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Assimilation and Accomodation

The two processes that are involved in every interaction are assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation means gaining some knowledge and making it fit in with what you already know. This is a necessity in order to develop our cognitive structures. This is a process that everyone encounters even though they may not be aware of when it is happening. Our perceptions of things are enhanced when something of the outside world is assimilated or added into our internal world. Accommodation is the changing of one’s structure of thought. During this process, the gaining of new knowledge fails to co-exist with what we already know. Therefore, we must accommodate or adjust our previous way of thinking to maintain stability. These two processes interact to form a state of equilibrium.
Equilibrium is something we all strive to obtain because it is here that we are most confident with our state of being. The Piagetian model of equilibration displays how these two processes work together to reach a state of stability. When people gain new information, they are at a state of instability. This is when the two processes (assimilation and accommodation) are brought into effect. We use both of these techniques to maintain a state of equilibrium. With assimilation, equilibrium is established by returning to the original way of thinking with added knowledge. The only difference is that with accommodation the previous state of equilibrium is combined with an entirely new category. The model also demonstrates a third way of dealing with new information. By ignoring the information, no knowledge is gained, yet equilibrium is still maintained.
Assimilation and accommodation appear at certain stages of development. These two processes actually begin to occur within the first month of the child’s birth. This is during the first stage of the sensori-motor period. Assimilation is the most well known activity during this stage, but accom...

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