Cognition is the process involved in thinking and mental activity, such as attention, memory and problem solving. In this essay on cognitive development I will compare and contrast the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, who were both influential in forming a more scientific approach to analysing the cognitive development process of the child active construction of knowledge. (Flanagan 1996 P.72). I will then go onto evaluate the usefulness of these theories in understanding a child's development.
Both Piaget and Vygotsky agreed that children's cognitive development took place in stages. (Jarvis, Chandler 2001 P.149). However they were distinguished by different styles of thinking. Piaget was the first to reveal that children reason and think differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that all children progress through four different and very distinct stages of cognitive development. This theory is known as Piaget's Stage Theory because it deals with four stages of development, which are sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational.
(Ginsburg, Opper 1979 P. 26).
In the first stage sensorimotor, which occurs from birth to the age of two is the time in an infant's life when the child basically deals with what is presented to him. They learn about physical objects and are concerned with motor skills and the consequences of some of their actions. (Thomson, Meggit 1997 P.107). During this stage children will learn the concept of object permanence. This is where an object will continue to exist even if it is out of sight. (Ginsburg, Opper 1979 P.48)
The preoperational stage lasts from two to seven years. In this stage it becomes possible to carry on a conversation with a child and they also learn to count and use the concept of numbers. This stage is divided into the preoperational phase and the intuitive phase. Children...