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Step 1: Answer the following question in paragraph format, using at least 200 words.

How can the information-processing approach be compared to Piaget’s theory?

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The information processing approach analyzes how children manipulate information, monitor it and create strategies for handling it. It is demonstrated by using a computer metaphor: A computer’s information processing is limited by its hardware and software. The hardware limitations include the amount of data the computer can process, its capacity, and speed. The software limits the kind of data that can be used as input, and the ways that data can be manipulated. Like the computer metaphor, the information processing approach suggests that children will have limitations in their thinking abilities throughout their development and they can only hold so much information at one time. Although Piaget’s theory says that development occurs through 4 distinct stages and the information processing approach leans more towards a continuous pattern of development, their theories are similar in that they both believe that children can only hold so much information at one time and that it lessens the younger the child is. Their theories both explain how children process information and experiences and they both believe that children learn things on their own and direct their own cognitive development.


The information processing approach analyzes how children manipulate information, monitor it, and create strategies for handling it. Children’s cognitive development results from their ability to overcome processing limitations by increasingly executing basic operations, expanding information processing capacity, and acquiring new knowledge and strategies.

The information processing approach can be compared with Piaget’s theory in several ways. They both emphasize that children actively grow. Some aspects of the information processing approach are constructivist, like Piaget’s theory. This means that children direct their own cognitive development. They both emphasize that current knowledge can lead to development of new knowledge. Piaget’s theory emphasizes schemes, assimilation and accommodation, and organization. The information processing approach emphasizes encoding, automaticity, strategy construction, and metacognition. Both of the theories provide specific ways that children go about developing cognitively, involving organization and building on prior knowledge. Both emphasize a biological approach in the sense that certain development occurs over time and age span, and brain development is consecutive with cognitive development. Current experiences and learning lead to new ideas and realizations. The theories differ because Piaget’s approach occurs in stages with transition periods; the information processing approach is a consecutive flow. Regardless, both emphasize that in order for knowledge to expand children have to use their current resources and brain capacity.

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