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Cognitive development theories of Piaget and Vygotsky

Please put together/synthesize Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Vygotsky's, including in each the important aspects of their theories. What are the differences and similarities between the two theories, and please explain the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. You may Include, where applicable, real-life examples illustrating your point.

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Jean Piaget Society


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Judging from the question, there are a variety of unique aspects attributed to each theorist. Each cognitive theory holds unique aspects, but Vygotsky's theories are far substantiated versus Piaget in a modern context. Piaget has theories that begin at infancy and end in adolescence while Vygotsky's theories are still heavily substantiated. Below is a brief summary of Piaget's theories.


Piaget argues that the infant enters the sensorimotor stage of development; in which the infant gains knowledge of the world based on his/her senses (Piaget, 1950). While Piaget is considered to give large strides in cognitive development, much of his research was based on observation - to which much of modern science has dictated incomplete as emphasizing aspects of his theory are linear and development has shown to be bidirectional. For instance, a large emphasis of Piaget's theory (object permanence, assimilation, accommodation) asserts that each occurs in differing temporal domains (Piaget, 1950). This is not the case as infants have shown to have to have a loose idea of an object's existence prior to the development of the sensorimotor substage 2. This is due in part to the intersensory integration that infants have in the very first weeks of life and therefore an aspect of object permanence appears first during this time and not in the fourth month of development as once thought of by Piaget (Blewitt & Broderick, 2009).

Early Childhood

Piaget's primary assumption concerning the preoperational stage is that cognitive operation can develop independently of language. However, one confusing point is the reliance on child's verbal justifications to infer the existence of a particular cognitive structure. Despite the amount of evidence against Piaget and many of his ideas concerning cognitive development during early childhood, there are several aspects of Piaget's preoperational stage that have been validated by modern research. One such aspect is the notion that children are egocentric (Blewitt & Broderick, ...

Solution Summary

Cognitive development theories of Piaget and Vygotsky are clearly compared and contrasted.