Theories of Development. Paper Example

Published: 2023-01-30
Theories of Development. Paper Example
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  School Multiculturalism Child development Developmental psychology Cognitive development
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1005 words
9 min read

Discuss and explain how Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, Piaget's cognitive development theory, and the information-processing model account for cognitive development.

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As human beings grow, they experience various changes at different stages of their lifespan. Growth and development occur not only physically but also psychologically; the changes are age-related, and they occur in different capacities at each stage. To understand the development in early childhood to adulthood, various theories created by various psychologists on the topic should be analyzed.

According to Lev Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, cognitive development in children is improved by interactions with other people, especially those who are more skilled (Psychology Notes HQ, 2019). Consequently, cognitive development occurs after social learning, and children construct knowledge as they grow. According to Vygotsky's theory, children in the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) can perform a given task independently, but they often need help (Psychology Notes HQ, 2019). This zone confirms that in early stages, cognitive development is highly influenced by other people (either parent, teachers, siblings, or peers), who are more knowledgeable. Vygotsky described the temporary supportive help to enable children to accomplish a given task until they can do it independently as scaffolding (Psychology Notes HQ, 2019).

Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development focusses on the nature of intelligence and how children acquire knowledge. The theory suggested that in mental development, children go through four different stages; sensorimotor (between birth and two years), preoperational (between two to seven years), concrete operational (from seven to eleven years), and formal operational (from twelve years to adulthood) (Cherry, 2019). In the sensorimotor stage, children learn through movements sensory experiences. In the preoperational stage, children learn by using pictures and words to represent objects, since they think symbolically; additionally, they find it hard to view situations in other people's perspectives (Cherry, 2019). Consequently, children might find it hard to understand the opinions of others at this stage, and they are too confident of their logic. In the concrete operational stage, children start thinking more logically and organized; they reason from given information to a general principle (Cherry, 2019). Therefore, they become less egocentric and appreciate other people's ideas and opinions more. At the formal operational stage, adolescence begins; teens use deductive reasoning and think more about philosophical, moral, social, ethical, and political issues that require abstract reasoning (Cherry, 2019). Hence, in this stage, people are capable of seeking several solutions to problems systematically.

A three-year-old pre-schooler becomes frightened of the dark and refuses to go to sleep at night, preferring to stay up and watch television all night. How would a behaviorist, psychoanalyst, cognitivist, normative-crisis model of development, and timing-of events model and dynamic systems perspective explain this behavior and what solutions might they suggest?

A three-year-old is afraid of the dark and failing to sleep to watch the television throughout the night facing a fear, maybe from an imaginary figure, or a nightmare, or anxiety. Children tend to become more afraid of the dark when they develop a sense of imagination, but cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy (Hartfield, 2009). To conquer the fears, children need a distraction to occupy their minds, to make them less vulnerable to their imaginations. Hence, the kid afraid of darkness, also possibly afraid of being in his bed at night, uses the television as a tool to free his mind. The best opinion to respond to the problem is advising the parents to be supportive, respectful, communicate, and show the child that they understand his situation. According to Hartfield (2019), failing to listen to children when they are facing their first fear worsens their situation; instead, the parent can begin by giving the problem a name and proceed to make the child find it normal. However, the parent should not join the child for sleepovers; instead, the boy should be allowed to cope with the problem by himself. Nevertheless, bedtime soothing can help the boy to relax before he sleeps. Alternatively, the parent can investigate whether any family problems could be resulting in the problem.

Evaluate the claim that lifespan development theories are a sociocultural construction of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Are these theories relevant to all cultural groups? Can these theories be used to explain development across cultures, such as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Maori?

Lifespan development explores the determinants of the wellbeing of people while relating to developmental psychology's components of cognition, health, and relationships. The theories are essential since they shape people's understanding of what type of care is suitable for children. However, the theories involve different domains that vary with different cultural contexts ("Lifespan Development in an Educational Context," 2017). Therefore, different cultures perceive development theories differently and take them with varying complexity. Consequently, different nations follow different theories; for instance, children growing up in Non-Western countries are more consistent with the Vygotsky's ideas ("Lifespan Development in an Educational Context," 2017). People the Western culture and others from Non-Western handle various issues differently. For example, individuals from Western nations group items depending on their type, while others do it based on their function ("Lifespan Development in an Educational Context," 2017). Cultural reasons affect people's approach to judgments and problem solving; for some, logical tasks require hypothetical and abstract reasoning, rather than experience. On the other hand, others solve problems with solutions based on the culture ("Lifespan Development in an Educational Context," 2017). Hence, although people use different lifespan development theories, they impact their culture.

Different development theories help people to understand their growth at different stages, from childhood to adulthood. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory explains that as children grow, they learn through social interactions. Piaget's theory of cognitive development discusses how children acquire knowledge and the nature of intelligence. Lifespan development theories help to identify what determines the wellbeing of people from different cultures.


Cherry, K. (2019, May 20). What Are Piaget's Four Stages of Development? Retrieved from

Hartfield, H. (2009, August 6). How to Overcome Children's Fear of the Dark. Retrieved from

Psychology Notes HQ. (2019, June 30). Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from

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