Compare and Contrast Piaget’S Staged Cognitive Development Theory of Child Development with Any One Other Theory

Compare and contrast Piaget’s Staged Cognitive Development Theory of child development with any one other theory

Cognition refers to processes occurring in the brain. Humans develop abilities to perform complex cognitive processes such as; thinking, problem solving and the ability to interpret symbols. There has been much debate as to what stages in a child’s life he/she becomes capable of such processes. Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980), with his Staged Development Theory of Child Development, had a huge influence on our understanding. He suggested that children went through a series of stages from birth, namely; the sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage and finally, the formal operational stage. As a constructivist, Piaget believed that a child’s understanding is determined by both its innate capacities and information provided in its environment. Although he presents a strong argument, Piaget’s theories have been criticised and other key psychologists have their own theories about child development. One such psychologist is Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) who emphasised the importance of culture and society in a child’s development. This essay will put forward the arguments and studies of both psychologists to compare and contrast their theories.
Piaget used the phrase maturation to describe the physical growth that is genetically determined. He was also interested in the way a child develops mentally and thus, coined the term ‘schemas’ to describe the mental structures babies are born with to deal with the information taken in from its surroundings. When a child is born it has around fifty reflexes that it uses to make sense of its environment via the senses e.g. breathing, sucking. Piaget called these reflexes ‘Action schemas’. At around two years, when the child’s cognitive abilities become more advanced, he/she can make associations between objects and symbols. By the age of five, the child’s schemas have developed so that it can...