Difference Between Assimilation and Accommodation

Main Difference

Both these terms accommodation and assimilation carry on diverse meaning as they are used in various fields, although here we will be differentiating them on the basis of their meaning and usage in the field of psychology. These terms revolve around the cognitive development, which is the studying of child’s development in terms of conceptual resources, information processing, language learning and others. As per Piaget’s theory about the intellectual growth and adaptation, assimilation and accommodation are two complementary process of adaptation. Assimilation is a type of adaptation process in which new information fits or exists along with the previously existing idea or schema, whereas accommodation is the type of adaptation process in which new idea replaces the previously existing idea or schema. Accommodation takes place when the previously held schema or idea gets outdated or remain of no worth, whereas in assimilation the new idea settles with the previous knowledge.

Comparison Chart

AssimilationAccommodation
DefinitionAssimilation is a type of adaptation process in which new information fits or exists along with the previously existing idea or schema.Accommodation is the type of adaptation process in which new idea replaces the previously existing idea or schema.
SchemaIn assimilation the new idea settles with the previously held knowledge or schema.Accommodation takes place when the previously held schema or idea gets outdated or remain of no worth.
TimeAssimilation is a gradual process.Accommodation is a process of sudden change.

What is Assimilation?

The terms assimilation is used in various field like sociology, psychology and neuroscience. In the fields of psychology and neuroscience it is seen as the complementary process of adaption according to the Piaget’s theory about the intellectual growth and adaptation in children. It is the type of adaptation process in which new information fits or exists along with the previously existing idea or schema. It would be known here that previously held idea is not dumped or isn’t outdated in this and remains the basis of knowledge with even adding the new information. In change in cultural prescriptive this term is used for deviation is culture of minority with respect to the majority. In assimilation minority loses the original features of their culture and adapts the new culture, even to that extent that it gets indistinguishable from the majority living in the society. Assimilation is the gradual process and the new idea fitting along with the previous gets a thumbs up after we think it of similar pattern or related to the already held knowledge. It might create a little confusion in the children when the new idea collides with the settled ideas but on the basis of it, they get a better compact understanding about anything or someone.

What is Accommodation?

In our daily lives we use this word as shelter or house, although when use it in psychology as one of the complementary process of adaptation in which the already held idea or schema is replaced by the total new and different idea. This happens when one child learning at initial changes gets to know the things that are exactly opposite to his ideas and thoughts about the certain thing. While thinking them outdated, child perceives or adopt this new idea and dismisses the previous one. The process of accommodation is the sudden change and it asks an individual to create a whole new image or idea about the particular thing. For instance, if a children has a dog as a pet, he/she might have schema that the four leg animal is called the dog, although when he sees horse, donkey and other animals, he dismisses the previous idea and set another schema to differentiate the dog from other 4-leg animals.

Assimilation vs. Accommodation

  • Assimilation is a type of adaptation process in which new information fits or exists along with the previously existing idea or schema, whereas accommodation is the type of adaptation process in which new idea replaces the previously existing idea or schema.
  • Accommodation takes place when the previously held schema or idea gets outdated or remain of no worth, whereas in assimilation the new idea settles with the previous knowledge.
  • Assimilation is the gradual process, whereas accommodation is the sudden change and it asks an individual to create a whole new image or idea about the particular thing.

Comparison Video

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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