Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s child and adolescent cognitive developmental theories

Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s child and adolescent cognitive developmental theories provide a brief overview of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s child and adolescent cognitive developmental theories.

Jean Piaget is probably the most influential theorist in the cognitive development realm. His work has informed American educational practices since the early 1900s. Another key cognitive theorist in the realm is Lev Vygotsky. Interestingly, Vygotsky and Piaget were contemporaries (both were born in 1896), but for many years, Piaget’s theory dominated. The fact that Vygotsky died at age 37, while Piaget lived to be 84, might be part of that explanation. But Vygotsky’s ideas gained traction in the 1980s when educators began to question long held Piagetian ideas. Nevertheless, both theories are important to the study of cognitive development. In your initial post of 400 words minimum,

  • Provide a brief overview of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s child and adolescent cognitive developmental theories.
  • Compare and contrast these theories as they relate to child and adolescent development by identifying at least one commonality in the two theories and two major conceptual differences (Table 7.2 in your textbook will be useful here).
  • Determine which of the two theories you most support and provide a rationale for your choice.

Answer preview

Adolescence is the transition period between childhood and adulthood. Children go through many changes during this period, including physical, personality, intellectual, and social development. Jean Piaget’s theory describes adolescent cognitive development as a process that characterizes strict operations, hypothetico-deductive reasoning, logical conclusions, fantasy audiences, and personal fable (Huang, 2021, May). Piaget believes that adolescence develops abilities based on their mental developments and experiences. During adolescence, children move from childhood thinking and start thinking more abstractly. Vygotsky’s cognitive development theory argues that adolescent abilities are socially constructed and guided (Babakr, Mohamedamin, & Kakamad, 2019). The culture determines how adolescents develop specific abilities such as memory, learning, attention, and problem-solving.


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