Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory Of Cognitive Development

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Developmental psychology relates to the changes in behaviour and abilities that transpire over time as development advances. (Harwood & Miller, 2008). Infancy and childhood is a time of rapid development of social, sensory and cognitive abilities. Infants acquire perceptual and motor skills which allow them to comprehend the world they live in. Cognitive development is “the growth of cognitive abilities and capacities from birth to old age” (Colman, 2008). In this essay I will address Piagetian Theory, the cognitive performance of children from age seven to eleven, (the concrete operational period), and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development. This essay will begin by analysing Piagetian Theory. Cognitive development cannot…show more content…
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. According to Piaget, as children develop they acquire cognitive structures known as schemata and concepts. Schemata are mental representations / rules to help children understand their world and solve problems. Concepts are rules that describe properties of environmental events and their relations to other concepts (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). Children obtain schemata and concepts by engaging with their surroundings. The…show more content…
Conversely, Vygotsky disputed that the culture in which a person lives also plays a substantial part in cognitive development. Vygotsky believed that a child’s cognitive development was stimulated by the interaction of the child and its social environment (Vygotsky, 1987). Vygotsky also believed that children’s use of speech also influenced their cognitive abilities (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2010). Vygotsky stated that language was the basis for cognitive development, including the ability to remember, solve problems, make decisions and formulate plans (Martin, Carlson & Buskist, 2010). Studies have shown that children who use speech when met with difficult tasks are more focussed and show better improvement in cognitive performance then those who are less talkative (Behrend et al., 1992). While Piaget argued for a purely maturational outlook on children’s cognitive development, Vygotsky assigned superior significance of sociocultural influences such as interactions with other people and language (Martin, Carlson & Buskist,

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