Compare and contrast Piaget's and Festinger's cognitive theories of motivation.

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Piaget and Festinger explored (different aspects) cognitive theory which researches the connection between an individual's mental capacities and their ability to construct meaning from experiences, thus clarifying the world around them. According to Piaget children develop 'schemas' a sort of building blocks that allow children to either 'assimilate' new experiences into what is already understood or 'accommodate' a new experience by altering an existing schema. Festinger's theory focused on the paradoxial elements of cognition mainly in adults. Referred to as Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Festinger suggests that although an individual has the knowledge that what they do is not good for them, for example, someone who does harmful drugs knowing they can die alters their belief to...but I probably won't die to make what they do 'fit' into their cognition and behavior. For Festinger, cognitive dissonance is the result of a psychological need, not a logical one. Piaget would argue that in his theory the assimilation/accommodation motif support cognitive consonance, a connectivity where as in Festinger's theory the individual desires a disconnect.


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