The study of the ways in which people affect, and are affected by others, is known as social psychology; a primary means by which people affect one another is through the medium of Communication (Kruglanski and Higgins, 2007). At the heart of communication is the idea of shared meanings between one, or more people, however, communication is not simply a case of exchanging words; through the process of communication we create meanings and an understanding of what words and behaviours represent or imply (Ramaraju, 2012). Language acquisition forms a critical basis for a child’s development, it is an essential tool for communicating, building relationships with others, and learning (Brock and Rankin, 2008). This assignment probes early language acquisition in infants and children; starting with typical child language acquisition. A number of psychological perspectives are evaluated, these perspectives include the behaviourist theory of B.F. Skinner and the the nativist concepts of Noam Chomsky. Following this is a more indepth review of the psychology of cognition and cognitive development, highlighting the contrasting theories of Piaget and Vygotsky and their contributions to the discourse. Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development are explored in relation to language acquisition and Vygotsky’s theories surrounding the Zone of Proximal development, and the practical application of ‘scaffolding’ are examined. A case study is then presented highlighting atypical language development in a child aged three, this includes details of the child’s personality, and the impact his communication difficulties are having in terms of his social skills and depth of social interaction with peers. Delayed language development is th...
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...tical basis in terms of intellectual maturation (Heo et al., 2011). Piaget contends that children form schema, or cognitive structures, through which individuals explain occurrences in their lives; using these schemata individuals can organise and modify their environments (Smith et al., 2003). Schema are hypothetical constructs which have no physical manifestation and are not observable; children are born with few schemata and these develop gradually over time, to become more differentiated and ‘adult’ (Wadsworth, 1996). Piaget’s theory explains children’s language learning by using the aforementioned four stages of cognitive development; namely the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages. It is claimed by Piaget that these stages are invariant, and all children will go through these stages in the same sequence (Berk, 2008).
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