• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What have been the major challenges to Piaget's theory of cognitive development? What aspects of the theory still have value?

Extracts from this document...


Mrs Tracey Goode ID No: T6164966 TMA No 5: What have been the major challenges to Piaget's theory of cognitive development? What aspects of the theory still have value? Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) was a constructivist theorist. He saw children as constructing their own world, playing an active part in their own development. Children are intrinsically motivated to interact with their environment and so learn about the world they live in. Piaget's insight opened up a new window into the inner working mind and as a result he carried out some remarkable studies on children that had a powerful influence on theories of child thought. This essay is going to explain the main features and principles of the Piagetian theory, how Piaget has influenced education and relate the Piagetian theory to two challenging perspectives, social constructivism and connectionist modelling. Piaget saw children as constructing their own world, playing an active part in their own development, which was the bulk of his work but also believed that social context was an important feature as well. Children are intrinsically motivated to interact with their environment and so learn about the world they live in. Piaget believed that children had the ability to adapt to their environment and saw intelligence as an evolutionary process. Piaget alleged children's thinking goes through changes at each of four stages (sensori motor, concrete operations and formal operations) ...read more.


Cognition and behaviour arise from the interaction of a person with other persons and vents in the world, over time with the use of cultural tools. Vygotsky claimed that cultural tools are acquired through interacting with others, which children then adopt as their own: what was an interpersonal behaviour pattern becomes an intrapersonal cognitive process. One major way in which Vygotsky's theory is distinctive is the importance for him of instruction. He believed that the highest forms of thinking could only be achieved through appropriate instruction. Vygotsky claimed that purely abstract thinking is only found in highly technological cultures, which have a heavy emphasis on formal instruction. Whereas Piaget concluded that young children's language is egocentric and non-social, Vygotsky reasoned that children speak to themselves for self-guidance and self-direction. Because language helps children think about their own behaviour and select courses of action, Vygotsky regarded it as the foundation for all higher cognitive processes. Vygotsky believed that through joint activities with more mature members of society, children come to master activities and think in ways that have meaning in their culture. He believed that children learn best when tasks are in their zone of proximal development, a range of tasks that the child cannot yet handle alone but can accomplish with the help of adults and more skilled peers. This emphasises the role of the adult as a teacher. ...read more.


Little account has been taken into consideration of developmental change apart from when new modules are being developed. Piaget believes that processing or storage of information is domain specific, but however must recognize that there are different sensory transducers for vision, audition, touch etc. Neither the Piagetian nor the behaviourist theory takes into consideration that the infant has any innate structures or domain specific knowledge. Each grants only some domain - general, biologically specified processes: for the Piagetians, a set of sensory reflexes and three functional processes (assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration. Piaget sees the infants mind as assailed by 'undifferentiated and chaotic inputs (Piaget, 1955, as cited in Gupta and Richardson) is substantially the same. The nativist thesis sees the infant pre - programmed to make sense of specific information sources rather than one that has a chaotic mind. In conclusion it can be seen that both Piaget's and Vygotsky's theories have had a significant effect on the way that children cognitive processes have been studied and they have also had a profound effect on education. It would be fair to say that Vygotsky did not reject all of the elements of Piaget's theory but took the weak areas and strengthened them by taking into consideration socio - cultural factors and language for example. The connectionist modelling theory is domain specific and believes that children's minds are pre - programmed and organised. Children's minds are very complicated and not easy to study psychologically, but with these three different perspectives we are able to understand children's cognitive abilities better. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This writer has clearly answered the task title and gives a real understanding of the challenges to Piaget's work and what aspects are still relevant. I think the work would read and flow better if some of the writing was more simple. The writer could try to precis what they have read and then put the main points into their own words.This is to make sure that they are not accused of plagarism as well as making it clear that they understand what they are writing about.

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 26/03/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    compare and contrast two theories of language development

    3 star(s)

    He called this 'selective reinforcement'. It is this theory that explains, "why children speak in similar ways to their parents, using the familiar phrases and intonation."

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Critical evaluation of whether certain assumptions are present in Erikson's psychosocial development theory and ...

    Turning now to South Africa, the structure of this society, in the author's belief, has been in a state of mutation for the past 50 years, from political, racial and educational oppression, to an uprising, through democracy and reconstruction, onto a society now on the brink of a catastrophe from AIDS (Freeman, 1993; Erasmus, 2005).

  1. Peer reviewed

    Describe & Evaluate Freuds Theory Of Psychosexual Development

    3 star(s)

    repression, to protect the ego from these thoughts & ideas. The final part to Freud's psychosexual development is defence mechanisms. These are ways of protecting the ego when there is conflict between the demands of the id & the superego.

  2. Physical, Social and Emotional Development of Children.

    Poor diet can have serious effects on a child's physical development, as "a child who is developing muscles requires an amazing amount of energy. Without the proper amount of nutrients, a child's muscles may be weak and slow to develop."

  1. discuss freud's psychodynamic theory and compare and contrast to the humanistic theory

    Next is the phallic stage between the ages of three and six and this is when a child is now aware of its genitals. Freud described the Oedipus complex as when a boy unconsciously develops a desire for his mother and jealousy of his father which leads to fear his father will castrate him.

  2. Describe and evaluate Piaget's theory of cognitive development

    He then poured the liquid from one glass into a taller and thinner container. The child was then asked whether the two containers contained the same amount of liquid or different amounts. Preoperational children failed to show conservation (the understanding that certain aspects of a visual display do not vary in spite of perceptual changes)

  1. Factors that Affect Growth and Development.

    parenting and friendships, also affect personality. One of the main differences is that Erikson felt that the stages of development were linked to cognitive and social development rather than led by physical needs. It is interesting to see that Erikson also believed that our personality kept on developing into adulthood.

  2. Discuss Piaget's theory of cognitive development (24 marks)

    that what the child sees is relative to his or her own perspective. The child is also guilty of centration, a tendency to focus attention on one aspect of a situation and not take other details into account.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work