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Theory of cognitive development

Although there is no general theory of cognitive development, the most historically influential theory was developed by Jean Piaget, a Swiss Psychologist (1896-1980).

His theory provided many central concepts in the field of developmental psychology and concerned the growth of intelligence, which for Piaget, meant the ability to more accurately represent the world, and perform logical operations on representations of concepts grounded in the world.

The theory concerns the emergence and acquisition of schemata - schemes of how one perceives the world - in "developmental stages", times when children are acquiring new ways of mentally representing information.

The theory is considered "constructivist", meaning that, unlike nativist theories (which describe cognitive development as the unfolding of innate knowledge and abilities) or empiricist theories (which describe cognitive development as the gradual acquisition of knowledge through experience), it asserts that we construct our cognitive abilities through self-motivated action in the world.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Theory of cognitive development", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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