The Developmental Nature of Cognition

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According to constructivist and cognitive theorists, cognition is defined as the processes of acquiring knowledge and understanding through perception, reasoning, judgment, thought, and experiences (Mora, 2007). The developmental stages of cognition have many implications in the educational setting. It is important for educators to understand the stages of development to facilitate the learning process of students from preschool to graduate studies. This paper will explore the developmental nature of cognition from the viewpoint of stage and social learning theories. Although the major focus is on cognitive development, it will also explore the implications in educational settings that deal with mild intellectually deficit students.

Many paradigms of development exist and interact with each other through different branches of studies. Biological, psychoanalytical, socioemotional, ecological and ethological studies add just as much breadth of knowledge to the understanding of human cognitive process as other theories of development. However, for the purpose of this paper the focus will look at the contributions of constructivist and cognitive theories through the life span of a human.

Stage theories of cognitive development look at the processes of gaining knowledge through levels of attainment of functions over time. Most notable is the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1950). However, many other stage theorists have formulated work to fill in gaps to Piaget’s model. Robbie Case, Grame Halford, and Kurt W. Fisher have proposed Neo- Piagetian stage theories that focus on working memory capacity, analogical reasoning, and skill construction (Mora, S., 2007). In comparison, social learning theor...

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