Egocentric Speech: Piaget & Vygotsky

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Freud's Phallic Stage of Development

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 1:13 Piaget's View
  • 2:08 Vygotsky's View
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

In this lesson, we define egocentric speech and take a look at its role in child development. We also compare Piaget and Vygotsky's viewpoints on egocentric speech.


According to the developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, children between the ages of three and five go through a stage called egocentrism. The term egocentrism refers to a child's inability to understand another person's point of view; in other words, he or she believes that other children feel, think, and experience life as they do. In many cases, children also take part in egocentric speech. Egocentric speech involves a child talking to him or herself for self-guidance, usually through an activity.

For example, a four-year-old girl may say things aloud when playing on her own or explain what she is doing, as if she was talking to someone. If playing with a doll, she might say something like: 'Now I am going to take you to the table.' If stacking blocks, the four-year-old may say: 'See, I'm putting one block on this one.'

Both Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist and the father of cultural-historical psychology, had similar ideas about the cognitive and social development of children. However, when it came to egocentric speech in children, they had very different views.

Piaget's View

Piaget was the first in his field to coin the term 'egocentric speech' in relation to the egocentric stage of child development, which he shared in his 1923 book, The Language and Thought of the Child. In Piaget's opinion, children weren't born with the ability to relate to others, but instead focused solely on themselves.

Piaget believed that when children talked to themselves, they did it for self-centered purposes and without taking others and their thoughts into consideration. According to Piaget, because children don't really communicate with peers, they resort to talking to themselves. As described by Piaget, egocentric speech is associated with immaturity, a sign that a child is at the point in his or her development where he or she has not yet learned how to interact with others. Therefore, the tendency towards egocentric speech would fade away as the child increased in maturity.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account