Jean Piaget and his Theory of
Cognitive Development
Does talking matter?
Historical Background
Born in 1896 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Self-described precocious youth.
10; managed first publication on albino sparrow
15; decided to direct his work toward a biological explanation of knowledge
1915 (18); received baccalaureate from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland
1918 (21); received doctorate in the natural sciences
-
studied the development of mollusks
-
Had published 25 professional papers (mostly on mollusks)
His intensive biological studies led him to conclude that biological development was due not only to maturation (and
heredity) but also to variables in the environment.
After his doctorate, Piaget’s primary interest turned to psychology
-
1918; went to Zurich where he studied and worked in several psychological clinics
-
1919; went to Paris and spent two years at the Sorbonne during this time he was able to work in Binet’s
laboratory (a grade school) standardizing several tests. This is where he found his research interest.
1921; offered position of director of studies at the Institut J.J. Rousseau in Geneva
30; Piaget was famous for his initial works in psychology
Untiring worker
Fundamental Terms
Schemata: cognitive structures by which individuals intellectually adapt to and organize the environment; the
mental counterparts of biological means of adapting.
Assimilation: the cognitive process by which the person integrates new perceptual matter or stimulus events into
existing schemata or patterns of behavior. (Syncretism)
Accommodation: the creation of new schemata or the modification of old schemata.
Equilibrium: “balance” between assimilation and accommodation.
Operation: the essence of knowledge; an interiorized action which modifies the object of knowledge.
Interiorization: the dissociation between the general form of a co-ordination to the particular content of an external
action; leads from sensori-motor to operational intelligence and is the precondition for objective knowledge as well
as symbolic representation.
Internalization: the eventual diminution of external movements that become covert and sketchy; the dissociation
between the general form of a co-ordination and the particular content of an external action.
Content: observable behaviors
Function: characteristics of intellectual activity that are stable and continual throughout cognitive development
Structure: inferred organizational properties that explain occurrence of behaviors
Juxtaposition: the converse of syncretism; the lack of explicit relation between propositions which imply such a
relation.
Additional Terms to Remember
Semiotic function: activities having to do with different signifier
Signifiers: a mental tool used solely represent something else and is differentiated such as language, mental image,
symbolic gesture
Scalars: Single dimension
Vectors: multiple dimensions
Reversibility: Inversions (+A is reversed by –A) and reciprocity (A<B and B<A); does not change everything at the same
time.
Seriation: arranging elements according to increasing or decreasing size; basic operational structure.
Development: the process which concerns the totality of the structures of knowledge.
Concrete Operations: provide a transition between schemes of action and the general logical structures involving both a
combinatorial system and a “group” structure coordinating the two possible forms of reversibility. Structured by
classification, seriation, correspondences, and matrices.
Classification: Understanding of the relative sizes of an included class to the entire class and is achieved around 8; marks
the achievement of a genuine operatory classification.
Social Interaction: interchange of ideas between two people; the child is dependent on social interaction for the
construction and validation of his concept.
More additional terms
Social Exchange: gives rise to a process of gradual structuration or
socialization which leads from a state of relative lack of coordination
or differentiation between the child’s own point of view and
cooperation in action and communication.
Conservation: the conceptualization (schematization) that the amount
or quantity of a matter stays the same regardless of any changes in
shape or position.
Syncretism: the spontaneous tendency on the part of a comprehensive
act of perception instead of by the detection of details; the tendency to
connect everything with everything else. I.E. Assimilation.
Theory of Cognitive Development
Four major periods or stages
Transitional Factors
Intellectual Organization and Adaptation
“Piaget came to believe that biological
acts are acts of adaptation to the physical
environment and organizations of the
environment.” (Wadsworth 9)
Periods or Stages of Cognitive Development
1. Sensori-motor (0-2 years)
2. Pre-operational (2-7 years)
3. Concrete Operations (7-11 years)
4. Formal Operations (11-15 years)
•
Factors Affecting Period Transition
• Maturation
• Physical Experience
• Social Interaction
• Equilibration (Progression towards equilibrium)
Purpose
Will Piaget’s research on verbal
interaction as part of his theory of
cognitive development hold true with
modern day children?
Do opportunities for social, specifically
verbal, interaction in the classroom
stimulate cognitive development?
Hypothesis
I believe that the Private school
environment will allow greater
opportunities for verbal, social
interaction.
Thought Process in Social Interaction
Appears at around age 7
“Childish language consists of two distinct varieties, one made up of gestures,
movements, mimicry etc., which accompany or even completely supplant the use of
words, and the other consisting solely of the spoken word.” (Piaget 1973, 62)
Directed thought and Autistic thought
-
Experience, logic
Symbols, desires
“Intelligence, just because it undergoes a gradual process of socialization, is enabled
through the bond established by language between thoughts and words to make an
increasing use of concepts...” (Piaget 1973, 64)
Ego-centric Logic: syncretism, lack of proof, personal schema of analogy, visual
schema, value judgements
Communicated Intelligence: deductive, proof, schemes of analogy eliminated, visual
schemas eliminated, personal judgements eliminated in favor of collective judgement.
