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Cognitive Theories: Piaget, Cooperation, and Conflict

Diposting oleh belajarpsikologi on 26 November 2010
According to Jean Piaget (1926), cognitive development depends on activity in which the individual coordinates perceptions and ideas and overcomes contradictions. Many experiences contribute to these developments, including those that occur during cooperation between the child and other children. Cooperation, however, inevitably exposes the child to views that differ from his or her own, forcing a cognitive rapprochement. Cooperative and other social interactions with children, in contrast to those with adults, involve declarations, asking questions, exchanging information, working together, argument, objection,
persuasion, and comparison. In order for cognitive development to occur through collaboration, “partners [must] have a common language and system of ideas and use reciprocity in examining and adjusting for differences in their opinions” (Rogoff, 1998, p. 685).

Children’s reflections on these interpersonal conflicts produce cognitive conflict within each individual. These conflicts, in turn, motivate a “coordination of understandings.” Most important, these new views or ideas are produced by the children as individuals, and are not shared or consensual cognitions. Conflicts with adults, according to these ideas, are resolved differently—usually with the child yielding to the adult’s point of view, simply because children recognize that adults have greater knowledge about the world than they do. Peer interaction, in contrast, forces children to coordinate or restructure their own views, an activity that is necessary to the permanence of the cognitive advance (Piaget, 1932).
Cognitive development through social exchanges with other children is constrained in the early years by limitations in both language and thought: Both their linguistic limitations and egocentric views of the world mean that young children are not often susceptible to social influence. So, the conflict-induced changes deriving from “equilibration” (as described here) occur most readily among children who can sustain logical argument and discussion with others whose viewpoints differ from their own. 


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