Cognitive Theories Of Development: Piaget's Essay

This is because they are both considered as constructivists whose approach to learning and teaching is based on the link between mental construction and cognitive development. On the stages of development from birth through adolescence, the two theorists propose that boundaries of cognitive development are determined by societal influences. Piaget explains the ability of societal factors to influence a child's cognitive development through the sensorimotor, pre-operational and concrete operational stages. In his explanations of these stages, Piaget states that intelligence is demonstrated through symbols, which are obtained from societal influences. On the other hand, Vygotsky believes that societal influences especially cultural tools have a significant effect on cognitive development since they can be passed from one person to another. Cognitive development cannot be separated from the societal influences and include imitative learning, instructed learning and collaborative learning. In possible classroom applications, the views of both Piaget and Vygotsky on cognitive development are essential parts for constructivist learning and constructivism.

Differences between the Theories:

There are several differences between Piaget and Vygotsky's views on cognitive development. One of these differences is on the possible classrooms application of where both theorists had conflicts in their explanations that concepts of development should not be taught until children are in a more suitable stage (Gallagher, 1999). The second major difference is on the nature and development...


Piaget suggests that children learn through social interactions with learning occurring after development. On the other hand, Vygotsky states that intelligence and learning takes place before development since children learn from history and symbolism. On the stages of development from birth through adolescence, Piaget and Vygotsky differ regarding the most important source. While Piaget believes that children themselves are the most important source of cognition for themselves, Vygotsky believes that the social environment is a crucial source.

These theories have been developed by several theories in the field of developmental psychology. Regardless of the various cognitive development theories, their basic premises are an individual's age and stage. This is because a person can and cannot understand certain things at different stages and ages in their growth.

Sources Used in Documents:


Gallagher, C. (1999, May). Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from

Huitt, W. & Hummel, J. (2003). Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from

"Social Development Theory (L. Vygotsky). (n.d.). The Theory Into Practice Database.

Retrieved July 25, 2011, from

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