SUSS PSY 207 STUDY UNIT 3 (Piaget's Constructivist Approach Piaget…
SUSS PSY 207 STUDY UNIT 3
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective
Social Interaction and Thought
According to Vygotsky,
occurs in a sociocultural context and evolves out of the child’s social interactions, particularly when these interactions
operate within the zone of proximal development.
zone of proximal development
The gap between what a learner can accomplish independently and what she can accomplish with the guidance and encouragement of a more-skilled partner. (i.e. Guided participation
Skills within the zone are ripe for development and are the skills at which instruction should be aimed.
Skills outside the zone are either well mastered already or still too difficult.
Actively participating in relevant activities with the
aid and support
of their parents and other knowledgeable guides
Jerome Bruner introduced the concept of scaffolding that is, the more-skilled person gives
to a less-skilled learner but
gradually reduces the help
as the less-skilled learner becomes more competent
Tools of thought
Vygotsky believed that mental activity, like physical activity, is mediated by tools.
In Vygotsky’s view, adults use a variety of tools to
pass culturally valued modes of thinking and problem solving to their children
Tools include language, writing and problem-solving and memory strategies
Language, as a tool, shapes thought in important ways
Thought changes fundamentally once we begin thinking in words
He did not believe that egocentric speech played a useful role in cognitive development. In contrast, Vygotsky called preschool children’s recitations
—speech to oneself that guides one’s thought and behavior
Piaget defined intelligence as a basic life function that helps an organism
to its environment
Side Note: Piaget wasn’t primarily focused on child development initially, he was focused on the development of knowledge in general. Piaget calls it: Genetic Epistemology (Or the genetic origins of knowledge). This pursuit led him to studying child development because he was convinced that this would then help him understand the development of knowledge in general.
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
2. Preoperational Stage
The second stage in Piaget’s theory, marked by symbolic mental capacity and the use of language.
not yet having logical mental operations
. Although less so than infants, preschoolers are
highly influenced by their immediate perceptions.
In Piaget’s theory, the inability to realize that there are other viewpoints/ perspective besides one’s own. Indicative of
Three mountain test. If we ask a child to draw a mountain range from the front view, they would probably be able to do it, but if you ask them to draw from a side view of top view etc, they will find it extremely challenging.
Children show a focus on perceptual salience;
focus on the most obvious
features of an object or situation
B. Animistic Thinking
A preoperational mode of thought in which inanimate objects are imagined to have life and mental processes.
C. Lack the concept of conservation
They do not understand that some properties of an object or substance do not change when the appearance is changed
This is because, they engage in:
A preoperational thought pattern involving the inability to take into account more than one factor at a time. Focuses on only one dimension of a problem.
The inability to think through a series of events or mental operations and then mentally reverse the steps.
Focuses on the end states rather than the processes of change.
D. Lack the concept of class inclusion
Does not understand that the parts are included within the whole. Unable to reliably sort objects based on similarity
3. Concrete Operational Stage
Cognitive development allows the child to develop conservation and the ability to perform mental operations with images of concrete, tangible objects but may not be capable of abstract thought.
Children now understand that the physical properties of an object or substance do not change when appearances change but nothing is added or taken away.
This so because they are able to:
and consider multiple dimensions of a problem simultaneously
Engage in reversibility
; mentally reverse the pouring process and imagine
the water in original glass
Engage in transformational though
t (as opposed to static thought);
understand the process involved in pouring the water
Improved Mental Operation
Solving a problem by manipulating images in one’s mind.This allows concrete operational children to think things through before taking action. As a result, they may be less impulsive.
However, their ability to develope abstract thoughts/ reasoning are still limited.
Can arrange items mentally along a quantifiable dimension
such as length or weight
Able to grasp the relations among elements in a series –
E.g. If A is taller than B, and B is taller than C, who is taller – A or C?
1. Sensorimotor Stage
The first stage in Piaget’s theory, during which the infant
on innate motor responses to stimuli.
They start out as
who explore and solve problems through their actions
Birth – 2 years
Consists of 6 sub-stages
1. Reflex activity
Active exercise and refinement of inborn reflexes
(e.g., change sucking patterns to fit the shapes of different objects).
