vygotsky - cognitive development

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  • Created by: Cara
  • Created on: 18-06-12 11:57

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Vygotsky's approach to cognitive development
Children form a mental representation of the world through the development of schemas
using assimilation and accommodation
Children learn through independent exploration of the environment, without assistance or
instruction from others
Cognitive development is limited by maturational processes
Language only appears when the child is at a sufficient stage of development. It is
considered a result of cognitive development rather than a driving force
`Child as scientist'
Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development
Culture, social interaction and language are fundamental to cognitive development
The child actively constructs its own knowledge, which is socially and culturally determined by
interaction with parents (initially) and later with peers and more experienced others
`Child as apprentice'
Referred to as a sociocultural theory
Piaget didn't consider language to be relevant
IMPORTANT NOTE: Vygotsky died before Piaget; Piaget didn't know about Vygotsky's
Social interaction and culture
Learning emerges in a social context, e.g. mothers and children interacting, with the mother
modelling behaviour
Child learns by watching and working with others
The behaviours learned will be determined by the society and culture of the individual
What they learn and what they do not learn is determined by what they are exposed to
Cross-cultural support?
Children in Crete and Cyprus (Lewis et al. 1996), Japan and England (Ruffman et al. 1998) tested on
the false belief task (testing egocentrism).
If a child knows something to be true, do they understand that someone else might hold a false
belief which will influence their behaviour?
Children with larger families, and specifically older siblings, are likely to develop this understanding
more quickly (Lewis et al. 1996; Ruffman et al. 1998)

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Language is the most important way of developing cognitive ability)
One way that others equip the child with strategies for thinking is through language
Vygotsky gives language a central role in thinking
Pre-verbal thought and early language = verbal thought and rational speech
Language and thinking
Vygotsky believed that thinking is structured by language
o Children acquire language through social interaction that they then use to structure
and organise their own thinking and problem solving
o Self talk eventually becomes (mostly) silent/ internal known…read more


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