Theory of Child Cognitive Development According to Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget 's Theory of Cognitive Development

Theory of Cognitive Development, was developed by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist who lived from 1896-1980. His theory provided many of the main concepts in the field of developmental psychology and influenced the development of the concept of intelligence, which for Piaget, meant the ability to more accurately represent the world and perform logical operations on representations of concepts based on reality.

This theory discusses the emergence and acquisition of schemata schemata about how a person perceives his environment in the stages of development, when a person acquires a new way of representing information mentally. This theory is classified as constructivism, which means that, unlike the theory of nativism (which describes cognitive development as the emergence of innate knowledge and abilities), this theory argues that we build our cognitive abilities through self-motivated actions towards the environment. 

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For the development of this theory, Piaget received the Erasmus Prize. Piaget divided the schemas that children use to understand their world through four main periods that correlate with and become more sophisticated with age :

Sensor motor period

According to Piaget, babies are born with a number of innate reflexes as well as an urge to explore the world. Schemas are initially formed through the differentiation of these innate reflexes. Sensorimotor period is the first period of the four periods. Piaget argued that this stage marks the development of important spatial abilities and understanding in six sub-stages:

1. The reflex schema sub-stage, occurs from birth to six weeks of age and is associated primarily with reflexes.

2. The sub-stage of the primary circular reaction phase, from six weeks to four months of age and associated primarily with the emergence of habits.

3. The sub-stage of the secondary circular reaction phase, which occurs between the ages of four and nine months and is concerned primarily with the coordination between vision and meaning.

4. The sub-stage of coordination of secondary circular reactions, appearing from nine to twelve months of age , when the ability to see objects as permanent even though they look different when viewed from a different angle (object permanence) is developed.

5. The sub-stages of the tertiary circular reaction phase, occurring from twelve to eighteen months of age and associated primarily with the discovery of new ways of achieving goals.

6. The initial sub-stage of symbolic representation, relates mainly to the early stages of creativity.

Preoperational stage

This stage is the second of four stages. By observing the sequence of games, Piaget was able to show that after the end of two years of age a qualitatively new type of psychological functioning emerges. Thinking (Pre )Operation in Piaget's theory is a procedure to mentally act on objects. The hallmark of this stage is infrequent and logically inadequate mental operations. In this stage, children learn to use and represent objects with pictures and words. His thinking is still egocentric: children have difficulty seeing from the other person's point of view. Children can classify objects using one feature, such as collecting all red objects even though they have different shapes or collecting all round objects even though they are different colors.

According to Piaget, the pre-operational stage follows the sensorimotor stage and occurs between the ages of two and six. In this stage, children develop their language skills. They begin to represent objects with words and pictures. However, they still use intuitive reasoning instead of logical. At the beginning of this stage, they tend to be egocentric, that is, they are unable to understand their place in the world and how things relate to one another . They have difficulty understanding how the people around them feel. But as you get older, your ability to understand other people's perspectives improves. Children have very imaginative minds in this moment and assume that even non-living things have feelings.

Concrete operational stages

This stage is the third of four stages. Appears between the ages of six and twelve and is characterized by adequate use of logic. Important processes during this stage are :

1. Sorting ability to sort objects according to size, shape, or other characteristics. For example, if given objects of different sizes, they can sort them from largest to smallest.

2. Classification The ability to name and identify a series of objects according to their appearance, size, or other characteristics, including the idea that a set of objects can include other objects in the series. Children no longer have logical limitations in the form of animism (the assumption that all objects are alive and have feelings )

3. Decentering, children begin to consider several aspects of a problem to be able to solve it. For example, children will no longer perceive a wide but short cup as having less content than a tall, small cup.

4. Reversibility , children begin to understand that numbers or objects can be changed, then return to their initial state. For that, the child can quickly determine that 4+4 equals 8, 8-4 will equal 4, the previous number.

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5. Conservation, understanding that the quantity, length, or number of objects is not related to the arrangement or appearance of the object or objects. For example, if a child is given a cup that is the same size and contains the same amount, they will know that if water is poured into another glass of a different size, the water in that glass will remain as much as the contents of the other cup.

6. Elimination of egocentrism, the ability to see things from another person's point of view (even when that person thinks in the wrong way ). For example, show a comic that shows Siti keeping a doll in a box, then leaving the room, then Ujang moves the doll into a drawer, after which Siti returns to the room. The child in the concrete operation stage will say that Siti will still think the doll is in the box even though the child knows that the doll has been moved into a drawer by Ujang.