2. Primary circular reactions
Repetition of interesting acts centred on the child’s own body. These typically begin as random acts but are then repeated.
(e.g., repeatedly suck a thumb, kick legs, or blow bubbles).
3. Secondary circular reactions
Repetition of interesting acts on objects (e.g., repeatedly shake a rattle to make an interesting noise or bat a mobile to make it wiggle). Thus, circular actions extend beyond one’s self (primary) to objects in the environment (secondary to self).
4. Coordination of secondary schemes
Combination of actions to solve simple problems or achieve goals (e.g., push aside a barrier to grasp an object, using the scheme as a means to an end); first evidence of intentionality.
5. Tertiary circular reactions
Experimentation to find new ways to solve problems or produce interesting outcomes (e.g., explore bathwater by gently patting it, then hitting it vigorously and watching the results; or stroke, pinch, squeeze, and pat a cat to see how it responds to varied actions).
6. The beginning of thought
First evidence of insight; able to solve problems mentally and use symbols to stand for objects and actions; visualize how a stick could be used (e.g., move an out-of-reach toy closer)
Acquired at the end of sesnsorimotor stage
Through sensorimotor intelligence, babies work towards object permanence or the knowledge that objects exist independently of one’s own actions or awareness. Usually starts at 9 months.
For example, if you show an infant a toy and then let her see you hide it under a blanket, she will look for it under the blanket.
may occur (up to 12th month) The tendency for Infants to search for the object in the place they last found it, and not where they most recently saw it being hidden
The ability to use images, words, or gestures to represent or stand for objects and experiences.
This allows infants and young children to manipulate ideas mentally, not just physically, opening the door to more sophisticated thinking based on manipulating ideas in their heads.
4. Formal Operational Stage
Develop ability for abstract reasoning and hypothetical thought.
Able to engage in
, or reasoning from general ideas or rules to their specific implications
Piaget claimed that perceptual reasoning of earlier stages is replaced by scientific reasoning in the formal operations stage. But research has shown that
both forms of reasoning coexist
in older thinkers.
- separate prior
knowledge and beliefs from demands of the current task
David Elkind proposed that formal operational thought also leads to adolescent egocentrism—
difficulty differentiating one’s own thoughts and feelings from others
Reflects enhanced ability to think about own and other’s thoughts as well as
ability to think about different social perspectives.
– confusing your own thoughts with those of a hypothesised audience for your behaviour (Cooley's Looking glass?)
– thinking that you and your thoughts and feelings are unique
Piaget insisted that children are not born with innate ideas (Psychoanalytic). Nor did he think children are simply filled with information by adults (learning theories).
Piaget’s position was that
children actively construct their own understandings of the world
based on their interactions with it (a.k.a Constructivism).
In Piaget’s theory, a schema is a mental structure or program crafted through the child's observing, investigating and experimenting.
They serve as building blocks for cognitive development.
Through the process of
, children systematically combine
existing schemes into new and more complex one
The process of adjusting to the demands of the environment
driven by cognitive conflicts
experienced when encountering something new and unknown
Occurs through two dynamic processes known as:
A mental process that
modifies or restructures
schemas in order to include (or accommodate) new information.(Changing how you do things or group information)
For example, when a child encounters a bat, she will have to create a new schema for “bat,” since it is a creature with wings but is not a bird.
A mental process that
incorporates new information
into existing schemas (Expanding the range of things you respond to).
For example, a child experiences assimilation when she learns that a parrot is a type of bird.
Strength and Weakness.
Claims are testable and falsifiable (I.e. is the child facing a problem with conservation). Claims are also widely supported with other research.
Demonstrated that infants have an active role in their own development.
Showed that younger children think differently from older children
did not distinguish between competence and performance
and may have overemphasised the idea that knowledge is an all-or-nothing concept, whereas it is likely that children gain competence gradually, and may not show a full understanding of a concept like object permanence at first.
There are no explicit theoretical explanation on
how a child transition from one stage
does not take into account social influences
on cognitive development