Language and Cognition Theories of Cognitive Development Cognitive development refers to the change in children’s patterns of thinking as they grow older. Jean Piaget’s Stage Theory The scientist best known for research on cognitive development is Jean Piaget (see pages 72– 75), who proposed that children’s thinking goes through a set series of four major stages. Piaget believed that children’s cognitive skills unfold naturally as they mature and explore their environment. Lev Vygotsky’s Theory of Sociocultural Influences Psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that children’s sociocultural environment plays an important role in how they develop cognitively. In Vygotsky’s view, the acquisition of language is a crucial part of cognitive development. After children acquire language, they don’t just go through a set series of stages. Rather, their cognitive development depends on interactions with adults, cultural norms, and their environmental circumstances. Private Speech
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