Jean Piaget 's Theory Of Cognitive Development

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Jean Piaget’s theories of cognitive development broke new ground in the field of Psychology leading to the extension of further research into the area of developmental psychology. In this essay I seek to examine these theories whilst considering their current relevance to modern psychology and society. A major part of Piaget’s theory focuses around the idea of schemas; a set of linked mental representations used to make sense of the world. According to Piaget (1952), we are born with a small set of schemas such as looking, and a process of organization for developing new schemas. Organization focuses around assimilation, where information corresponds with the pre-existing schema and is absorbed, and accommodation, where new information is presented and a schema is altered to deal more effectively with a situation. Piaget saw assimilation best facilitated through play, however believed that it did not lead to any significant learning, just practicing (Piaget, 1962). For learning to take place at all however, Piaget believed children must progress through four maturational stages of development, with each stage concerning a main focal point of cognitive development that the child must conquer before they can progress. The first stage being the sensorimotor stage (0-2 years) in which the focal point is achieving object permanence, the understanding that objects and other people exist independently of ourselves. Piaget (1952) studied object permanence via a study in which the
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