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THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO DEVELOPMENT 1 Theoretical Approaches to Development The early stages of a child's development play a significant role in determining the future personality of the child. Furthermore, the environment and people who interact with a growing child influence the outcome of every stage of development. Psychologists have researched the theoretical approaches to human development. This study focuses on the behavioral, cognitive, and social learning theories of development. According to Vargas (2017), Skinner’s behavior learning theory is based on operant conditioning of environmental influences. The theory deals with observable behavior and states that a child’s philosophical foundations of development are based on three meta-features which are the reaction to stimuli, rewards, and punishment. Skinner also illustrates that both positive and negative reinforcement shapes the behaviors of a child. Contrastingly, Jean Piaget advanced the theory of Cognitive Development to determine how children acquire knowledge and to understand children’s nature of intelligence and their response to the surroundings (Berk, 2017). Notably, cognitive development refers to the initiation of thought processes throughout growth. It can be said to be a product of biological maturation and the surroundings. It involves recalling, making decisions, solving problems, hindrances and selfidentification from childhood to adulthood. Piaget’s theory focused on four cognitive deve ...
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