Piagetian Approach or Cognitive Developmental Approach
Famous cognitive psychologist, Jean Piaget proposed an important theory of cognitive development. This perspective focuses on how children construct their understanding of the world as they pass through four stages of cognitive development through assimilation (responding according to existing schemas) and accommodation (modifying a schema to fit new information). Each of these age-related stages consists of different ways of thinking. Each stage represents a fundamental change in how children understand and organize their environment. In Piaget’s words, it is said that ‘Children think differently from adults’. A child’s cognition is qualitatively different from one stage to another as shown in the following table:
- By using the cognitive perspective, developmental researchers try to explain how children and adolescents process information and how their understandings affect their behaviour.
- The criticism levelled against Piagetian perspective is that his theory perceives cognitive development as discontinuous.
- You have read how Piaget presented the four distinct stages in which the quality of cognition differs from one stage to the next. However, in the view of developmentalists, growth is considered as a continuous process.
- They have put forward another perspective known as the information processing approach which we will discuss in the next paragraph.