1) Identify one area of the material that you believe should be in the exam, and present a coherent justification. Piaget emphasized that cognitive development is stage-liked and discontinuous. Some key ideas in Piaget theory are that children are curious and active learners, who organize what they have learnt from their experiences via assimilation and accommodation. It was stated that a limitation in Piaget’s theory was the possible underestimation of children’s cognitive capacities. As there are many existing research which challenge his theory, it is perhaps of worth to explore the limitation further and see to what extent did Piaget underestimate the cognitive capacities of children in the pre-operational stage? This will test one‘s understanding of Piaget’s theory. Furthermore, instead of simply forming our perceptions of children’s cognitive capacities based on Piaget theory, this will challenge students to read the existing research to have a more holistic and better understanding of the children’s cognitive capacities.
2) To what extent did Piaget underestimate the cognitive capacities of children in the pre-operational stage? Piaget acknowledged that children are able to use mental symbol to represent an object that is not physically present. Besides this accomplishment, Piaget focused on the deficiencies in the cognitive capacities of children. Firstly, Piaget believes that young children are egocentric and rely purely on their perceptual view to judge others perspectives. Piaget based this on a three-mountain test. However, 5 years old children can pass false belief tasks (Perner, 1988). According to Lidster & Bremner (1999), children respond correctly on simple perspective taking tasks. Children’s perspective-taking seems crucially dependent on task demands. The way the task is presented to children results in different answers and thus it is difficult to determine if child has possessed the ability. Since children are able to pass other...
References: Donaldson, M. (1974). Conservation accidents. Cognition, 3, 341-350.
Gelman, Rochel (1972), "The Nature and Development of Early Number Concepts," Advanced Child Development, 7, 115-167.
Lidster, W. & Bremner, J. G. (1999). Interpretation and construction of coordinate dimensions by 4- to 5-year-old children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17, 189-201.
Wimmer, H., & Perner, J. (1983). "Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children 's understanding of deception.". Cognition 13 (1): 103–128.
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