Piaget’s theory of cognitive development describes in detail how kids actively create an image of the whole reality they witness. In turn, he expressed deep disbelief in the idea of fixed intelligence.
He was the first psychologist who conducted a detailed observation and experiment on the cognitive development of human beings and how it all works in the brain. Some of his great contributions include the stage theory of cognitive development in children and detailed and observational studies of cognitive development. Furthermore, he also conducted several tests that revealed different abilities related to cognition.
Piaget didn’t want to measure if a child could count well, spell the words properly, or solve problems that surrounded them to grade their IQ. Above all, he was more interested in how the fundamental concepts like time, number, quantity, justice, etc. emerged.
According to him, each child is born with a very basic, genetically evolved and inherited mental structure. Knowledge and learning are therefore based on this fundamental mental structure.
How Piaget’s theory differs from others
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development varies from the other theories of cognition in several ways.
- Piaget’s theory is concerned only with children and not with learners.
- It only focuses on the development of children and not on learning. Hence, it doesn’t address any kind of information learning or is based on the specific behavior of the children.
- The theory suggests varying stages of cognitive development, each of which differs qualitatively than just an incremental rise in numbers, ideas, and behavior.
However, the main goal of this theory is to explain the processes and mechanisms through which an infant, and then a child, develops into a matured individual. He is then able to think and reason using the hypotheses.
According to Piaget, cognitive development is a kind of reorganization of several mental processes. This occurs progressively as the child matures biologically and through the experiences in their surroundings.
For instance, a child would construct what he or she understands from the surroundings. They would then would experience some discrepancies between what they have already learned and what they discovered new from their surroundings.
Three basic components of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development consists of three different components:
- Schemas: These are the knowledge building blocks
- Adaptation processes: These processes help in enabling a transition from one specific stage to another.
- Different stages of development: These stages include sensorimotor, formal operational, preoperational, and concrete operational.
The key takeaway from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
The primary takeaway from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development should be that gaining intelligence and learning is an active process and not a passive one. This means that it is not just limited to obtaining the necessary information. It refers to transforming your thoughts actively in order to fit the reality that surrounds you.
In conclusion, you can use the knowledge you obtained, schemas and then implement newer knowledge either through accommodation or assimilation. Basically, the search for newer information is all about finding a balance between your existing knowledge and the new information.