Jean Piaget's Influence On Psychology Essay

794 words - 4 pages

Although he identified himself as a genetic epistemologist, Jean Piaget was a psychologist from Switzerland. When he was just eleven years old Piaget started to take steps in starting his research career without even realizing it when he wrote a brief paper over an Albino Sparrow (Bringuier, 1980). He originally studied natural sciences and was involved in the branch of philosophy that was focused on origin, nature and the extents and limits of human knowledge. But as he progressed in his studies he realized that he was also interested in how thought develops and wanted to understand how genetics impacted the process (Mayer, 2005).
Some of Piaget’s earlier psychological work included running intelligence tests on children. By preforming these tests, the results led him to the conclusion that children think differently from adults because at the time it was assumed that children were just smaller adults. Because of this, Piaget began to study cognitive development errors in children (Piaget, 1976). One example of a test he performed was giving a three year old one large mound of clay and one small mound of clay. Next, he would tell the child to make them into two equal mounds. After this, Piaget would break one of the mounds into two smaller mounds and then proceed to question the child on which had more clay. Usually they would say that the one with the two smaller mounds was bigger even though they were equal. But when he repeated the tests on children that were six and seven years of age, they no longer made the error in saying one mound was bigger than the other. These types of errors helped to provide insights that were essential for understanding the mental world of a child (Piaget and Inhelder, 1969). He proposed that there were actually four different stages in the process of cognitive development. The four different stages that make up the process are the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage (Fischer, Kurt, Denver, 1890). The sensorimotor stage beings at birth and lasts through infancy and this is when infants gain information about the world by sensing it and moving around within it. The preoperational stage happens between the ages of two and six and this is when children start to have preliminary understanding of the physical world. The concrete operational stage is from ages six to eleven and this includes when children learn...

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