Function of Language used by the child
1. Egocentric speech
a. Repetition: pleasure of talking; no thought of talking to anyone
b. Monologue: thinking out loud
c. Collective Monologue: listener’s point of view never taken into
account
2. Socialized Speech
a. Adapted Information: actual exchange of thoughts; adopts the point
of view of hearer
b. Criticism: remarks made about behaviors or actions of others
c. Commands, requests and threats
d. Questions
e. Answers: to actual information based questions
Conversation stages and types between age 4-7
1. No conversation: Monologue/Collective Monologue
2. (A)
i. Association with the action; no collaboration
ii. Collaboration in action or in non-abstract thought
2. (B)
i. Quarrel: clash of assertions
ii. Primitive Argument: Statement of opinions; no logical justification
3. (A) Collaboration in abstract thought: real interchange of thought
(B) Genuine Argument: mental operations connected with logical
operations
Verbal Understanding in children
between the age of 9-11
Verbal Syncretism
Syncretism of Reasoning
The need for justification at any price
Procedure
Passive observation of daily classroom
environment and routine of children in
grades three and five.
Data
Used a Likertian type of scaling method
Limitations
Insufficient amount of time
Improved communication between myself and
the school’s
More clear and careful observation instrument
Insufficient amount of data observations
Inability to research all areas entailed in
hypothesis
Conclusions
I can’t work
on this
presentation
any more...
The Actual Conclusions
Piaget’s theory and research on social,
specifically verbal among children still
holds true today
Also, other aspects of his theory of
cognitive development also hold true i.e.
hierarchic integration
Works Cited
Crain, William. Theories Of Development, Concepts And Applications. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River:
Pearson College Div, 2011. Print.
Emler, Nicholas, Valiant, Gayle L. "Social Interaction And Cognitive Conflict In The Development Of
Spatial Coordination Skills." British Journal Of Psychology 73.2 (1982): 295. Psychology and
Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 08 Nov. 2011.
Harris, P.L. "Cognitive Prerequisites To Language?." British Journal Of Psychology 73.2 (1982): 187.
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 08 Nov. 2011
Hargreaves, David J.Molloy, Colleen G.Pratt, Alan R. "Social Factors In Conservation." British Journal
Of Psychology 73.2 (1982): 231. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
Lourenço, Orlando, and Armando Machado. "In Defense Of Piaget's Theory: A Reply To 10 Common
Criticisms." Psychological Review 103.1 (1996): 143-164. PsycARTICLES.
Web. 08 Nov.
2011.
Piaget, Jean. "Development and Learning." CognitiveDevelopment in Children:Piaget. 2.3 (1964): 176186. Print.
Piaget, Jean. Judgment And Reasoning In The Child. Braithwaite Pr, 2007. Print
Piaget, Jean, and Bärbel Inhelder. The Psychology of the Child. New York: Basic Books, 1969. Print.
Wadsworth, Barry. Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development: An Introduction for Students of
Psychology and Education. New York: David McKay, 1971. Print.
Piaget, Jean. The Language and Thought of the Child. New York: World Publishing, 1973. Print.
Psaltis, CharisDuveen, GerardPerret-Clermont, Anne-Nelly. "The Social And The Psychological:
Structure And Context In Intellectual Development." Human Development (0018716X) 52.5 (2009):
291-312. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 15 Oct. 2011.
Works cited con’d
Piaget, Jean. "Development and Learning." CognitiveDevelopment in
Children:Piaget. 2.3 (1964): 176-186. Print.
Piaget, Jean. Judgment And Reasoning In The Child. Braithwaite Pr, 2007. Print
Piaget, Jean, and Bärbel Inhelder. The Psychology of the Child. New York: Basic
Books, 1969. Print.
Piaget, Jean. The Language and Thought of the Child. New York: World
Publishing, 1973. Print.
Psaltis, CharisDuveen, GerardPerret-Clermont, Anne-Nelly. "The Social And The
Psychological: Structure And Context In Intellectual Development." Human
Development (0018716X) 52.5 (2009): 291-312. Psychology and Behavioral
Sciences Collection. Web. 15 Oct. 2011.
Tenezakis, Maria D. "Linguistic Subsystems And Concrete Operations." Child
Development 46.2 (1975): 430-436. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Collection. Web. 08 Nov. 2011.
Wadsworth, Barry. Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development: An Introduction
for Students of Psychology and Education. New York: David McKay, 1971. Print.
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Jean Piaget and his Theory of Cognitive Development