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Jean Piaget

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Nazmin Ali

on 7 October 2014

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Transcript of Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget

Cognitive Theory
Jean Piaget
Date of Birth: August 9, 1896
Date of Death: September 16, 1980
Psychologist Jean Piaget is known for identifying the four stages of mental development, called Schema. He has also established the fields of cognitive theory, development psychology, and evolutionary/genetic epistemology.
How he has furthered the discipline...
Assimilation and aCCOMmODATION
Four Stages of Mental Development
Field of Research
Piaget's ideas belonged to the school of "cognitive constructivism"
The "Spark" Part 1
Like other scientists, Piaget must have made some sort of observation which lead to the development of his question and thus, his research...

What could this "spark" to his research career have been?
Stage 1: Sensorimotor Stage (birth until 2 years old)
Children can think about things that they are not immediately experiencing
Children can perform complex operations, such as measurements, as long as the physical objects are present
He concluded that Julia's answers were completely consistent with the framework of the child's way of knowing

He wanted to develop a theory that would show how children come up with these types of answers. This theory would eventually be come to known as "Cognitive Theory"
Jean Piaget was born on August 9, 1896 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

He died on September 16, 1980 in Geneva, Switzerland.
A Brief Overview of Jean Piaget
Later studied zoology at the University of Neuchâtel and received his Ph.D in natural sciences in 1918 (age of 22)

Eventually developed a deeper interest in psychoanalysis and studied abnormal psychology at Sorbonne in Paris
Many of the discipline consider Piaget to have been a child prodigy
At age 11, he was attending Neuchâtel Latin High School
Contributions to the social sciences
His research in developmental psychology began as a result of his experience working at the Binet Institute

There, he developed french versions of English intelligence (IQ) tests.

When questioning children, he became interested with the reasoning they provided for their incorrect answers
The "Spark" Part 2
He believed that this revealed significant differences between the mindset of children and adults

Therefore, he became interested in how children develop the ability to learn
The "Spark" Part 3
Piaget often used interviews and observations to collect data

We will examine one of his most famous experiments where he asks children the question, "What makes the wind?"

Before that, what do you believe is the answer?
"So simple only a genius could have thought of it" - Albert Einstein
Piaget: What makes the wind?

Julia: The trees.

Piaget: How do you know?

Julia: I saw them waving their arms.

Piaget: How does that make the wind?

Julia: Like this (waving her hands in front of his face). Only they are bigger. And there are lots of trees.

Piaget: What makes the wind on the oceans?

Julia: It blows there from the land. No. It's the waves...
This dialogue is representative of the typical interview held between Piaget and the children

The sample he questioned (children of similar age groups) all provided similar answers

He recognized that these answers were incorrect, but correct, simultaneously
Below is a recorded interview held between Piaget (the questioner) and a 5 year old girl named Julia (the answerer)
Cognitive Theory
Recall: Cognition is the process by which we acquire, store and use knowledge

Piaget focused his research and theory upon the mental processes of perceiving, remembering, believing and reasoning

There are 3 parts to his theory...
1. Schema
2. Assimilation and Accommodation
3. Stages of Mental Development

We will focus mainly on the Stages of Mental Development
Cognitive Theory Part 2

Schema are a way of organizing knowledge and information. They are sets of linked mental representations of the world, or connections, which we use to understand and respond to situations
Cognitive Theory Part 3

Piaget viewed intellectual growth as a process of adaptation to the world

Assimilation - using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation

Accommodation - the need for an existing schema to be changed or altered to deal with a new object or situation

Equilibration - the force which moves development along and drives the learning force... occurs when a child's schema can deal with most new information through assimilation
Cognitive Theory Part 4

Piaget believed that cognitive development progressed in chunks, rather than at a steady rate

Noticed that mental development in children underwent similar periods in nature and timing....

