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Major Challenges to Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

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What are the major challenges to Piaget's theory of cognitive development and what aspects still have value?

To answer this question, Piaget's theory of development should be explained along with Vygotsky's theory and the connectionist theory of development, and then each should be compared with the others. Once this has been achieved the main similarities and differences will be summarized, and finally the areas of Piaget's theory that have not been undermined by other theories will be reiterated.

In Piaget's opinion, Intelligence is not how we would class it today, he believed that intelligence covered all mental thought. He did believe however that the development of intelligence was an evolutionary matter not something that could be built on after birth, only used. Piaget believed that the child was responsible for its own development and therefore teaching could be seen as defunct.

In Piaget's development theory there is four stages the "Stages of Development". These stages are a progressive format which children follow through childhood to create a complex adult abstract thinking process. While the children move from one stage to the next the improvements they show are seen as indications they are not the progressing itself more so that it is evidence that it is happening.

The sensor motor stage is the first of the four stages and normally refers to children from birth to eighteen months old. In this stage the child recognizes the world through its physical actions, the child will start to internalize this information. Once the child starts making representations for the information, it will start to develop thought and language, these accomplishments are seen as the move to the next stage. The preopera...

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Thorndyke, E.L. (1911) "Animal intelligence" New York: MacMillan. Cited in Roth, I. (2000) "Introduction to psychology" vol 1, Psychology Press, East sussex

Vygotsky, L.S. (1962) "Thought and Language", Cambridge (Mass.), MIT Press. Cited in Lee V. and Gupta P.D. (2001) (eds) "Childs Cognitive and language development", Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford

Vygotsky, L.S. (1988) "The genesis of higher mental functions" in Richardson, K. and Sheldon, S. (Eds.) "Cognitive Development in Adolescence", Hove, Erlbaum. Cited in Lee V. and Gupta P.D. (2001) (eds) "Childs Cognitive and language development", Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford
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