Cognitive Change

Posted on: 9th May 2023


This assignment requires research for ‼️at least two references in addition to the text‼️. Assignment papers are to be a minimum of 500 words not including the title page or reference page. Be sure to use correct grammar and APA format.

Compare and contrast Piaget’s, Vygotsky’s, and the Information Processing theory’s approach to the mechanisms of cognitive change (i.e., Piaget: disequilibrium, cognitive conflict, equal-status peer discussion, change through self-discovery, opportunities to practice new schema; Vygotsky: guidance by more knowledgeable person in ZPD assisting with things child can’t do independently, increasing internalization of self-guidance, reliance; Information Processing: selective attention, automaticity/fluency; transfer of skills, metacognition).

The text is
Rathus, S. A. (2020). HDEV. (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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Cognitive Change

Cognitive changes can be described as changes to one’s mental abilities due to external factors such as physical injuries, substance abuse, and the environment (, 2022). These are changes in behavior and skills through different stages of a child's life.

There are different theories used to approach the mechanisms of cognitive development. Some of the most popular approaches include Piaget's, Vygotsky's, and the information processing theories. They have similarities and differences in understanding how cognitive development occurs in a child. They describe how cognitive development occurs throughout a child's life.

 According to Piaget’s theory, discovery learning can be described as a process involving different stages of life. Apart from knowledge, the cognitive development of a child also includes developing a mental perception of the world. Cognitive development comes before learning, which the child initiates (Rathus, S. A., 2020). Children learn through observation of the world around them during the different stages of life, and their cognitive behavior changes based on this. Interaction with peers affects how a child processes information and develops schemas (Cherry, 2020).

According to Vygotsky, cognitive development comes after learning (Topçiu and Myftiu, 2015). The theory argues that a person's cognitive functions are affected by the culture a person is exposed to. It argues that the socio-cultural environment affects the child's cognitive development by increasing their internal self-guidance and reliance. He also argued that language is the key to social interaction.

The two theories assert that cognitive development has to be preceded by learning. A child observes the world around them and learn. The child then develops behaviors and abilities based on what they know (Rathus, S. A., 2020).

The other theory used to approach mechanisms of cognitive change is the information processing theory. It focuses on how children process information from their surrounding (Rathus, S. A., 2020). Unlike Piaget's approach, the information processing theory argues that cognitive change occurs in five areas: attention, memory, processing speed, organization, and metacognition. It also asserts that cognitive development involves learning and is affected by the environment to which a person is exposed. According to the theory, a child's cognitive abilities improve as they grow due to self-discovery and external factors (Rathus, S. A., 2020).

The three theories argue that cognitive development involves learning and observing one’s surroundings. They all hold that a child learns things around them and develops different mental abilities from the things they know. A child's environment affects their cognitive abilities, behaviors, and interactions. Internalization, transfer of skills, and fluency can be developed through interaction with other people.

However, there are differences in how the theories approach cognitive change. Vygotsky's theory argues that other people assist cognitive development in the zone of proximal development. In contrast, Piaget's and the information processing theories assert that development comes mostly through self-discovery. Vygotsky's theory mainly approaches the mechanisms of cognitive change through socio-cultural aspects, while the other two approaches are based on self-awareness and discovery learning.




Cherry, Kendra. (2020). The four stages of cognitive development. Verywell Mind. (2022). Cognitive problem symptoms, causes, and effects.

Topçiu, M., and Myftiu, J. (2015). Vygotsky's theory on social interaction and its influence on the development of pre-school children. European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research2(3), 172-179.

Rathus, S. A (2020). Human Lifespan Development. Cengage, 6th edition, 86-91.


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