Theory of Cognitive Development and Jean Piaget

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Abstract: Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget was the first to study cognitive development systematically. One of his major contributions is his theory of cognitive development. However, his theory has numerous limitations and has come under frequent criticism. This essay will analyse four limitations of Piaget 's theory and provide alternative accounts. The first three limitations will be presented through a cultural, social, neuroscientific point of view, and finally, end with the problems of research methods used in Piaget 's study to build his theory. It is found that Piaget 's theory does not combine cultural context and social context with the development itself and lacks scientific evidence. Moreover, problems in his research methods…show more content…
Furthermore, to emphasise on cultural influences on cognitive development, Carl Ratner mentioned in the articleHistorical and Contemporary Significance of Vygotsky 's Sociohistorical Psychology that Vygotsky and Luria (1930/1993) argued that "a significant cultural reconstruction has to take place in order for the child to shift from the stage of primitive perceptions to the next one -to the stage of competent forms of adaptation to the external world" For example, although Piagets sees that children understand conservation after the pre-operational stage (2-7 years), Joseph C.Berland illustrated in his writings that Price-Williams et al. (1969) showed that pottery making children as young as 6 were able to conserve. However, it is noted by Case and Okamoto et al. that some children from certain cultures are not able to pass conservation tests until they reach puberty while some never pass these tests. In other words, Piaget 's theory may be limited to be more representative of children from a certain culture. Second, apart from the limitations due to Piaget ignoring cultural influences, some are related to Piaget overlooking social influences. Without considering the social context, such as the influence of adults or social surroundings, Piaget 's theory may not be applied to
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