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Cognitive Development Theories: Jean Piaget vs. Lev Vygotsky

Comparing and contrasting Jean Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory and Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory

Katherine Kim

on 25 April 2011

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Transcript of Cognitive Development Theories: Jean Piaget vs. Lev Vygotsky

Jean Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory
Piaget's theory is based on four different periodic stages in which development precedes learning. Individuals acquire knowledge in a sequential process.
Stage 1: Sensorimotor (Birth-2 Years)
Infants build understanding of the world by utilizing sensory perceptions and motor activities. Looking, sucking, grasping, and listening are all examples of how infants acquire knowledge about the world.
Object Permanence
Understanding objects continue to exist if they cannot be seen or heard.
Simple Reflexes
Coordination of sensory and motor activity through reflexive behaviors
Development of Habits
Development of Hand-Eye Coordination
Stage 2: Preoperational (Ages 2-6)
Children begin to develop sparse or logically inadequate mental operations learn to use or represent objects with images, words, and drawings.
Development of Stable Concepts
I.e. reasoning, magical beliefs
Difficulty taking the perspective of others
Symbolic Functions
Thinking in images or symbols rather than manipulating information to application
Believing that inanimate objects have human-like qualities and actions
Taking an interest in why things are the way they are
Stage 3: Concrete Operations (Ages 7-11)
Children develop a better understanding of mental operations and logical thinking about concrete events.
Inductive Logic
Relating a specific experiences to a general principle
Objects can be changed and then reverted back to their original state
The ability to name and identify sets of objects according to a specific characteristic
Elimination of Egocentrism
Stage 4: Formal Operations (Ages 11-Adulthood)
Individuals move beyond concrete operations to abstract ideas and concepts.
Ability to reason logically, draw conclusions, and apply them to life experiences.
Understanding abstract concepts such as love, proofs, and future possibilities.
Lev Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory
In contrast to Piaget's theory, learning precedes development through a process in which individuals acquire knowledge through social interactions and communication. Unlike Piaget's theory, cognitive development varies on the individual's experiences instead of specific processes in timed periods.
“Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people and then inside the child."
More Knowledgeable Other
The MKO refers to anyone who has a higher cognitive ability than the individual (i.e. a parent, coach, teacher, etc.) The individual learns by observing, modeling, and interacting with the MKO.
Zone of Proximal Development
The ZPD refers to the distance between a student’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and the student’s ability solving the problem independently. Through scaffolding, an MKO can provide the framework for the individual to achieve success at a higher level.
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