Difference between Assimilation & Accommodation


Assimilation and accommodation are two important processes that contribute to cognitive development in human beings. Assimilation can be likened to the absorption of cultural influences, while accommodation is the act of adapting to new information. Although these concepts overlap, it is important to understand the differences between assimilation and accommodation.


Assimilation occurs when individuals encounter unfamiliar information and adapt to it. For example, a baby knows how to handle a rattle by putting it in their mouth. However, when presented with a hard object like a mobile phone, the baby learns to handle it differently. This new method of handling the object is an example of assimilation, as the baby incorporates it into their existing understanding. Another example of assimilation is when a country is invaded, and the local population absorbs the culture and customs of the conquerors. Assimilation involves fitting new ideas and concepts alongside pre-existing ones to make sense of the world.


Accommodation is the complementary process to assimilation. It occurs when individuals need to adjust their existing understanding to make sense of new information. Continuing with the example of a dog, a child who has only seen friendly and playful dogs at home may be frightened when they encounter an aggressive dog outside. The child must alter their existing schema of a dog to include aggressive behavior to fully understand the concept. Accommodation involves changing pre-existing ideas to accommodate new and unexpected information.


Children use both assimilation and accommodation to expand their knowledge and understand the world around them. Assimilation is more active during the early stages of development as children can easily fit new objects into their existing mental images. Accommodation becomes more prominent in later stages of development, when children are able to incorporate new concepts due to their cognitive development. Both processes are essential for cognitive growth and understanding.


1. Assimilation and accommodation are important processes for cognitive development in human beings.
2. Assimilation is the process of adapting new information to fit existing schemas or concepts.
3. Accommodation is the process of altering pre-existing schemas or concepts to make sense of new information.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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