Piaget Theory Vs Information Processing Theory

Table of Content

Reasons behind why kids think in different ways have been established in assorted theories. Jean Piaget advanced a greatly influential theory that reflected his anterior surveies in the Fields of biological science and familial epistemology. It is a theory that has been contended by many others, including that of the information-processing attack to cognitive development. It will be shown where these theories compare and where they contrast, in decision explicating why Mary’s kids think otherwise.


The cognitive abilities of kids have long been an issue for developmental psychologists. The development of a kid’s mental procedures, such as thought, retrieving, larning and utilizing linguistic communication, has been interpreted by many psychologists and explained in a figure of theories. Of these theories Jean Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory has been a major influential theoretical account since its inception in the 1920s ( Beard, 1969 ) . Piaget’s theory has a biological position to cognitive development and focal points on wide, qualitative phases. Another acknowledged theory is the information- processing theory which, approaches cognitive development from a computing machine accentuated perspective, and focuses on the more narrow, uninterrupted, quantitative alterations ( Westen, 1996 ) .

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Though these theories approach cognitive development from different angles, their promotions into how a kid concepts thought and thinks are non wholly at odds with one another as they likewise compare in some facets.

This essay will discourse how these two theories compare and contrast, and in decision elucidate why Mary’s seven-year-old boy sometimes thinks really otherwise to his three-year-old brother.

Body of Evidence

The Piagetian theory of cognitive development emphasises the relationship between biological and physiological operation ( Hughes and Noppe, 1990 ) and the person and the environment. Piaget developed his theory following observations conducted with kids of changing ages that deduced that kids of different age groups gave systematically different replies from kids in other age groups ( Beard, 1969 ) . The concluding behind these replies seemed to hold more significance so the existent replies as Piaget asserted that these responses reflected the discrepancy in kid’s thought, therefore proposing cognitive development occurred in a stage-like procedure ( Matlin, 1983 ) .

Predating the beginning of the four identified phases, Piaget stated that there is a procedure that can be described as ‘ coming to cognize’( Tuddenham, 1972 ) , this acquisition of cognitive abilities are so bit by bit accumulated throughout the phases.

The procedure of ‘ coming to cognize’ commences with the baby’s innate physiological reactions and their innate inclination to exert them in certain state of affairss ( Beard, 1969 ) . These physiological reactions are simplistic strategies, which Piaget referred to as an organized, repeatedly exercised form of idea or behavior ( Westen 1996 ) . Schemas being the earliest signifiers of mental activity a immature baby develops ( Matlin 1983 ) , bit by bit increase in measure and progress in complexness with ripening, therefore enabling believing and behaviors to a more complex grade ( Wilkes, 1997 ) . In order for scheme to develop, two procedures are invariably utilised to keep what Piaget is asserted is the driving force behind cognitive development, equilibrium ( Westen, 1996 ) . Assimilation and adjustment are used at the same time and alternately throughout development leting version and administration and therefore, equilibration ( Wilkes, 1997 ) .

Once these cognitive abilities are acquired, Piaget suggested that they bit by bit develop through four qualitatively different phases that proceed in turn. Although they occur in an exact sequence, they are non purely determined by age Each phase equips the kid with distinguishable logic capableness that are requisites for the following phase of thought ( Deiner, 1996 ) .

The sensorimotor phase extends from birth to age two, a period that sees the beginning of physical development. While this development enables increasing physical interaction with the environment, the kid’s cognition is constrained by their esthesis and actions. As a consequence, constructs about world are limited and believing is eminently egoistic ( Westen, 1996 ) . Recognition that the universe has an being independent of psychological contact actualises with the procurance of object permanency, an achievement alongside another achievement, that of knowing action ( cause and consequence ) ( Deiner, 1996 ) . Succeeding this phase is the preoperational phase, get downing at around age two and enduring to about ages five to seven ( Westen, 1996 ) . Primary promotions in this phase include the development of symbolic idea ( Hughes 1991 ); the development of linguistic communication, which establishes a dramatic alteration in the kid’s rational operation; the development of memory and imaginativeness and outgrowth of logical idea. However, despite these promotions, thought is still executed in a irreversible mode and egoistic thought predominates along with the inclination to concentrate on merely one facet of an object at one clip ( centration ) .) .

