Period 3 – Piaget and the Development of Reasoning

Who was Jean Piaget and what did he do?

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss psychologist who studied children and found that they approach problems and thinking differently (the ability to reason). On page 70 it sates, “[He] set up a labratory where he cbould give children of different ages to solve.” Piaget conducted a scientific experiment where he gave different age groups an intelligence test to prove that every child thinks the same way. However, his experiment concluded that children gave similar wrong answers and that they go through four different stages of thinking.

Say what? You don’t say…?

  • Interestingly enough, Jean Piaget is mentioned in the Psychology textbooks as well! The book describes him as being an important stage theorist mainly for his cognitive explanations, but is criticized that not everyone experiences these stages or he underestimates the kids and his time table does not suit all children. Some more basic history about him is he was employed at the Binet Institute in Paris where he conducted his experiment as mentioned above where he found some children are more advanced than others at certain ages (IQ).
  • He proposed people characterize knowledge using two different methods. The first being Assimilation which is the process by which new information is placed into pre existing categories  For example, a kid may see a dog that it’s familiar with and then the next day encounter a different dog and call it the same name because it put the clues together to connect the breeds into one species. The other method is accommodation in which is a change is brought about due to new information. For example, the same kid may see a cat and call it a dog; this is because he lacks the history with this new species and just assumes it to be the same.
  • To understand what this means just imagine a filing cabinet with files of different animals in it. Later in his life, Jean Piaget developed the term for object permanence which is defined as the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen or touched. On page 242 it explaines that, “Object permanence occurs because infants are able to holdan idea in mind.” During the Pre Operational stage, children learn about conservation in which states that key properties like substances like weight, volume, and number stay the same even if shape or arrangement are altered. His most influential term is called egocentrism which is the inability to see from another’s point of view.

What exactly are the four stages?

1) The first being the sensorimotor stage, it begins at birth to about two years of age where understanding is limited and the infant becomes fascinated with it’s own environment. The infants are reflexive and react to everything until one month old and develop purpose (sensation and perception). They are easily intrigued and explore results of their behavior.

2) The second stage he found was the preoperational stage which begins at age two and ends at age seven. In the stage, children develop symbols such as language but cannot fathom size, speed, quantity, or cause and effect. Also they have only their point of view to follow and believe themselves more over what they can’t see. He proved that point of view is limited when he asked the kids to describe a clay model from their point of view, but when he asked them to describe it from his point of view, they couldn’t.

3) The third stage was the concrete operational which spans from age seven to age twelve and describes that children expand their point of view and understand more complex thinking but question truth, honesty, and justice.

4) The final stage is formal operational which spans from age twelve and up which tells us that they are completely thinking outside the box and no longer limited to just their narrow opinions, meaning they now have created a universal identity for themselves and think abstractly planning out situations.

Last but not least… QUIZ TIME!

  1. Are you good at solving algebraic equations?

a) Yes

b) No

2.  Do you have a political viewpoint?

a) Yes

b) No

3.  Can you understand other people’s viewpoints?

a) Yes

b) No

4.  Are you always right?

a) No

b) Yes

5.  In the above image, which glass has more water in it?

a) I don’t know

b) Glass A

c) Glass B

d) They contain the same amount of water

6.  What would happen if you touched fire?

a) Uhhhhh….

b) I don’t know, but I’m going to find out

c) I touched it before and it hurt

d) It would burn me, duh

7.  Who is Barack Obama?

a) Da Da

b) I don’t know and I don’t care

c) The President

d) The President and the democrat running in the 2012 election

If you answered mostly (a) to the first four questions in the quiz, then you are either in Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development, the Sensorimotor stage, or in the second stage, Preoperational   If you answered mostly (b) to the first four questions, then you are in one of the latter stages of cognitive development, Concrete-operational, or Post-operational.

More specifically, if you answered mostly (a) to the final three questions, then you are in Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development, Sensorimotor.  If you answered mostly (b) to the final three questions, then you are in his second stage, Preoperational   If you answered mostly (c) to the final three questions, then you are in Piaget’s third stage, Concrete-operational.  If you answered mostly (d) to the final three questions, then you are in his fourth and final stage of cognitive development, Post-operational.

Works Cited

“Jean Piaget.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

“Classroom Activities That Relate to Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

“Learning About Learning.” Learning About Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

“LPR @TCD – Cognitivism: Jean Piaget and Schema.” LPR @TCD – Cognitivism: Jean Piaget and Schema. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

“Module3a1.” Module3a1. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

Renata, Rebeca. “How to Test Piaget’s Stages of Development.” EHow. Demand Media, 03 Jan. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

TLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <;.

Henslin, James. Sociology : a down-to-earth approach. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2007.


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