Presented By: Lethane
• Born in 1896 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland
• Died in 1980 in Geneva, Switzerland.
• After graduating high school, he attended
University of Zurich, where he became
interested in psychoanalysis.
• He married in 1923 and had three children,
Jacqueline, Lucienne and Laurent.
• Piaget studied his children‟s intellectual
development from infancy.
• Piaget divided schemes that children use to
understand the world through four main
stages, roughly correlated with and becoming
increasingly sophisticated with age.
- A representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline
- Possibly one of the most important concepts put forward by
Piaget, Schemata help individuals understand the world they inhabit.
- They are cognitive structures that represent a certain aspect of
the world, and can be seen as categories which have certain preconceived ideas in them. .
- Simply the process
of incorporating new
information into a preexisting schema.
- So with the “dog”
example, the child
into the old dog schema.
- Is normally a
simple process, as new
information already fits
- When coming across a new object
for the first time, a child will
attempt to apply an old schema to
- For consistency, let‟s use the dog
example again. The child may have
“four legs, furry” in their dog
schema. When coming across
another similar animal, such as a
cat, they might say “Look, a dog!”
– that‟s assimilation.
- However, when told that it‟s
actually a cat – not a dog – they
will accommodate the new
information into another schema.
- They will now form a “cat”
schema; “not all four legged furry
animals are dogs – some are cats
- Assimilation and accommodation are the two parts of
adaptation – which is simply what it says – adapting our
schemata to make an accurate (enough) model of the
world we live in.
- It is a form of learning,
but an entirely different
form to the kind you‟d see
in behaviorist psychology
for example (such as
- Piaget suggested that humans naturally strive to achieve a
cognitive balance; there must be a balance between applying
prior knowledge (assimilation) and changing schemata to
account for new information (accommodation).
- Piaget suggested that when a child has a schema which
doesn‟t fit reality, there is tension in the mind.
- By balancing the use of assimilation
and accommodation, this tension is
reduced and we can proceed to
higher levels of thought and
During this stage, information is received through all the senses.
The child tries to make sense of the world during this stage, and
as the name suggests, only senses and motor abilities are used to
The child utilizes innate behaviors to enhance this learning
process, such as sucking, looking, grasping, crying and listening.
To make this even more complex, there are 6 sub-stages of this
To begin, the child uses only reflexes and innate behavior.
Towards the end of this stage, the child uses a range of complex
The child uses only innate reflexes.
For example, if a nipple or dummy is put into a baby‟s
mouth, they will reflexively suck on it. If an object is
placed in their palm, the hand will automatically grab it.
These reflexes have the sole function of keeping the
1. Reflexes (0-1 month)
The child now has a fixation with it‟s own body with
regards to behavior(what Piaget refers to as primary
behavior); they will perform actions repeatedly on
themselves (like sucking their own hand).
They also begin to refine reflexes here to form more
complex versions of them.
2. Primary Circular Actions (1-4 months)
At around 4 months, the child begins to take an interest in
their environment (their behavior is secondary).
They notice that they can actually influence events in their
world, for example they can drop a teddy which bashes a ball
on the floor.
Although this occurs, the infant will not make conscious
connections between what they
do and the consequences,
they merely observe that
their actions have interesting
3. Secondary Circular Reactions (4-8 months)
At this point, the child begins to engage in goaldirected behavior; they begin to develop cause-effect
relationships. So rather than crawl over to a teddy in a cart to
pick it up, they might instead pull the cart over with the teddy
in to acquire it.
The child effectively knows that their behavior will have a
At this stage, object
permanence is acquired
4. Co-ordination of Secondary Circular
Reactions (8-12 months)
At this stage, children like to use creativity and
flexibility with their previous behaviors, and the result of
their experimentation often leads to different outcomes.
So rather than grabbing a box,
they might instead try to tilt or
5. Tertiary Circular Reactions (12-18
At this stage, the child develops symbolic thought and the
ability to mentally represent objects in their head.
Normally, the child would need to resort to trial-and-error to
achieve a desired effect.
Now, however, the child can „plan‟ to some extent and
mentally construct the consequences of an action in their
Of course, predictions are not
always accurate, but it is a
step up from trial-and-error.
6. Symbolic/Mental Representation (1824 months)
1. Object Permanence
- is when objects exist even when out of sight.
First three sub-stages
- children will not attempt to search for an object which is
hidden from their view; in their mind, the object simply ceases
to exist as they cannot see it.
- they show this characteristic of object permanence. If an
object is hidden from them, they will attempt to find it, but
will repeatedly look in the same place – even if the object is
moved (the so called “A-not-B error”).
- the child is able to mentally represent the object in their
mind, leading to exploration for an object even if it is moved.
They will continue to look for an object until they find it, as
they understand objects exist regardless of where they are.
Key Example of Mental Representation in
2. Deferred imitation
- is simply the imitation of behavior a child has seen
As a child can mentally represent behavior they have
seen, they are able to enact it through playing and in
So a child might „talk‟ down a toy telephone or „steer‟ a
toy car around the room.
Key Example of Mental Representation in
During this stage, a child begins to use his imagination,
using symbols to represent objects
The preoperational stage is also where the majority of
language development occurs. Language development, like
almost everything else, occurs in a defined, set order.
Example: “She may hold up a picture so only she can
see it and expect you to see it too. Or she may explain
that grass grows so she won‟t get hurt when she falls."
Stage 2: Preoperational
Stage(Age 2 - 7 )
- perception of the world in
relation to oneself only. Children
struggle to perceive situations
from another point of view or
(about first grade to early adolescence)
They begin to understand the concept of conservation
(physical quantities do not change based on the
arrangement and/or appearance of the object)
Example: The amount of liquid in a short, wide cup is
equal to that in a tall, skinny glass.
Thinking becomes more logical and organized, but still
very concrete or observable phenomena.
Stage 3: Concrete
Operational Stage (Age7-12
- Children struggle to understand the
difference in quantity and measurements in
Children at this stage acquire the ability to think
hypothetically and “outside the box”.
Logical conclusions can be inferred from verbal
information, and “concrete”, physical objects are no longer
When presented with a problem, children at this stage can
consider solutions to the problem in a logical manner.
The child becomes increasingly “adult-like” with regards to
their cognitive abilities.
Scientific reasoning is apparent in this stage
Stage 4: Formal
Operational Stage (Age