Upon completion of this phase, follows the concrete operational phase, widening from ages approximately seven to twelve ( Westen, 1996 ) . Concrete operational idea allows logical concluding about objects or state of affairs that are either straight perceived or imagined ( Applied Psyc. , 1999 ) . Some constructs of preservation and transivity begin to be understood and egoistic idea to Begins to decrease ( Hughes 1991 and Beard, 1969 )

Taging the 4th ( formal operational ) phase is the ability to believe abstractly through the logical usage of symbols Although this phase approximately extends from adolescence to adulthood, many people do non believe officially as an grownup ( Westen 1996 ) .

In comparing, the information-processing theory ( IPT ) holds believing as an analogy and is predicated to both computing machine and communicating scientific disciplines. The IPT assert that both systems accept external information, operate on it in assorted ways and present a response ( Bourne, Ekstrand and Dominovski, 1971 ) . In worlds, one time a individual has received information, it is processed in a sequence of phases, with each phase executing a specified map, conveying it to another phase, finally making a response or hive awaying it.

From the IPT position, cognitive development is distinguished by the constituent processes involved in thought  attending, centripetal enrollment, memory, encoding and retrieval  and their influencing factors  cognition base, memory usage and capacity, automatisation, cognitive schemes and megacognition  . The IPT focuses on how and what executes knowledge and the proficiency at which this is done. As the cognitive abilities that formulate and accelerate believing vary with development, the IPT besides observes how thought is influenced by age.

Atkinson and Shiffren advanced a theoretical account of memory known as the information-processing theoretical account ( Matlin, 1983 ) . This theoretical account consists of three memory shops: sensory; short-run and long-run storage. Information enters the processing operation the information through the showing mechanism known as attending. Although this procedure is ab initio unprocessed, it progressively becomes more selective throughout development, letting merely relevant information to perforate into the centripetal enrollment which really briefly retains the information in either the iconic memory ( ocular ) , imitative memory ( auditory ) and haptic memory ( touch ) . From here, the information is transmitted to the short-run storage that holds the information actively being used or worked on to finally making long-run storage, where information can be stored more for good for later retrieval.

One influential, developmental factor in this overall procedure is that of the cognition base. Although age and exposure to different experiences sustain this accretion of information, age is non need fully a determiner in the efficiency of the cognitive abilities ( Chi 1978, cited in Westen 1996 ) . The enlargement of the cognition base and capacity of the memory enable the usage of schemes or learned techniques to help memory, therefore cognitive development implements greater callback of information from memory storage ( Matlin, 1983 ) .

A subsequent influential factor is automatisation. Automatisation occurs when activities become refined by experience going automatic, effortless and adept to put to death, letting persons to manage multiple information and state of affairs at the same time. ( Westen 1996 ) .

Another primary facet of cognitive development megacognition, the procedure of believing about thought and modifying cognitive procedures  . Through actively monitoring and modulating cognitive procedures, research surveies have shown that megacognition explains why kids of different ages trade with larning undertakings in different ways  .


In these two theories, accounts to why kids of different ages think otherwise from one another have been advanced. Although in some facets they set up a incorporate attack, in that kids advancement throughout life, geting mechanisms that broaden a their manner of thought, Piaget’s theory therewith differs from the IPT attack.

Piaget asserts kids develop in a sequence of hierarchal phases and observes alterations qualitatively. Piaget’s theory besides disregards socio-cultural variables, letting for minimum single differences The IPT positions development as a uninterrupted passage, with discernible quantitative alterations, letting for single differences ( Flavell, 1994 ) .

Piaget’s theory explains the differences between Mary’s 7 year-old boy and his 3-year-old brother as being in either different phases or in the same phase but at different degrees. As the Piagetian theory is structured, based on qualitative phases and consequently linked to a peculiar age scope and no farther description of the kids has been given, the phase that the siblings are categorised as being in have a inclination to be ambivalent. However, the younger kid would probably to be emerging into the pre-operational phase, his believing superior to when he was in the sensorimotor phase, but still highly egoistic, centrated and immature.

This factor explains that besides explains that both siblings can still be considered pre-operational but discrepancy in their thought accounted for by the fact his 7-year-old brother is either approaching the terminal of the preoperational phase, his believing more mature and less egoistic and centrated. The older kid could besides be get downing the concrete operational phase, where his thought would be get downing to be logic and accordingly different from his younger sibling..

In comparing, the IPT elucidation of Mary’s observation would depict the kid’s discrepancy in thought, as a consequence of a contrasting degree of proficiency in her kid’s knowledge. The difference of four old ages would account for greater velocity and efficiency in processing and besides, that through development, cognitive constituents had advanced to a greater grade in the older kid. This could ensue in him more likely to hold greater selective attending, memory capacity and use, to show more consciousness of his thought procedure, and therefore explicating why he thinks otherwise from his three year-old sibling.


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