The Theory Of Cognitive Psychology Essay

The Theory Of Cognitive Psychology Essay

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Cognitive psychology is a relatively modern approach based on human mental processes and how those processes affect a person’s feeling, thinking and behaviour. Two of the earliest influences to cognitive development were introduced in the mid 1900’s by psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky who both stressed the importance of mental processes, particularly in children and their development. During the early 1900’s, the behaviourist approach was the front-runner in explaining behaviour; cognitivism however gained credence as it sought to explain, scientifically, the mental processes taking place when confronted with stimuli. This was advanced further during the 1950’s with the development of the computer and the information processing theory, which gave cognitive psychologists an analogy to which they could compare the human brain. This eventually resulted in cognitivism being the dominant psychological approach in explaining behaviour.
Piaget was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development when his employment led him to become interested in the way children think. Before his research, the common misconception was that children didn’t have the same capacity as adults to think. Piaget’s studies showed that children think entirely differently compared to adults and that their mental processes only develop through maturation and interaction with the environment. A key component to Piaget’s theory is schema, often referred to as the building blocks of knowledge. Piaget (1952) defined a schema as 'a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning ' (Mcleod., 2015).He theorised that children are born with basic, innate sch...


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...ren, their Growth and Development ' - is based firmly in Piagetian theory. It also emphasises children having their own individual needs which is applied in the classroom today.
Lev Vygotsky started developing his theories around the same time as Jean Piaget although, unlike Piaget, Vygotsky theorised that cognitive development was based on sociocultural factors and that no single principle could account for a child’s development (Piaget’s equilibration). Vygotsky argued that "learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function" (1978, p. 90). As well as the social and cultural factors Vygotsky also emphasised the importance of language; language drives development as opposed to Piaget’s development drives language. Another key point of Vygotsky’s theory is the importance of the MKO

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