Compare and contrast two developmental theories of

Topics: Jean Piaget, Intelligence, Theory of cognitive development Pages: 7 (2310 words) Published: February 1, 2008
Compare and contrast two developmental theories of intelligence Intelligence is a complex psychological construct and promotes fierce debate amongst academics. Many experts maintain that intelligence is the most important aspect of individual differences, whereas other doubt its value as a concept. At one extreme many claim that individual differences in intelligence depend upon genetic factors, and at the other many argue that environmental factors account for it. In this essay I will compare and contrast two developmental theories of intelligence, with the work of Piagets account for developmental intelligence and Mike Andersons theory of developmental intelligence.

Piaget suggested that intelligence is a form of adaptation wherein knowledge is constructed by each individual through the complimentary processes of assimilation and accommodation. Piaget theorised that as children interact with their physical and social environments, they organise information into groups of interrelated ideas called ?schemes?. When children encounter something new, they must either assimilate it into an existing scheme or create an entirely new scheme to deal with it. It must be noted that Piaget began his studies during a pioneering era; he was free to conceive of intelligence in terms of his unique perspective. (Ginsburg 1969).

A central focus of Piaget?s Epistemology is that increasingly complex intellectual processes are built on the primitive foundations laid in earlier stages of development. An infant?s physical explorations of his environment form the basis for the mental Representations he develops as a preoperational child, and so on. Another important principle of Piaget?s stage theory is that there are genetic constraints inherent in the human organism ? you can challenge a child to confront new ideas but you cannot necessarily ?teach? him out of one stage and into another according to Piaget. Moreover, a child cannot build new, increasingly complex schemes without interacting with his environment; nature and nurture are inexorably linked. Piaget maintained that children were mini-scientists, who are active participants within the world, Piaget (1973) discusses: ?Intelligence does not by any means appear at once deprived from mental development, like a higher mechanism, and radically distinct from those, which have preceded it. Intelligence presents, on the contrary, a remarkable continuity with the acquired or even inborn processes on which it depends and at the same time makes use of? (Piaget p21) Piaget argued that intellectual development occurs quantitatively in four distinct stages such as: the sensori-motor, the preoperational, the concrete Operational and the Formal Operational stages. The sensorimotor stage begins at birth, and lasts until the child is approximately two years old. At this stage, the child cannot form mental representations of objects that are outside his immediate view, so his intelligence develops through his motor interactions with his environment. The Preoperational stage typically lasts until the child is 6 or 7. According to Piaget, this is the stage where true ?thought? emerges. Preoperational children are able to make mental representations of unseen objects, but they cannot use deductive reasoning. The Concrete operations stage follows, and lasts until the child is 11 or 12. Concrete operational children are able to use deductive reasoning, demonstrating conservation of number, and can differentiate their perspective from that of other people. Lastly the Formal operations stage is the final stage. Its most salient feature is the ability to think abstractly (Piaget 1963).

Attempts have been made to correlate performance on Piagetian conservation tasks with standardised intelligence test scores, and the results have been mixed. Ultimately, an intelligence test built on a Piagetian framework would have to function very differently from intelligence tests like the Wechsler or the...
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