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· French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher.
· Born 8 August, 1896.
· Died 16 September, 1980.
· Created the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955.
· Described as `the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing'.
· Believed babies developed through cognition - developing knowledge and understanding
through experiences and senses.
· Children assimilate schemas - concepts child associates with certain actions/things.
· As child grows older and interacts more with it's environment, schemas adapt to become
more complex, numerous and accurate.
· Devised 4 development stages:
· Sensorimotor stage - from birth to age 2. Children learn through senses and
movement. Children are extremely egocentric, meaning they use language to help
themselves to make sense of their surroundings.
· Pre-operational stage - from age 2 - 7. Acquisition of
motor skills and magical thinking predominates.
· Concrete operational stage - ages 7 - 11. Children begin thinking logically and have
· Former operational stage - ages 11-16 +. Children develop abstract thought and can
Arguments for and against Cognitive theory
· Children can understand object · Does not explain why children with
permanence. cognitive problems develop language
· Young children have little concept of fluently.
· Most children understand the concept
of seriation - e.g. arranging toys into
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Comparison to other language theorists
· B.F Skinner - Behaviourism theory
· Believed behaviour controlled by consequences
· Piaget theory sympathetic to Skinner's theory as they both support environmental
· However, Piaget believed children developed language independently in stages when
they were intellectually ready rather than just from social interaction.
· Noam Chomsky - Nativist theory
· Theorised human babies born with Language Acquisition Device (LAD), so language is
biologically determined, rather than environmentally influenced.…read more