Epistemology Project Essay

3477 words - 14 pages

AbstractCognitive development refers to the way an infant perceives, thinks, and gains an understanding of his/her world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors like processing, reasoning, language development, and memory (Theory of development, 2009). This has been studied by many theorists (Erickson, Piaget, Vygotsky, etc) in various ways that all contribute to our understanding of how children develop. One example of an issue debated within this theory was the emergence of the intelligence quotient, or IQ test, brought on by Lewis Terman.Historical Development of Cognitive TheoryHistorically, positive reinforcement was developed by efforts of cognitive therapists and philosophers. Its roots can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy, Stoicism. "Stoicism is essentially a system of ethics which, however, is guided by logic as theory of method, and rests upon physics as foundation" (Stoicism, 2006). Stoicism is concerned with how we as human understand the events in our lives. Some of the more recent expansions in cognitive theories were developed by Albert Ellis: Rational-Emotional Theory (RET) and Aaron Beck: Collaborative Empiricism. Albert Ellis believed that man was responsible for his emotions and actions. Under Ellis's theory, illogical thoughts or maladaptive behaviors are the product of the mind needed to learn a new way or perspective. Aaron Beck's theory of Collaborative Empiricism supports the idea that "the way people feel and behavior is determined by how they structure their experience" (Parrott, 2003, p. 332). Realistic goals and outcomes are sought in this therapy.Positive reinforcement models were influenced by experiments conducted by B.F. Skinner. Through his experiments using lab rats, he recognized that behavior can be controlled by the use of positive and negative reinforcements. He believed that behavior can be changed or altered simply by offering rewards or consequences for non-desired behaviors.Major assumptions posited by cognitive developmentBoth Piaget and Vygotsky agreed that children's cognitive development took place in stages. (Jarvis, Chandler 2001 P.149). However they were distinguished by different styles of thinking. Piaget was the first to reveal that children reason and think differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that all children progress through four different and very distinct stages of cognitive development. This theory is known as Piaget's Stage Theory because it deals with four stages of development, which are Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational. (Ginsburg, 1979).Vygotsky was critical of Piaget's assumption that developmental growth was independent of experience and based on a universal characteristic of stages. Vygotsky believed that characteristics did not cease at a certain point as Piaget did. When one thing was learned, it was used from then on. It did not stop just because a child entered another stage of...

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