Psychology: Piaget and Skinner

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Assignment 1

The cognitive perspective is a theory that attempts to explain human behaviour by understanding our thought process. Our information process is compared to that of a computer: Inputting, storing and receiving data. One of the most famous cognitive psychologists was a scientist called Jean Piaget (1896-1980). According to Piaget, understanding comes in the form of ‘schemas’ (Fritscher, 2011). Schemas are cognitive structures that represent certain aspects of the world (pre-conceived ideas for things). Schemas develop through at least two processes: assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is simply adding new information into an existing schema but keeping the general idea the same. Accommodation is the process in
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However, younger children tend to try out these variations randomly.
Experts have argued “...the clear-cut ages and stages forming the basis of Piaget 's theory are actually quite blurred and blend into each other” (Donaldson, page 57). In Donaldson’s book, ‘Children 's Minds’, she suggests that Piaget may have underestimated children 's language and thinking abilities by not giving enough consideration to the contexts he provided for children when conducting his research (Castella, 2011). Although Piaget’s theory gives us a brief understanding of how children’s learning develops, not all children are taught the same way nor do they learn at the same pace. Each of the four stages have been criticised by experts. For instance on evaluation of the sensorimotor stage; Bower (1982) found that children display object permanence at a much younger age than Piaget suggested. We can agree or disagree with Piaget’s theory but one thing is certain, we will always imagine the stages whilst observing our children grow “... it is certainly true that, whether we agree with the theory or not, Piaget has changed the way we think about children’s thinking” (Sternberg, page 761).

The behavioural perspective is an assumption that our identity is shaped by our surroundings. The people we know, the schools we attend and even how much money we have in our bank accounts can make us who we are. There are two theories involved:
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