Discussion Post 2

The assignment is to choose only two of my classmate’s post and reply to their post. One paragraph is enough for each of my classmates. Because it is like a discussion post try to be informal and use words like ( I agree/disagree, I like your points on…, I found your post really interesting, you have a good point…, when I read your post I…, I believe that ….) something like that (using the “I” word)


The question was:

This week we covered numerous theories of cognitive development, each approaching the topic from a different angle. Discuss how the various theories add to the collective knowledge about how we think and how thinking develops over the lifespan. Which of the theories did you find most useful to you in your own understanding of cognitive development?


Your answer was:

Cognitive development is construction and growth in the thought process in children or even adults in terms of processing of information, perceptual skills, learning among other factors common in man (Chen, 2014). Various scholars, psychologist and philosophers have come up with different theories on cognition development. Each approaches it differently and all are equally important. They try explaining how we think and how thinking develops as we age. They can also help identify cognitive impairments as they teach adults on what to expect from young ones in the early stages. Such impairments include autism. Cognitive theories are essential to be studied in relevant fields. The different theories include Labouvie-vief’s, Perry’s, Piaget’s and Schaie’s theories of cognitive development.


The theory I found most useful in creating a better understanding for cognitive development personally was the Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. The theory enumerates that children do not learn from what they are told or perception but rather from motor actions. The theory was developed by a Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The theory has a great impact on my cognitive understanding as it deals mostly with children. It shows the different stages at which children learn and how they learn through different mistakes. It is divided into four stages; a sensorimotor stage which has various substages, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage and formal operational stage (Chen, 2014). Piaget’s theory focus on children is important as we humans learn a lot of the basic and necessary things at this stage of life. Piaget’s theory can ease the understanding of cognitive development.


Cognitive theories try explaining how the thought process comes about. Different theorists have different approaches to cognition development. Piaget’s theory is the most viewed and discussed among the various theories. It is usually considered different especially because of its focus on little children. It’s faced considerable criticisms which also led to the formulation of different theories. Learning the different theories has great importance especially to educators. They can also help identify impairments such as autism. The cognitive theories are important and should be studied in the necessary fields.


The classmate’s answers:

Gaby’s answer:

Each theory contributes to an overall view of development. For example, Piaget’s theory is based on stages of development, which occur when the physical body is capable of moving on to the next stage. While his sequence of development works well and makes sense in my opinion, development does not occur in such concrete building blocks. There is a gradual transition. I find Piaget’s work to be the easiest to understand but also crucial to understand because the text compares several others’ work to Piaget’s. His work cannot be ignored as he has provided great “outlines” of human development.


Piaget’s stages end with adolescence, however, several thinkers including Labouvie-Vief, Perry, and Schaie suggest that cognitive development continues through adulthood. Vygotsky strays away from Piaget by focusing on the social aspect of development rather than performance. It may be wise to view development from several different perspectives. When one considers different approaches and trains of thought, they are able to pick and choose the best of each thinker.


Jessica’s answer:

In the fifth chapter, it talks about two cognitive development theories; Piaget and Vygotsky. The one that got my attention was Paiget’s theory. Paiget’s believed that infants acquired knowledge directly from motor behavior. He assumed that all children pass through a series of 4 stages; sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Piaget’s believed in schemes, which are an organized pattern or building blocks of sensorimotor functioning. On the other hand, Vygotsky theory shows a growing body of research on social interaction in promoting cognitive development. This is the idea of a child’s understanding coming from interaction with parents, peers, and other members of society. I believe both of these theories have a lot to offer and they both make sense. Paiget’s has more supporting factors that help conclude his theory. Paiget’s goes through 3 categories of ages to show the stages of cognitive development; Infancy, preschool years, and middle school through adolescence. Each of one these stages of life show substages which create the building blocks of the way we understand the world. Even though I find Piaget’s theory most useful, I believe that social interaction especially at a young age with influence development.


Zein’s answer:

I found these chapters very engaging and helpful in building an understanding of developmental cognition. Particularly centration from Piaget and Zones of proximal development described by Vygotsky. While critics have cited recent studies that support the notion that children, possible as early as 3 months, have some sense of conservation in an attempt to discredit Piaget’s ideas regarding staged development, I do believe that certain boundaries in cognition that children overcome as they age can give a similar effect to the stages of development that Piaget described. In particular, while infants have been shown to be capable of understanding conservation under specific circumstances, Piaget’s idea of centration as a default cognitive mode for children of a certain age group aptly characterizes the approach and results of children’s thinking regarding non-novel stimuli. I think as they overcome these hurdles new avenues of thought open up to them, and while these changes a gradual it is understandable why an observer such as Piaget would come to a stage based conclusion. While his conclusions may have exaggerated the observed phenomena into a stepwise function, the characteristics he was observing give solid insight into the cognitive methods employed by most age groups, even if his reasoning for such methods and the manner in which they progress was off. Vygotsky’s description of Zone’s of proximal development were particularly insightful after reading the criticisms of Piaget’s theories, his concept of scaffolding, and graded process to autonomy in tasks really filled the holes left in Piaget’s theories after critics countered with descriptions of development as a more gradually progressive function. Also the account for contribution of culture really helped incorporate the influence of nurture unto nature.


Sarah’s answer:

Cognitive development underscores the basis for children’s thinking, learning, understanding, and behavior. Piaget suggests that children move through four stages of cognitive development in their young lives: the sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 y.o.), preoperational stage (2 to 7 y.o.), concrete operational stage (7 to 11 y.o.), and formal operational stage (12 y.o. and up). According to Piaget, kids are active learners, constantly taking in new information and adding them into their personal schemes about the world around them – the basics of assimilation and accommodation. Piaget emphasized independence and self-learning in dependence.


A different perspective is held by psychologist Vygotsky, who believed that most cognitive development is led by social interactions and culture. Young children benefit greatly from being helped/instructed by their parents or other adults. Challenging tasks are important, as is play with other children in order for proper cognitive development to occur.


Both of these perspectives on cognitive development are similar in that they believe that development is more important in early, formative years and that children excel by actively learning. However, Vygotsky puts much more emphasis on social and cultural implications on development, and doesn’t split development into stages. Piaget emphasises exploration and self discovery above all else. These major theories have led to a more advanced knowledge of cognitive development in the human lifespan. Children take in information like sponges – whether it’s on their own volition or with the help of other people in their lives.


I think that understanding the differences and similarities of these theories have been most useful to my understanding of cognitive development. In particular, I am very interested in the role of parents on their children during Piaget’s preoperational stage, when children are just becoming to realize their role as a person, and beginning to form complex thought. Understanding independence vs helpful guidance has been key especially in the Virtual Life simulation.


Dana’s answer:

Piaget explains cognitive development in terms of how we develop different kinds of thinking and how behavior is correlated. He considers how we begin to do symbolic thinking, understand (or don’t) other viewpoints, and how we start to use logic and solve more complex problems. Vygotsky emphasizes the importance of the cultural environment and social interactions and expectations on development. Information processing theories focus less on kinds of thinking and instead how basic thinking and memory becomes more complex and advanced as humans become better at managing the three basic parts of our memory: sensory store, short term memory and long term memory. I find the detail and examples in Piaget’s theory most helpful in understanding cognitive development. When I think of my experiences with infants, young children, teens and adults, his theories seem to be a great model for the advantages and deficiencies in thinking in each stage of development. His theories also emphasize the fact that children need stimulation in order to develop.