Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development - Assignment 1.
Our thinking changes drastically, though slowly, from our birth to our maturity because we constantly strive to make sense of the world. According to Piaget, four factors interact to influence changes in our thinking over our lives. These factors are biological maturation, activity, social experiences, and equilibrium. Piaget concluded that we inherit two basic tendencies, or invariant functions. Organization is the combining and averaging then recombining and rearranging of thoughts and behaviors into a more coherent system. Adaption is the tendency to adjust thoughts and behaviors to the environment.
Piaget described our organized system of thought allowing us to mentally represent objects and events of our world, as schemes. These basic building clocks of thinking can be very small and very specific, like the "sucking on a straw" scheme or the "recognize and carnation" scheme. The simple structures are continuously combined and coordinated to become larger and more general like the "drinking scheme" or a "categorizing plants" scheme. In addition to the tendency to organize our psychological structures, we also inherit a tendency to adapt to our environment. The basic processes of adaption are assimilation and accommodation.
Assimilation is a process of trying to comprehend some things new by fitting it into our existing schemes. Using our existing schemes to make sense of our world sometimes distorts the new information; like calling a skunk a kitty the first time a child sees a skunk.
Accommodation occurs when information cannot fit into any existing schemes and new scheme structures must be developed. We change our existing schemes to adjust our thinking to fit the new data, instead of adjusting the new data to fit our thinking (assimilation).
Two strengths of Piaget's theory are matching problem solving and knowledge construction.