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Essay: Cognitive development – Piaget, Vygotsky, and Information processing

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  • Subject area(s): Psychology essays
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  • Published: October 3, 2015*
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  • Cognitive development - Piaget, Vygotsky, and Information processing
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There are many theories that involve cognitive development. Although these theories are on the same subject, they vary depending on different factors. By carefully studying the textbook and watching the videos, we can make some conclusions on how different and similar these theories on cognitive development are. The three theories that we will be comparing and contrasting are: Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s, and Information processing.
Piaget believed that, ‘children at all ages are like scientists in that they create theories about how the world works,’ (Kail, 2013, p.124). He believed that human’s learn for themselves. Piaget created four distinct stages that expand over the course of infancy to adulthood. These four stages are: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Each stage serves a different purpose in cognitive development. He believed that children develop through the different stages depending on their own personal experiences.
Although Piaget believed that children learn alone, Vygotsky proposed that, ‘development is an apprenticeship in which children advance when they collaborate with others who are more skilled,’ (Kail, 2013, p.144). In other words, Piaget believed that children are scientists, whereas Vygotsky believed that they are apprentice. ‘The area between the level of independent performance and the level of assisted performance is the zone of proximal development,’ (Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction). He believed that we must assist children in their learning so that they can learn effectively. Based on the previous readings of this textbook, a conclusion can be drawn that Piaget took a nature approach whereas Vygotsky had a nurture approach. Both theorists would agree that learning can lead development, and that language plays a central role in mental development, (Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction).
Information processing has some similarities as well as differences than that of Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories. Information processing is broken up by mental hardware and mental software (Kail, 2013, p. 137). Both Piaget and information processing theorists believe that children learn on their own. Likewise, all three theories support that as children develop, their understanding becomes more complex. A difference between these theories is that Piaget theory suggests four stages, however, information processing and Vygotsky’s theory do not.
If we compare and contrast these three theories, we grasp a deeper understanding of what these theories mean. We discovered that Piaget’s theory and information processing is more nature based, and Vygotsky’s theory is more nurture based. Piaget’s theory is based on different stages, meanwhile information processing and Vygotsky’s theory is not. By reading the book and watching the supporting videos, we can uncover more about cognitive development.

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