Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay

Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay

According to Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory, “children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world (Berk, 2018, pp. 17). Piaget used the concept of adaptation; he believed that “just as structures of the body are adapted to fit with the environment, so structures of the mind develop to better fit with, or represent, the external world” (Berk, 2018, pp. 17).  Piaget’s theory of cognitive development consists of stages; they are, sensorimotor (birth to two years), preoperational (two to seven years), concrete operational (seven to eleven), and formal operational (eleven years on) (Berk, 2018).

Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory “focuses on how culture – the values, beliefs, customs, and skills of a social group – is transmitted to the next generation” (Berk, 2018, pp. 22).  With this theory, social interaction is the key to giving children the knowledge, ways of thing, and behaving that make up the community’s culture (Berk, 2018) Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay.

With both cognitive-developmental theory and sociocultural theory, children go through stages of development (Berk, 2018). These stages are divided into age groups and are more precise with Piaget’s theory. Piaget’s stages have clear developmental processes that happen in each stage (Berk, 2018). These stages consist of how children at different ages learn as they explore the world around them (Berk, 2018).  With Vygotsky’s theory, the stages are not divided by age but by the changes the child undergoes (Berk, 2018). The study of cognitive development has influenced Vygotsky’s theory; as he agreed with some of Piaget’s ideas, the difference was that “Piaget emphasized children’s independent efforts to make sense of their world, Vygotsky viewed cognitive development as a socially mediated process, in which children depend on assistance from adults and more expert peers as they tackle new challenges” (Berk, 2018, pp. 22).

Piaget’s theory made significant contributions, but some believed Piaget’s stages pay insufficient attention to social and cultural influences on development (Berk, 2018). The field is divided over its loyalty to Piaget’s ideas (Berk, 2018). Vygotsky’s research reveals that every culture develops unique strengths; however, because of the emphasis on culture and social experiences, Vygotsky neglected the biological side of development (Berk, 2018). “Contemporary sociocultural theorists grant the individual and society more balanced, mutually influential roles” (Berk, 2018, pp. 23) Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay.


Berk, L. E. (2018). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Chapter 1, “History, Theory, and Research Strategies” (“Scientific Beginnings” through “Comparing and Evaluating Theories,” (pp. 12-26)

Discussion: The Contribution of Classical Theorists to Contemporary Developmental Theorists

While all major developmental theories attempt to explain the growth of individuals, each theory has a slightly different perspective. Some theories emphasize environmental (nurture) more than biological (nature) influences. Some theories focus on a particular construct (e.g., cognition), while others emphasize the impact of age range in shaping development. Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory emphasizes fixed stages during which the mind’s capacities allow an individual to learn about the world. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, on the other hand, is not stage-based and describes growth as an interaction between the individual and his or her environment.

Contemporary theories (e.g., Langer’s theory of mindfulness) typically build upon the foundation generated by earlier theories. Langer’s theory of mindfulness contains similarities to classical theories, such as Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, in that they both agree that development is contextual and the organism is an active “mindful” participant. Langer took Vygotsky’s theory to a new level, focusing specifically on education and the learner. Other contemporary theories include neo-Piagetian cognitive developmental theories, which attempt to address the limitations found within Piaget’s classical theory Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay. Robbie Case, Andreas Demetriou, and Kurt Fischer proposed theories that were extensions of Piaget’s theory. These theorists added concepts that expanded on cognitive functioning within the stages of development. Most developmental psychologists today do not believe that a single perspective or theory can sufficiently explain lifespan development; rather, an eclectic approach accounts for development better.

For this Discussion, you will examine classical and contemporary developmental theories as they relate to current applications in developmental psychology.


To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the course text and other Learning Resources related to mid-20th-century theories and recent theoretical perspectives
  • Select two theories from the following list, one from each column (classical, contemporary), that examine the same developmental processes (i.e., cognitive, physical, and/or social-emotional) Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay.


Classical Theories Contemporary Theories
  • Psychoanalytic/Psychosexual
  • Psychosocial
  • Behaviorism/Learning
  • Social Learning
  • Cognitive-Developmental
  • Information Processing
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Ethology/Evolutionary Developmental
  • Sociocultural
  • Systems Theory


By Day 4

Post a brief description of the two theories you selected (one classical and one contemporary). Contrast the theories you selected. Specifically, identify important similarities and differences, including an explanation of the strengths and limitations of each theory in explaining developmental processes (i.e., cognitive, physical, and social-emotional). Note: Your descriptions should be in paragraph form, not bullet points. Use your Learning Resources and/or other scholarly sources to support your post. Use proper APA format and citations.

By Day 6

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ posts and search the Internet and/or the Walden Library and select a current article (within the last 5 years) that is related to the same developmental process (i.e., cognitive, physical, and social-emotional) that your colleague posted. Summarize the article and describe the theory identified within the article.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting and answer any questions. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of your colleagues’ comments.Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay



I think you did a good job in explaining Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theory, highlighting the strengths and limitations. In an article by Ahmad et al (2016), the role of play in cognitive development was examined.  Harris (2005) defines cognitive development as, “the process of reasoning, thinking, and problem solving, which changes over the course of the life span”, (para. 1). It aids in the development of imagination and memory in children, both of which are necessary for thinking about the past, present, and future. In a variety of ways, play aids in cognitive growth, (Ahmad et al, 2016). Jean  Piaget’s research led him to form this theory as he saw cognitive development as an active process in which an infant, child, or teenager organizes their experiences with their environment, adapts to it, and tries to preserve a feeling of balance with old and new information. He felt that the first 15 years of life were divided into discrete but interconnected stages of cognitive development, the latter stage ages 11-15 was referred to as the formal operant stage (Harris, 2005).

The study conducted by Ahmad et al (2016) indicated that “students feel curiosity to explore new things and new ideas by play”, (para.1). It also suggested that on the basis of play duration, there was a distinction between memorizing, exploration, comprehension, and problem-solving ability. It was suggested that the students who spend more time playing in a day have faster cognitive development and achieve higher levels at the formal operant stage. They are more logical thinkers who handle problems more effectively than others, (Ahmad et al, 2016).  The study concluded that children at the formal operational level improve their cognitive thinking based on the length of time they spend playing, not on their age, (Ahmad et al, 2016) Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay.


Ahmad, S., Ch, A. H., Batool, A., Sittar, K., & Malik, M. (2016). Play and Cognitive Development: Formal Operational Perspective of Piaget’s Theory. Journal of Education and Practice7(28), 72–79.

Harris, Y.R. (2005). Cognitive development. In Neil J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Development (pp. 275-280) Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory essay.

Open chat
WhatsApp chat +1 908-954-5454
We are online
Our papers are plagiarism-free, and our service is private and confidential. Do you need any writing help?