Cognitive development is a psychological research that focuses on the growth of mental faculties and the ability to think and understand from births to adult age. As we know, Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was the first systematic study of cognitive developments.
While Vygotsky criticizing Piaget’s theory and provides new information on cognitive development by introduce Social-Cultural Theory. The similarities of both theories are, both of them had the same goal to understand the mental development which both of them believe it’s all started with a conflict and over time, cognitive development will decrease. Also, they believe that language plays important roles in cognitive development, but from different perspective. Piaget believed that in a mental development of a child, they formulate their own knowledge by giving meaning to things, people and places which they can acquire through their own experience and activities. Thus, Piaget’s theory deals with cognitive development through universal stages which the child goes through once and divided into four (4) stages; sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operations and concrete operations. On the other hand, Vygotsky believe that there are no such stages since children are an active seeker of knowledge that they construct knowledge through social interaction with others around them such as adults (family members) and peers. As each culture is different, therefore it cannot be generalized with one another.
Piaget believed language is a result of cognitive development. He believes that the cognitive changes will precede linguistic advance. In his theory also, he stated that private talk is an egocentric speech or immature and it will be disappeared as it does not adapt to adult intelligence. Vygotsky said that language is the key to the cognitive development. Thus, he acknowledges the importance of private talk which he considered it to be self-directed regulation and communication. He believed that a child will first encompass others speech into their personal knowledge and then use the private speech to solve tasks.
He later reinterpret this theory into The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) which he believes that intellectual development is the ability to use thought to control our actions, but we must master cultural communication systems, and then use it to regulate our mental process.