Compare Two Explanations For Cognitive Development (Piaget And Vygotsky)

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Compare Two Explanations For Cognitive Development ­ Andrew F
AO1's AO2's
1 Both Piaget's and Vygotsky's theory of
cognitive development are similar as they
both use the cognitive approach of
psychology to form their theories.
1 Both theories involve the gradual
development of cognitive skills and
discuss stages of development which are
2 Both theories also suggest that the child is 2 Therefore both rely on an underpinning
born with the neural machinery in place to biological approach in order to enable the
undertake cognitive processing or thinking. cognitive skills to develop.
3 Both theories are also interactionist, they
rely to some extent on the child's
interaction with their environment in order
to drive the developmental processes.
4 Piaget believed that cognitive 3 However, Vygotsky believed that
development is partly based in the development was not so dependent on the
maturation of the brain and that children biological maturation of the brain. He
think qualitatively differently at each stage proposed that cognitive skills were
of development. He believed that it is promoted by social interaction and that this
difficult to promote development. Piaget could determine the age at which the stages
described 4 discrete stages of cognitive were reached.
5 Piaget believed that the child
independently interacted with the
environment. He saw the child as a lone
scientist, testing out the environment and
therefore promoting development of new
cognitive skills.
6 Piaget suggested that development was 4 However, Vygotsky disagreed, proposing
through the formation of schema. These that the child was an apprentice, learning
are built as the child's knowledge is entirely through social interaction. Therefore
unbalanced by new situations. The new society members are responsible for
learning is then assimilated or cognitive development in young children
accommodated to the schema, restoring through their interactions with them.
the balance.
7 Vygotsky proposed that communication is 5 However, whilst Piaget recognises the
key to social interaction. From birth, the importance of language in the development
baby communicates and interacts with of cognitive skills, he does not put this at the
others. At about 2 years, language centre of the learning process.
develops and cognitive development
increases dramatically. Vygotsky therefore
sees language as central to cognitive
8 Vygotsky suggested that language 6 However Piaget proposed the reverse. He
enables the child to learn about the suggested that brain maturation is
environment, driving the development of responsible for the development of new
internal thinking and therefore cognitive cognitive skills which enable the child to
interact with the environment in more

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Compare Two Explanations For Cognitive Development ­ Andrew F
complex ways and to learn new knowledge.
Therefore according to Piaget, cognitive
development precedes learning.
9 Vygotsky proposed that cognitive 7 This is supported by observation of children
development is culturally relative. This in Papua New Guinea, whose mathematical
means that each cultural setting will thinking is driven by a base of 29 as this is
establish different cognitive skills. how they learn to think.…read more


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