Cognitive development

Q. Continuity versus change is a grand issue of the developmental psychology. Examine what changes and what remains unchanged in a child’s cognition as he grow from infancy to adolescence. 10 marks

4 thoughts on “Cognitive development”

  1. One of the perspectives of development in psychology is continuity vs discontinuity. Some developmental psychologists see development as a continuous process wherein skills and knowledge are accumulated over time. The focus in this perspective is on quantity. For example, the theorists study the number of math problems a child can solve at various ages. Other theorists focus on the quality rather than quantity. They argue that development occurs in stages and there is a sudden change in a child’s reasoning abilities. For example, psychologists focus on the approach used by a child in solving a math problem at various stages than the number. Jean Piaget was a major advocate of discontinuity perspective.

    1. Nice effort.. The framework of answer is almost appropriate.
      You should analyse the Piaget’s theory at every stage for the continuity and change in the cognitive structure.

  2. “Continuity vs discontinuity” is one of the recurring conflicts in developmental psychology. Different psychologists have different opinions about the nature of the cognitive development.Some see cognitive development as a continuos process i.e. skills, knowledge and maturity is gained in continuity. Whereas some like Jean Piaget advocates that it occurs in stages.
    Stanford-Binet scale is one of the best example for continuos perspective. According to this scale child’s mental age is determined by the number of questions he answers correctly in the test. As the time passes child’s ability increases to answer more questions i.e mental age increases with respect to time which shows it is a continuos process.
    In case of discontinuos process cognitive development take place under a certain range of age i.e. it occurs in stages. For example according to Jean Piaget theory a child may not understand the principle of conservation in preoperational stage but would conceive it in concrete operational stage.

  3. Piaget’s theory of cognitive behaviour involves a grand issue of continuity Vs change in behavioural aspects of a child when he passes through different stages of life.
    When a child grows from infancy to adolescence certain cognitive behaviour like temperament , intelligence , and other potentials that are determined by heredity remain almost constant throughout .
    But some cognitive behaviours undergo profound changes as child’s mental capacity enlarges . For eg- for an infant ‘ out of sights is out of mind’ but a child develops object permanence. Infant and a child learn things by multiple reinforcement , like how to add , multiply ,etc. But an adolescent develops his own rational and logical way of learning. Also a child can only understand concrete ideas but an adolescent can delve into abstract ideas also. While a child has egocentrism, an adolescent can appreciate other’s perspective .
    In these subtle changes environment play a significant role. A good environment promotes positive cognitive abilities while poor surroundings inhibit them.

    Hence we can see that child’s cognition, mental processes and perspective of looking and then behaving accordingly changes . At the same time his biologically determined potentials of cognition defines a definite range in which he can develop.

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