Piaget theory of Cognitive Development
For this paper I will be exploring Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget, theorized that children progress through four key stages of cognitive development that change their understanding of the world. By observing his own children, Piaget came up with four different stages of intellectual development that included: the sensorimotor stage, which starts from birth to age two; the preoperational stage, starts from age two to about age seven; the concrete operational stage, starts from age seven to eleven; and final stage, the formal operational stage, which begins in adolescence and continues into adulthood. In this paper I will only be focusing on the preoperational stage, a stage of development that focuses on what children are not able to do yet. Piaget stated that during this stage, children do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot mentally manipulate information, and can’t see the point of view of other people. Form this stage Piaget was able to develop the concept of conservation, “the awareness that altering an objects or substances appearance does not change its basic properties (Santrock, 2013)”. Children lack the understanding that things appear different to other people and that objects can change in appearance but still have the same properties.
Piaget employed a variety of conservation tasks to analyze the mental capacities of children. For Piaget's test for conservation of number, he used two rows with same number of objects (example: buttons, fruits, crayons, candy etc.) that were equally spaced. In the begging of the experiment, the child knows that the two rows have same number. Then one of the rows is shortened, yet the child fails to notice that the two rows are the same. Piaget says that young children don’t realize that these two rows are equal, they’re confused because of the misleading perceptual appearance. On Piaget's task for conservation of length, Piaget shows the subject two pencils equal in length and subject knows the pencils are the same length. But once one of the pencils is moved longer than the other one, the subject fails to recognize that they were the same. Piaget's task for conservation for liquid, he shows the young child two identical glasses, then he pours the same amount of water both glasses. The subject knows that the two glasses of water are equal. But if water from one glass is poured into a longer thinner glass, the subject couldn’t comprehend this glass contains the same amount of water as the original two identical glasses. Piaget's explains that children's thinking is "perception bound" in preoperational stage, so they can’t focus their attention on two aspects of the new glass, they were attentive only to one aspect which is that one glass is taller than the other two; failing to realize the taller glass had the same amount of liquid.
For the purpose of this paper, I will replicate the conservation tasks experiment...