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Jean Piaget – Theory of Cognitive Development


Jean Piaget was born on the 9th August 1896 and died on the 16th September 1980 in Geneva in Switzerland. He was born in Neuchâtel in Switzerland. In 1918 Piaget spent a semester studying psychology at the University of Zürich. This is where Piaget developed a further interest in psychoanalysis. Throughout the year he also studied abnormal psychology at the Sorbonne in Paris. After he had finished university he had a career in child psychology. During this time, he identified four stages of mental development:

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Sensorimotor (Birth -18/24 months)

Preoperational (18/24 months – 7 years)

Concrete operational (7 to 12 years)

Formal operational (Adulthood)

( online/ 2017)

Strengths of Piaget’s Theory

He changed how people view and study children.

He focuses on child development in stages which helps explain a child’s thought processes and lets teachers and parents to understand a child’s developmental level.

Weaknesses of Piaget’s Theory

The theory does not apply to students with a disability who may be considered as late developers.

In many of his early studies Piaget used his children as participants. He only used a small sample of people and many were only from a middle-class background. This makes his research was biased.

( online/ 2017)


John Bowlby – Theory of Emotional Development

Edward John Mostyn Bowlby was born on 26th February 1907 in London and died on 2nd of September 1990. He was born into an upper-middle-class family and was raised by a nanny in a family of six. His parents believed that too much parental affection and attention would spoil a child and would only spend a small amount of time with him each day. Aged seven, Bowlby was sent to boarding school, which he later described as a traumatic experience. Bowlby studied psychology at Trinity College in Cambridge. He went on to study medicine at the University College Hospital in London and registered in the Institute for Psychoanalysis. When he graduated he began working at the Maudsley Hospital as a psychoanalyst. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II. In 1938, he got married to a woman named Ursula Longstaff and together they had four children. Bowlby became Director of the Tavistock Clinic after the war and in 1950 he became a mental health consultant to the World Health Organization.

( online/ 2017)


Strengths of Bowlby’s Theory

The theory was representative of the culture of the time.

The maternal deprivation hypothesis has had impact upon how we treat children

Weaknesses of Bowlby’s Theory

The theory is outdated

There is evidence to suggest a sensitive period rather than a critical one.


Noam Chomsky – Theory of Language Development

Noam Chomsky was born on the 7th December 1982 in Philadelphia and is still alive today. Chomsky earned a PhD in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1955, he has been a professor at MIT and has produced ground-breaking, controversial theories on human linguistic capacity. Chomsky is widely published, both on topics in his field and on issues of dissent and U.S. foreign policy. Chomsky was a brilliant child, and his interests and intelligence were kindled significantly by his early experiences. He was raised with a younger brother named David, although his family was middle class, he witnessed prejudices all around him. Elsie Chomsky whom is his mother, had been active in the radical politics of the 1930s. His father, William, a Russian Jewish immigrant like his mother, was a respected professor of Hebrew at Gratz College, an institution for teacher’s training.


Strengths of Chomsky’s Theory

Children all learn at approximately the same rate no matter what language they speak.

Children would correct adults if they spoke grammatically incorrect.

Weaknesses of Chomsky’s Theory

Social interactions play an important part

People with downs syndrome have language that is frequently delayed

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