognitive Development • Sensorimotor • Preoperational • Concrete operational • Formal operational Adaptation Processes
One of Piaget’s key views was stages of cognitive development, he divided cognitive development into separate stages as follows: sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage. It was hypothesized
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a theory based on the thinking process from birth to maturity. Piaget divided his theory in four stages. (Woolfolk, 2016). The first stage is the sensorimotor. This stage is from birth to 2 years.
Brief History Jean Piaget was a Twentieth century Swiss psychologist and was the first psychologist to systematically study the cognitive development of children. Thomas (2005) wrote that early in Piaget’s career he worked with children and his observations and interactions with the students led him to the theory that a young person's cognitive processes are inherently different from those of adults (pp. 188-9). According to Ahmad, et al. (2005), Piaget showed that when compared to adults, young children think in differently and he then came to the conclusion that cognitive development was an ongoing process which occurred due to maturation and interaction with the environment (p. 72).
It is impressive that most of his research is based on observation and studying of his own children. Cognitive development stages are the central part of Piaget’s theory, which demonstrate the development stages of children’s ability to think from infancy to adolescence, how to gain knowledge, self-awareness, awareness of the others and the environment. These stages are respectively relative to 4 ranges of age. It consists of characteristics of each stage and phenomena of each. The first stage between birth to 2 years old, children learn the external through senses and action, instinctively.
Many researchers in their own opinion agreed that many children abilities overlap. (………………………………….). Consequently, Piaget rigid age-related stages thereby make Piaget’s hypothesis inaccurate. Furthermore, in a study conducted by (Kuhn et al., 1977) suggested that only 30-35% of high school student could achieve Piaget’s (formal operations stage of cognitive development. This implies that Piaget’s idea of one cap fit all was inaccurate, therefore he was criticised for not considering and focusing on individual’s child, because children are individual they achieve intellectual ability at different stages in life.
Piaget identifies four important stages of cognitive development where the latter stages are more complex but are able to form more precise concepts and categorizations. This prinicple may work well for those individuals considered healthy and have the ability to develop at a normal rate according to the thoery. However, chronological theories are not efficient means to determine concepts and catergorisations. It suggests that everyone understand the principles of concepts and categories during the same age, which is not always the case (Galotti, 2008). All individuals learn, understand and think on different levels based on factors such as experience and genetic attributes (Olson, 2013).
Jean Piaget used observations of his own children to develop the four stages that we know he created today. Piaget developed a stage theory of intellectual development that included four distinct stages: the sensorimotor stage, from birth to age 2; the preoperational stage, from age 2 to about age 7; the concrete operational stage, from age 7 to 11; and the formal operational stage, which begins in adolescence and spans into adulthood. He believed that there were four necessary ingredients for cognitive development which included: “maturation of the nervous system, experiences gained through interaction with physical world, social environment, and child’s active participation in adapting to environment & constructing knowledge from experience.” (Sullivan, 2014, Slide 3) The sensorimotor stage occurs between birth and age 2. Infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and handling objects. This is the stage of object permanence.
Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, two of the most recognised and renowned cognitive psychologists in the world, established theories that focused on the cognitive development of children and adolescents. While similarities do exist between these psychologists’ theories, variances between their ideas are very evident. This essay will compare and contrast Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development with Lev Vygotsky’s Socio-Cultural Theory of Cognitive Development. This essay will discuss these theories with regards to the sequence in which children’s cognitive development plays out, how cognitive development is driven, and language. This essay will also discuss how nature and nurture are related to these theories.