Developmental Psychology Theoretical Approaches

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Overview Four theoretical approaches to cognitive development Piaget’s theory Information processing theories Core knowledge theories Sociocultural theories (Vygotsky) General Themes Nature and nurture Continuity vs. discontinuity Active vs passive child Nurture (environment, learning) John Locke (1632-1704) –Infant’s mind as “tabula rasa” Behaviorism (e.g. Watson, Skinner) Nurture (environment, learning) 'A child's mind is a blank book. During the first years of his life, much will be written on the pages. The quality of that writing will affect his life profoundly.‘ Walt Disney Nature (biology, instinct) Children, like plants, simply “bloom”, following a timetable laid out in their genes (Gesell, 1933) “instinct is stronger than upbringing.” --Irish proverb How would a blank slate learn? Word learning ‘by association’ Word learning ‘by association’ Problems with association? category individual part color state of mind Jean Piaget (1896-1980) ‘Constructivist’ Child plays an active role in achieving developmental outcomes Stage like discontinuity Piaget “the study of stages of intelligence is first a study of the formation of operational structures. I shall define every stage by a structure of a whole, with the possibility of its integration into succeeding stages, just as it was prepared by preceding stages...
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