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Developmental Psychology. This assignment shall begin by describing and evaluating the theories put forward by Piaget and Vygotsky referring to research evidence and providing a conclusion.

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Introduction

Cognitive development involves developing concepts of thought, problem solving and memory (Green. 2002). Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) were both psychologists, which focused on cognitive development and the way in which children's thought and reasoning developed as they matured. This assignment shall begin by describing and evaluating the theories put forward by Piaget and Vygotsky referring to research evidence and providing a conclusion. Piaget (1896-1980) was one of the most influential researchers in the area of developmental psychology during the 20th century and a as biologist was interested in the way in which organisms adapt to their environment this was described by Piaget as intelligence. He viewed behaviour or the adaptation to the environment as being controlled through mental organisations known as schemes that the individual uses in order to represent the world. Piaget suggested that adaptation is driven by a biological drive to obtain balance between schemes and the environment, which is known as equilibrium (Huitt. 2003). Within Piaget's research and writing's on cognitive development he suggested that children's thoughts are not only less sophisticated than adults but they are also qualitatively different and this is due to less knowledge (Jarvis. 2000). It was considered by Piaget that the interaction between the child and their environment was the main factor of influence on their cognitive development. Piaget's view of children is that they are scientists and that they should be left to explore their surroundings giving them the opportunity to interpret the world in their own way. ...read more.

Middle

Two of the glasses were identical whilst the third was tall and slender. It was found that the children of five years could not grasp the concept that there was the same amount of liquid in all of the glasses whereas seven year olds understood this. To check if children understood conservation of number counters were placed onto a table in two rows, which to begin looked identical in length and had the same number of counters. After Piaget spread his row of counters out he discovered that whilst most seven year olds could correctly distinguish that there were still the same number of counters younger children believed that there were more counters in the row, which had been spread out. The final experiment involved flowers. Children were shown four red and two white flowers. In order to see if the children could correctly classify that there were six flowers Piaget asked the question 'are there more red flowers or more flowers?' to which he found that most five year olds believed that there were more red flowers. He then concluded that children would focus on one aspect being either class or sub-class. All of these experiments have been challenged firstly Susan Rose and Marion Blank (1974) argued that by repeating the question after a wrong answer hints that the first answer is wrong. After repeating this experiment and asking the question just once Susan Rose and Marion Blank found more children gave the correct answer. ...read more.

Conclusion

His theory has generated research, which has lead to a better understanding and has been influential for many years. Unlike Piaget Vygotsky's intention was to apply his ideas to education along with Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner also wanted to get his ideas into education. Bruner believed like Piaget that children learn through discovering for themselves and having materials freely available although his theory is mainly based on Vygotsky's ZPD and his theory being known as scaffolding (Green. 2002). As Vygotsky proposed that peers have an important influence on children's cognitive development Bennett and Dunn (1992) investigated the effects of group work within primary children. Results showed that children that had been working in groups showed better language and an advanced way of thinking compared to the children who had worked alone (Jarvis. 2000). To conclude Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner all believe that cognitive development follows stages of some sort. Critics against Piaget suggest that he underestimated the ages in which children reach the stages and so making Vygotsky's ideas become more popular although Piaget's theory has been part of the foundation of constructivist learning (Huitt. 2003). Piaget does not consider social roles and how this may impact on a child's cognitive development whereas Vygotsky ensures that society plays a major role in his theory. Bruner's theory supports Vygotsky and has developed his theory of scaffolding also as it does not state any ages it makes it more flexible. Both Piaget and Vygotsky's theories have been successfully applied to education. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nicola Caufield Developmental Psychology Emma Keane Access to Health Group 1 ...read more.

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