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Outline and evaluate Piagets theory of cognitive development (9+16marks)

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Introduction

Outline and evaluate Piaget?s theory of cognitive development (9+16marks) Piaget?s theory of cognitive development focuses on two factors that play a role in the development; the environment and biological maturation. Piaget identifies the child as a scientist, that it?s about self-discovery and that the knowledge shouldn?t just be passed down because it prevents the child from learning anything for themselves. He also focuses on how cognition determines language, how adaptation to the environment is through two schemas (assimilation and accommodation), each of the four stages differ from each other and finally that development is as a result of biological maturation. Piaget identified four stages and four mechanisms linking to his theory of cognitive development. The four mechanisms include; schema (a package of knowledge/behaviour that?s applied to a specific aspect of the world), accommodation (previously learnt knowledge/behaviour is transferred to another aspect of the world), assimilation (previously learnt knowledge/behaviour is linked to a new aspect of the world) and finally equilibration (this is maintaining balance between the individual and the world and links in with two processes which are assimilation and accommodation). Piaget?s four stages include firstly sensori-motor stage that occurs between the ages of 0-18 months and continues into later life. ...read more.

Middle

different angle which wasn?t always the correct one but those around the ages of 7-8 months would consistently choose the correct answer. The third stage of Piaget?s theory is the concrete operational stage which occurs around the ages of 7-11 years old. This is when the child has now developed empathy and has become aware of the consequences of their actions. Children are now beginning to develop logical thinking and common sense such as being aware that if they fail to do their homework they will get a detention. A study that links to this stage is the conservation (beaker) test. In order for a child to have developed conservation is understanding that the volume of an object can remain the same even if it appears not to be. In this study 3 beakers were used. Two were of the same height and length and the third one was a cross-section and was wider and shorter than the first two. Firstly the child was asked if the first beakers that looked the same, had the same amount of volume of water in them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those from LEDC countries are likely to be a lot slow in their biological maturation ? this hasn?t been considered. Secondly it?s difficult to replicate Piaget?s theory and it can only be replicated if the researcher carries it out in exactly the same way as Piaget did. Piaget also has been criticised from not considering individual differences because childrens? development will differ. Biological factors are not really considered as some children may inherently be ?smarter? than other children such as being born as geniuses etc therefore Piaget underestimated childrens? capability. There is also the criticism of demand characteristics as it?s believed that Piaget?s studies had an influence in the way children would answer. Children tended to be asked the same question twice so this could have influenced them to answer differently from the way they had originally planned to. Piaget?s theory has been criticised for being ethnocentric bias as it lacks generalizability and can only be applied to the culture that Piaget studied ? and on the children he studied, including his own. Finally there is also the question of the scientific method that has been used. Piaget carried out the interviews and observations by himself so we can?t be a 100% certain that it?s valid. We can only go with the evidence that Piaget ?found?. ...read more.

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