Thus, he identified 4 different stages of mental development in children that progress with changes in the child's age

These stages are influenced by social experience...
Therefore socialization is important in mental development
Piaget's works, especially cognitive theory, had a large impact on the social science community, namely, the fields of psychology, sociology, genetics and education

He contributed to our understanding of cognitive development in children

His research demonstrated showcased that there are factors that can influence cognitive development including:

family culture
quality and quantity of formal schooling and training
mental conditions
emotional or physical trauma
Before his works, the generally accepted assumption in the social science community was that children are less competent thinkers than adults

His studies were significant in that they revealed that the way in which adults think in comparison to children are ENTIRELY different.
Many social scientist researchers question the validity and relativity of Piaget's research

He did not consider the possible effect of social setting and culture on cognitive development... he did not believe in isolating variables, but by keeping everything undisturbed and 'natural'
He created the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive theory and evolutionary/genetic epistemology (the study of the development of knowledge)

Identified key ideas to the cognitive development of children

Showed that social and psychological factors influence cognitive development

Introduced the idea that personality develops over time

Where and When He Lived:
Education and Recognition:
He gained early recognition in the academic world when he published a scientific paper on the sighting of an albino sparrow
Education and Recognition:
Stage 4: Formal Operational Stage (after age 12)
Infants have no sense of individuality

Babies begin to understand the world through direct experience (the senses and motor abilities)
Stage 2: Pre-operational Stage (age 2-7)
Can experience the world mentally by communicating through various forms like speech and print

Cannot understand the world through another's perspective
Stage 3: Concrete Operational Stage (age 7-12)
Can now understand concepts like weight, speed and amount
Learn to think of the world in terms of cause and effect
Can now understand things from multiple points of views
Children can finally understand abstract concepts and reason logically using available evidence to support different ideas
Imagine alternate possibilities to life
An increase in the number and capacity of schemata that a person has learned is what occurs in the development of mental processes

As a child gets older, their schema increase in number and complexity
Banyard, P. & Flanagan, C. (n.d.). Jean Piaget. OCR Psychology: AS Core Studies and
Psychological Investigations. Retrieved from http://books.google.ca/books?id=sdYPAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=jean+piaget+experiment+what+makes+the+wind&source=bl&ots=GJMQL_OqvS&sig=TYa0FC1pNsyiu9nO6dCl2Tj6KXM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Z7wiVO3JMdahyATblYL4CQ&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=jean%20piaget%20experiment%20what%20makes%20the%20wind&f=false
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University Press.
Jean Piaget. (2014). The Biography. Retrieved from
McLeod, S. (2009). Jean Piaget. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from
Oswalt, A. (n.d.). Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Seven Countries. Retrieved
from http://www.sevencounties.org/poc/view_doc.php?id=41157
Piaget, J. (1973). Main Trends in Psychology. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Papert, S. (1999, March, 29). Papert on Piaget. Papert. Retrieved from
Singer, D.G. & Revenson, T.A. (1997). A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks (Revised Edition).
Madison, Connecticut: International Universities Press Inc.
Smith, L. (1997). Jean Piaget. In N. Sheehy, A. Chapman. W. Conroy (eds). Biographical
dictionary of psychology. London: Routledge.
Wayne, S. (2001). Our social world: an introduction to anthropology, psychology and sociology.
Toronto: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

He conducted research in developmental psychology and genetic epistemology

He wanted to find an answer to the question "How does knowledge grow?"
Many have argued that his work was largely biased
He used only a small sample of participants, including his own children and children from Switzerland, so his research does not represent other cultures
His methods of data collection (interviews and observations) are more open to biased interpretation than other forms

Nonetheless, his work has undoubtedly revealed important information in regards to cognitive development and has had a large influence on the discipline
Credibility Part 2
Others like to view cognitive development as a continuous process rather than as chunks and stages of learning. Studies have shown that individuals in his set age ranges do not necessarily exhibit the abilities of that stage and some do not ever reach particular stages
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