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Equilibration

Developmental theorists make a distinction between developmental states and developmental mechanisms. Developmental states are chronologically arranged snapshots of children's skill levels at particular points in time. An example of a sequence of developmental states would be the four stages of cognitive development that were proposed by Jean Piaget in his classic theory (i.e., sensori-motor, preoperations, concrete operations, formal operations). As children enter a new stage, they acquire a new set of skills and move to a new level of performance. Developmental mechanisms, in contrast, are the factors that are used to explain children's progression through developmental states (i.e., why a child progresses from one state to another in a sequence). The primary developmental mechanism in Piaget's theory is called equilibration. Equilibration pertains to restoring the ...

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