Research Paper: Cognitive Development
Since the 1950’s many researchers have been confirming Piaget’s theories. Other theorists who work in the area of cognitive development have been searching for different links between cognition and the structuring of concepts in order to explain cognitive growth. These theorists acknowledge the vast contribution of knowledge about intellectual development that has resulted from Piaget’s research. Writing about research into cognitive development, Flavellsuggested that: Piaget’s assimilation-accommodation model provides a valuable general conception of how people’s cognitive systems might interact with their external environments. It is also a particularly useful vehicle for thinking about cognitive development – that is, about how the child’s cognitive system might gradually evolve with maturation and experience.
Books that present detailed summaries and critiques of Piaget’s framework, while also posing questions about some aspects of Piaget’s model, and proposing modifications to some aspects of his theory, include John Flavell’s Cognitive Development, and Intelligence and Experience. Neo-Piagetian Jack Block, and Robbie Case, who wrote Intellectual Development, while sharing Piaget’s fundamental philosophy of genetic epistemology, emphasized the individual difference factor.
They also de-emphasized the specific age-related limitations proposed by Piaget, considering them too arbitrary. Aspects of cognitive development that are especially relevant to this study, and to understanding how preschool-aged children deal with a new and disturbing event in their lives, include assimilation, accommodation, and equilibrium.
These processes are described in the section on Piaget’s theory of intellectual development Equilibration is also an area where Jack Block posed an alternative theory on cognitive development. Piaget had suggested that, from ages two to seven years, though is always in a state of disequilibrium, or, at best, unstable equilibrium. Block suggested that, rather than a balance between assimilation and accommodation, equilibration can be achieved solely through assimilation, and that “the assimilative model has built-in priority over the accommodative mode”. Another theory about equilibration, or the lack of it, was noted by Flagella.
Hesitated that, according to Piaget, “states of cognitive conflict and disequilibrium impel the child to make cognitive progress. Flavell’s theory, however, suggested that when the child is presented with discrepant”unassimilable” data the child can only make cognitive progress if four prerequisites are present in relation to that problem. He wrote that the child would seem to need the ability to do four things in sequence, namely: