Piaget and Vygotsky: compare and contrast

Essay by airheadCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

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Piaget and Vygotsky

Tiffany Dadula

980 031 406

Prof. Isaac Smith

PSY 302

March 25, 2004

Everyday life is characterized by conscious purpose. From reaching for food to designing an experiment, our actions are directed at goals. This purpose reveals itself partly in our conscious awareness and partly in the organization of our thoughts and actions. Cognition, as defined as "... the activity of knowing and the processes through which knowledge is acquired" (Shaffer et al., 2002), is the process involved in thinking and mental activity, such as attention, memory and problem solving. Much past and present theory has emphasized the parallels between the articulated prepositional structure of language and the structure of an internal code or 'language of thought'. In this paper I will discuss language and cognition and two famous theorists who were both influential in forming a more scientific approach to analyzing the process of cognitive development: Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Jean Piaget was known for his establishment of the four major periods of cognitive development. Lev Vygotsky was the complement to Piaget's theory with his sociocultural perspective on cognitive development. Both were keenly interested in the relationship of thinking and language learning.

Jean Jacques Piaget was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on August 9, 1896. His father, Arthur Piaget, was a professor in Medieval Literature. His mother, Rebecca Jackson, was an intelligent woman but Jean found her a little bit neurotic. When he was in his late youth he had a faith crisis. His mother encouraged him to attend church to only found it foolish. So he had decided to focus less on philosophy and more on psychology (Smith, L.). Piaget attended the University of Neuchâtel. There he studied natural sciences. He then attended the University of Zürich were he...