Two human growth and development theories that are supported by research are Bandura’s Social-Cognitive Learning Theory and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. The Social-Cognitive Learning Theory asserts that learning comes from watching the behaviors of others. When a behavior is perceived to be rewarding, children imitate said behavior (Feldman, 2014). An example of this is children who observe others laughing in delight while playing with a certain toy. The children who observe this will be more likely to play with the same toy. This theory explains commercials seen during the holiday season displaying similar scenarios. Children see and they learn to imitate. As opposed to Operant and Classical Conditioning, Social-Cognitive Learning Theory involves thought process in learning behavior.
“No single person has had a greater impact on the study of cognitive development than Jean Piaget” (Feldman, 2014, p. 19). Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development involves fixed stages of thinking. In each stage, thinking increases in quantity and quality. Thinking is categorized in what Piaget called schemes. In each scheme, he attributed assimilation and accommodation to changes in thought patterns. When a baby hears a dog bark and then points at a cow and says, “Woof”, the baby is assimilating the dog’s characteristics to the cow. However as the stage progresses, the toddler will learn to accommodate. He will learn that while both animals have four legs and fur, they are different. Assimilation and accommodation occur interchangeably throughout cognitive development. While Piaget’s Cognitive Theory is a cornerstone in developmental theories, there are questions. Researchers have found that some skills are acquired earlier that Piaget asserted. Also, the time frame of cognitive development has been found to be related to culture, and not as clear cut as Piaget presented it. (Feldman, 2014).
One theory that has continued to be examined, but has no empirical...
References: Feldman, R. S. (2014). Development across the life span (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Roehlkepartain, E., King, P., Wagener, L., & Benson, P. (2005). The handbook of spiritual
development in childhood and adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.
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