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Discuss Piaget's theory of cognitive development

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  • Essay length: 1031 words
  • Submitted: 01/06/2011
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AS and A Level Developmental Psychology

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Discuss Piaget's theory of cognitive development (9+16 marks)

The first comprehensive theory detailing cognitive development in children was proposed by Jean Piaget. His theory is inherently biological in approach, i.e. mainly a consequence of maturation and development of innate structures. Piaget suggested that intelligence depends on these innate structures being able to acquire and store knowledge. He was interested in how children learn and adapt to the world, suggesting for adaptation to occur, there must be constant interaction between the child and the world. This happens through the two key processes of accommodation and assimilation. Whereby the individual adjusts to the environment by using existing schemas, assimilation, or creates new schemas because new information cannot be assimilated, accommodation.

Piaget's theory consists of four main stages of cognitive development, which he states all children pass through. In regard to testing this stage theory, he was sceptical about the value of the typical experimental approach based on strict use of methods. Instead, he preferred a less structured and formal approach. He used the clinical method, in which children are questioned informally to reveal the nature of their understanding of problems. Piaget focused very much on describing the

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