Psychology 2410A/B Chapter 6: Chapter 6.docx

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Because piaget viewed children as discovering, or constructing, virtually all knowledge about their world through their own activity, his theory is described as a constructivist approach to cognitive development. The stages provide a general theory of development, in which all aspects of cognition change in an integrated fashion, following a similar course. The stages are invariant; they always occur in a fixed order, and no stage can be skipped. The stages are universal; they are assumed to characterize children everywhere. According to piaget, specific psychological structures called schemes - organized ways of making sense of experience - change with age; first schemes are sensorimotor action patterns. In piaget"s theory, two processes account for this change from sensoriotor to representational schemes and for further changes in representaitonal schemes from childhood to adulthood: adaptation and organization. Piaget"s term for this back-and-forth movement between equilibrium and disequilibrium is equilibration; each time equilibration occurs, more effective schemes are produced.