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Nigel Holt and Rob Lewis

Crown House Publishing Limited


P s y c h o l og y

the study
Extract from A2 Psychology: the study guide © Nigel Holt and Rob Lewis ISBN: 9781845901011


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2 | A2 PSYCHOLOGY: THE study guide

Cognition and development
You are expected in the examination to show both the skills of knowledge and understanding and the
skills of analysis and evaluation in relation to the topic Cognition and development.
Where opportunities for their effective use arise, you will need…

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Development of thinking | 3
The specification requires you to know all
three theories of cognitive development out-
Section 1: Development of thinking lined in the next few pages. You can't pick and
choose: learn all three. Questions could ask you
for more than two theories, so you are not…

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4 | A2 PSYCHOLOGY: THE study guide

Evaluation of Piaget's theory

1. Egocentrism (Piaget and Inhelder, 1952)

The researchers asked children what the doll is
able to see when positioned at different places on
the model mountains (ie taking the point of view
of the doll).
They found that children…

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Development of thinking | 5

4. Further evaluation of Piaget's theory
»» Dasen (1994) ­ We do not necessarily move through all the stages, estimating that only 1 in 3
adults ever reach formal operations. This figure applies only to Western industrialised nations:
elsewhere it is lower, suggesting a cultural…

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6 | A2 PSYCHOLOGY: THE study guide

Applying Piaget's theory to Education

Stage specific instruction ­ readiness

»» We should only teach children Burns and Silbey (2000) ­ Support stage-
material that they are able or ready specific instruction: children learn best when
to learn, and this depends on the…

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Development of thinking | 7

Theories of cognitive development (2): Vygotsky's theory
Vygotsky's stage theory is often referred to as sociocultural, since he says that it is cultural knowledge which
prescribes what children learn. Social activity is key to developing natural abilities available from birth.

The role of language in…

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8 | A2 PSYCHOLOGY: THE study guide

Evaluation of Vygotsky's theory

1. Individual differences
Group working may be beneficial to some, but not all:
Blaye et al (1991) ­ Using a task where children worked alone or in pairs on a problem-solving
task they found great variation in whether pair…

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Development of thinking | 9

(a) Describe Vygotsky's theory of cognitive
development. (9 marks)
Applying Vygotsky's theory to education (b) Consider the application of Vygotsky's
theory to education. (16 marks)
Group working

»» Gokhale (1995) ­ Group working is beneficial to the majority of students.
»» Students who worked…

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10 | A2 PSYCHOLOGY: THE study guide

Theories of cognitive development (3): Bruner's theory
Like Vygotsky, the role of society is identified as important, as is language, and like Piaget, learning is done
through assimilation and accommodation. Internal motivation is vital in stimulating interest in learning.

Modes of representation


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