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By Fredrick Norfleet
Friday, June 26, 2020
© FB. Norfleet Publishing
The Contribution of Classical Theorists to Contemporary Developmental Theorists:
Cognitive-Developmental and Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Jean Piaget's cognitive development theory is one of the most significant classical methods
of the science of the mind to help us understand children. His cognitive development theory
declares that children evolve through four phases of mental/cognitive development. The four
stages of the cognitive development theory are the sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years),
preoperational stage (2 to 7 years), concrete operational stage (7 to 11 years), and formal
operational stage (ages 12 and up). For example, Piaget's cognitive development theory helps us
understand that "pretend play is more an index than a promoter of development. Around eighteen
months, the semiotic function begins to develop, creating imitation and language (Lillard, Lerner,
Hopkins, Dore, Smith, & Palmquist, 2013, P. 1). Therefore the semiotic function permits the child to
break away ideas, memories, and objects from reality.
There is a significant strength in Piaget's stage theory. Piaget's theory established
qualitative (measured using numbers) development stages. The ability to measure cognitive
development stages with the age of children is valuable. For example, using Piaget's theory,
learning institutions can develop educational programs based on the learner's age (qualitative
variable), at levels appropriate for the learner. However, there is a significant limitation of Piaget's
theory. The weakness of Piaget's approach is his research method. For example, Piaget used his
own three children to conduct is research observation, limiting the research population sample. As
psychological scholar-practitioners, we now know, sample size impacts research findings.
"Infinitesimal samples undermine the internal and external validity of a study" (Faber, & Fonseca,
2014, P. 1.).
In contrast to classical Cognitive-Developmental theories, Developmental cognitive
neuroscience is a contemporary theory of the science of the mind that helps us understand
cognitive development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience considers brain structure, function,
and organization. Developmental cognitive neuroscience has identified that a high level of calcium
in the blood and uring causes Williams syndrome. Williams syndrome is a neurodevelopmental
genetic disorder that disturbs learning and development. For example, developmental cognitive
neuroscientists discovered, "children with Williams Syndrome performed poorly on the long-term
memory component when given a verbal learning task' (Bates, 2004, P. 1).
Lillard, A. S., Lerner, M. D., Hopkins, E. J., Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Palmquist, C. M. (2013).
The impact of pretend play on children's development: A review of the evidence.
Psychological Bulletin, 139(1), 1–34. https://doi-
Faber, J., & Fonseca, L. M. (2014). How sample size influences research outcomes. Dental press
journal of orthodontics, 19(4), 27–29. https://doi.org/10.1590/2176-9451.19.4.027-029.ebo
Bates, E. A. (2004). Explaining and interpreting deficits in language development across clinical
groups: Where do we go from here? Brain and Language, 88(2), 248–253. https://doi-