Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
There are five major theoretical and research orientations to understanding the development of cognition. These are Piaget's constructivist stage theory; sociocultural theory, particularly that of Vygotsky; Nativist theory; information-processing theory; and organismic-holistic and developmental systems theory. Jean Piaget (1896–1987) was the first person to advance a theory of children's cognitive development. Piaget believed that the goal of intelligence is to achieve a balanced, harmonious relation, known as cognitive equilibrium , between thought processes (cognitive structures) and the environment. Equilibration is the process of achieving this equilibrium. Cognitive disequilibrium refers to imbalances between children's thinking and the environment. Piaget viewed intelligence as active. Children are not passive recipients of information. Rather, they actively construct and reconstruct their knowledge of the world. The two factors, cognitive disequilibrium and the child's action and interaction with the physical environment, propel the cognitive system toward development of more advanced psychological structures. Intelligence is influenced by ...