Difference in Cognitive Characteristics of Individuals
46). Piaget's theory is based on organization and adaptation (Turner and Helms, 1991, p. 26). Organization refers to an ability to order and classify new experiences, while adaptation enables an individual to understand the surrounding environment. Adaptation occurs through the functioning of the mental processes of assimilation and accommodation (Turner and Helms, 1991, pp. 2627). Assimilation involves the perception and interpretation of new information within the context of existing knowledge and understanding. Accommodation is a more advanced process that involves the restructuring of mental organization in order to include new information.

Assimilation and accommodation, along with equilibration and functional assimilation, are stageindependent conceptions in Piaget's cognitive theory of human development (Lerner, 1991, pp. 246250). Equilibration refers to the balance between the action of an organism on its environment and the action of the environment on the organism. Functional assimilation is the concept that explains why human development continues after equilibration has been attained.

Cognitive theory incorporates some aspects of behavioral theory. An assumption central to cognitive theory is that an individual's emotional and behavioral responses to events in one's life are greatly influenced by one's own inte

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