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The Three Theories of Cognitive Development


Cognitive development is a discipline of psycholinguistics that explores children’s brain’s functioning with respect to data interpretation, conceptualization capacity, aesthetic competence, literacy development, and other essentials of adult brain function. There are radical differences in how kids and adults evaluate their conscious existence, such as object permanence, awareness of logical linkages, and aggravate awareness in school-age children. Cognitive growth is concerned with how individuals perceive, reason, and comprehend their environment due to biological and learning variables. Reasoning, intellect, language, and memory are all stages in the evolution of cognitive deficits. When a newborn is roughly 18 months old, cognition commences, and children begin engaging in active play with objects, reacting to their parents as they speak, watching television, and indulging in any activity that piques their attention.

The cognitive theory of Piaget

Based on his premise that children have remarkable cognitive skills, which he evaluated, Piaget defined four distinct intellectual development durations. He saw how children’s cognitive skills developed at each level through participating in various activities, constructing sentences out of words, thinking rationally, and inferencing. Cognitive growth, according to Piaget, is the steady reformation of subjective experiences that transpires due rational development and ecological contact (Huang, 2021). He hypothesized that kids learn about their world by encountering discrepancies between what they currently know and new information they encounter in their everyday lives; this aids in the modification of their interpretations. According to this view, cognitive development remains at the center of human anatomy, and language awareness and comprehension are dependent on it. Piaget’s insights are practically relevant in child-centered courses and “open learning.”

Information processing theory

Developmental psychologists use the information processing technique to explain conceptual capacity in ployment in fundamental parts of a child’s mind. The notion is founded on the premise that humans digest the information rather than just reacting to stimuli. This viewpoint examines how the mind functions similarly to a computer does. In this regard, the mind is analogous to a biological computer in that it evaluates data from the outside world. According to the classic information-processing model for social well-being, the mind’s “machinery” nature contains attention mechanisms for bringing data in, memory performance for actively simulating content, and a great memory for neutrally retaining ideas for future use. This idea explains how children develop through time, improving their capacity to comprehend and react to sensory stimuli.

Vygotsky’s Cognitive Development Theory 

This hypothesis recognizes cognitive abilities influenced by cultural factors and are socially guided and created. As a result, culture is thought to significantly impact cognitive abilities, including learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving in children. Furthermore, it is thought that culturally specific tools have a significant impact on how young people structure and perceive the world. Nonetheless, the theoretical ideas presented in this theory are part of the constructivism foundation and have had a significant impact on the restructuring of formal educational settings.


There are parallels between Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s theories; for example, both Piaget and Vygotsky are constructivist thinkers. However, Vygotsky is regarded as social constructivism’s major forerunner. Both think that children are active learners who arrange new information in accordance with prior knowledge to build patterns. As a result, Piaget and Vygotsky asserted that knowledge is developed in each individual rather than being absorbed from natural stimuli and responses (Huang, 2021). Furthermore, both models claim that cognitive development diminishes as children become older and that controversy is the catalyst for cognitive development.


According to Piaget, long-term development determines a child’s learning potential. It commences in the first few years when a child’s emotions are self-centered and relies on their proprioceptive environmental influences. When it comes to responding or relating to their surroundings, the child’s language abilities are restricted at first, limiting their ability to learn in the traditional education setting. As a child grows, his or her linguistic abilities improve, making him or her more “task-oriented” and receptive to learning. However, regardless of a child’s age, his or her capacity to learn is contingent on the child’s developmental stage.

On the other hand, Vygotsky and other social constructivists emphasized the importance of social contact in a child’s development. As a result, language and discourse are regarded as primary, and development follows—the absolute opposite of Piaget’s method. Because a child’s fundamental language skills are lacking, interactions should be scaffolded by more experienced specialists who can create a formative assessment in their discussions and other interactions. Parents, for example, are typically the consultants; as the teen years pass, the consultants may include specialists.


Children’s cognitive development impacts their attention span and their capacity to observe and understand varying events effectively. The discussed cognitive development theories are significant because they contribute to children’s mental development knowledge. The theories emphasize that children’s brains are not only passive information consumers. Instead, their perception of reality is shaped by their interactions, which they pursue via persistent inquiry and experimentation.


Huang, Y. C. (2021, May). Comparison and contrast of Piaget and Vygotsky’s Theories. In 7th International Conference on Humanities and Social Science Research (ICHSSR 2021) (pp. 28-32). Atlantis Press.


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