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Jean Piaget Theory of Cognitive Development

Buy custom Jean Piaget Theory of Cognitive Development essay

Buy custom Jean Piaget Theory of Cognitive Development essay

Jean Piaget was one of the most prominent researchers of the 20th century in the field of psychology and human development. He concentrated his attention on the biological influences on the psychological portrait of the person and developmental stages. Piaget pointed that the development of a person passes through certain stages; each stage can be characterized by specific features. He was sure that it is possible to learn the world though the personal experience. However, his inspiration of developing the idea of cognitive growth and changes of people came while researching children behavior. Moreover, it is important to note that his research was based on the observation of behavior of his own three children (Berlin, Zeanah & Lieberman, 2008).

The main aim of his research was to show the differences between the children’s and adults’ way of thinking. It means that different factors influence the way of thinking of people at different stages of development. Piaget focused attention on the fact that children actually have rather basic mental structure that is based on knowledge and experience that is formed in a particular way. He underlined that cognitive development is a process that takes rather long period of time and can be influenced by huge amount of different internal and external factors.

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It is necessary to underline that Piaget considered that children can create a reality around them based on existing experience together with the future expectation from the social environment.

Piaget used to speak about stages of cognitive development in order to show the specific features of human behavior in different ages. He described four main stages of cognitive development:

  • Sensorimotor stage;
  • Pre-operational stage;
  • Stage of concrete operations;
  • Stage of formal operations Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013).

Every child will pass over all the stages in concrete age. That is the basic condition for children to gather enough knowledge in order to use the experience in future. There is no opportunity to miss one of the stages while passing over them. Each of them has age limits and can be characterized with the specific features of character. Moreover, all children pass them in the same order, even if they have different progress in the development (Payne, 2011).

Each stage is devoted to separate skills and features of character. The transition between the stages is rather slow. That is the reason why the changes of the character are not so evident. However, each of the stages brings changes into the skills and mind of the child. These changes can be connected with time, space, language, imagination, morality and play.

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Special attention should be devoted to the second, pre-operational, stage of cognitive development. This stage of cognitive development is connected with the development of children of the age from two to seven. The main focus is paid to the language development. Thus, it is one of the most significant elements of this period. Piaget underlined that this stage can be described as the stage of the concentrated egocentrism, as children of this age are not likely to listen to and understand the point of view of other people. Moreover, this stage is said to be devoted to the abilities of children. They are rather limited, as the mental activity is influenced by life experience and emotions. Moreover, in this period logic is not strong enough.

In this period, children are likely to use more symbols to explain their understanding of the reality and environment. For example, children can use broom to show the horse. Moreover, in this period children pay attention to the roles of “mammy”, “teacher”, &ldquoo;doctor” and others.

Piaget paid much attention to certain mental abilities of children and their research and study. There is a specific technique to determine the level of egocentrism of children. This technique is called “Three mountain task.” Children have to choose a picture that presents the scene that was observed earlier. Most of children face certain difficulties with this task. The next part of the task requires them to choose the picture that shows the scene that could be seen by someone else from the other side of the mountain.

However, children often choose the picture that presents their own point of view on the mountain scene. This happens because at the age of two to seven children do not understand the point of view of other people. This is the egocentrism in its simple form.

Another activity can be held to determine child`s understanding of conservation. In one of the determining experiments, equal amount of water is shared between the identical containers. Furthermore, later the water from one of the containers is poured to the bottles of different shapes. Children need to find the bottle with the biggest amount of water in it. Even after the analysis of given information children choose the bottle that seems to be fuller.

There were a huge number of similar experiments held by Piaget concerning weight, length, volume and quantity. The results demonstrated that only a small percentage of children that took part in the experiment could show the understanding of conservation. This understanding became more logical and rational when speaking about children of 5 and upwards (Rutter, 1995).

Provided below are the list of questions that were asked to a seven-year-old child and the given answers. The idea of this task is concentrated over the practical presentation of the theoretical material.

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