Formal operational stages

The formal operational stage is the last period of cognitive development in Piaget's theory. This stage is experienced by children at the age of eleven years (at puberty) and continues into adulthood. Characteristics of this stage is the acquisition of the ability to think abstractly, reason logically, and draw conclusions from the available information. In this stage, a person can understand things like love, logical proof, and value. He doesn't see everything in black and white, but there are "gradations of gray" in between. From a biological perspective, this stage appears at puberty (when other major changes occur), marking the entry into the adult world in physiological, cognitive, moral reasoning, psychosexual development, and social development. Some people do not fully develop to this stage, so they do not have the thinking skills as an adult and continue to use reasoning from the concrete operational stage.
General information about the stages These four stages have the following characteristics:

1. Although the stages can be achieved in varying ages but the sequence is always the same. There are no skipped stages and no backward sequences.

2. Universal (not related to culture )

3. Can be generalized: the representation and logic of the operations that exist in a person also applies to all concepts and content of knowledge

4. The stages are a logically organized whole

5. The sequence of stages is hierarchical ( each stage includes elements from the previous stage, but is more differentiated and integrated )

6. Stages represent qualitative differences in the thinking model, not just quantitative differences
Development process

An individual in his life always interacts with the environment. By interacting, someone will get a schema. Schemas are categories of knowledge that help in interpreting and understanding the world. Schemas also describe the actions both mentally and physically involved in understanding or knowing something.

So in Piaget's view, the schema includes both categories of knowledge and the process of acquiring that knowledge. As his experience explores the environment, the newly acquired information is used to modify, add to, or replace existing schemas. For example, a child may have a schema about some kind of animal, for example with a bird. If your child's initial experience is with canaries, the child may assume that all birds are small, yellow, and squeak. One time, maybe the child saw an ostrich. The child will need to modify his previous schema of birds to include this new bird species.

a. Assimilation is the process of adding new information into an existing schema. This process is subjective, because someone will tend to modify the experience or information obtained so that it can fit into a pre-existing schema. In the example above, seeing a canary and labeling it "bird" is an example of assimilating the animal into the child's bird schema.

b. Accommodation is another form of adjustment that involves changing or replacing the schema due to new information that does not match the existing schema. In this process, an entirely new schema may also occur . In the example above, looking at the ostrich and changing its schema about the bird before labeling it "bird" is an example of accommodating the animal to the child's bird schema.

Through these two adjustment processes, a person's cognitive system changes and develops so that it can increase from one stage to the next stage. The adjustment process is carried out by an individual because he wants to achieve a state of equilibrium, which is a state of balance between his cognitive structure and his experience in the environment. A person will always try to achieve a balanced state by using the two adjustment processes above.

Thus, a person's cognition develops not because he receives knowledge from outside passively but the person actively constructs his knowledge.
Issues in cognitive development The main issues in cognitive development are similar to issues in developmental psychology in general.

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Stages of development

a. Qualitative and quantitative differences

There is controversy over the division of developmental stages based on differences in the quality or quantity of cognition.

b. Continuity and discontinuity

This controversy discusses whether the division of developmental stages is a continuous process or a discontinuous process at each stage.

c. Homogeneity of cognitive function

There are differences in the ability of cognitive function of each individual
Nature and nature

The nature and nurtur controversy stems from the difference between the philosophy of nativism and the philosophy of empiricism. Nativism believes that the ability of the human brain from birth is prepared for cognitive tasks. Empiricism believes that cognitive abilities are the result of experience.
Stability and flexibility of intelligence

Relatively, the intelligence of a child remains stable at a certain degree of intelligence, but there is a difference in the intelligence ability of a child at the age of 3 years compared to the age of 15 years.
Another point of view

There are currently several different approaches to explaining cognitive development.
Neuroscience cognitive development theory

Advances in neuroscience and technology have made it possible to link brain activity and behavior. Biology forms the basis of this approach to explaining cognitive development. This approach has the aim of being able to mediate questions regarding human beings, namely

1. What is the relationship between thought and the body, especially between the brain physically and mentally processes

2. Is phylogeny or ontogeny the origin of ordered biological structures
Social-thinking construction theory

In addition to biology, social context is also a point of view of cognitive development. This perspective states that the social and cultural environment will have the greatest influence on the formation of children's cognition and thinking. This theory has direct implications for the world of education. Vygotsky's theory states that children learn actively better than passively. The characters include Lev Vygotsky, Albert Bandura, Michael Tomasello
Theory of Mind (TOM)

This theory of cognitive development believes that children have theories and schemas about their world on which their cognition is based. The figures from this ToM include Andrew N. Meltzoff

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