Keywords piaget, conservation Figures from Gray (3e)
Keywords piaget, conservation Figures from Gray (3e)
Keywords piaget, conservation Figures from Gray (3e)
Redo piaget's cognitive development
Jean Piaget’s Theory ofCognitive Development: Learning, Reasoning and Language Development over the Life Span
Questions Do you think you think children understand things differently than you do? How do child see and understand the world? What “abilities” do children have the allow them to develop cognitively? How does the child’s cognitive develop change as the grow up? Is there an endpoint to cognitive development?
According to Piaget: Children progress through four distinct stages of cognitive development Each stage of development represents a change or shift in the child’s way of thinking and understanding of the world (environment)
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss psychologist who became leading theorist in 1930’s Piaget believed that “children are active thinkers, constantly trying to construct more advanced understandings of the world” These “understandings” are in the form of structures he called schemas
Children as active learners Piaget believed that children were actively trying to make sense of their world instead of being passive reactive to changes that happen to them (like blank slates) He believed that many of the actions we see babies doing are actually their attempts to make sense of the world So, it is important to know that in examining how the child’spurposeful action (i.e., interaction with objects in the world) changes how they make sense of the world
Piaget’s approach Genetic Epistemology- i.e., studying development from its origins Primary method was to ask children to solve problems and to question them about the reasoning behind their solutions Discovered that children think in radically different ways than adults Proposed that development occurs as a series of ‘stages’ differing in how the world is understood ( through the child’s interaction with objects)
The Stages of development, things to remember: The key idea about each stage is that it presents a shift in how the child thinks and understands the world. Piaget saw the progression of cognitive development as a continuous and gradual process. The child’s cognitive development is driven by the child’s physical ability (maturation) to interact with objects in their environment. Piaget believed that at each stage was biologically programmed to unfold at their respective ages.
Stages: Things to remember cont’d As the child moves from stage to stage, they build on the understandings (knowledge) they have from the previous stage As children encounter new information about the world they begin to change their way of thinking. Piaget believed that children in every culture (universally) progress through the same sequence of stages at around the same age. Piaget felt that the environment was important in stimulating how successfully the child was at progressing through each stage.
Stages: Things to remember cont’d For example, a “bright” child may progress through the stages faster than as child that was less intellectually capable, because his/her environment would have provided ample opportunities for exploration.
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive DevelopmentPiaget believed that children progress throughfour stages of cognitive developmentSensorimotorPreoperationalConcrete OperationsFormal Operations
Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 2 years) During this stage the infant acquires knowledge about the world through actions that allow them to directly experience and manipulate objects. That is, infants activate and develop their reflexes and five senses. They touch, feel, taste, push, pull, twist, turn and manipulate objects. They activate and build upon their motor actions of grasping, reaching, pushing, pulling pouring. They know what objects are by how they look, taste, feel, smell and sound.
Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 2yrs) As they continue to interact with objects their gain basic understandings of the effects their own actions can produce- like kicking the side of their crib to make a hanging mobile shake or pushing over a pile of blocks to see them crash At this stage things that are “out of sight are out of mind”, that is objects only exist if the child can directly sense it For example if a 4 month old kicks a ball under the couch and it rolls out of sight then they will not look for it.
Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 2yrs) However, by the end of the sensorimotor stage, children acquire object permanence, they can understand that an object continues to exist even if they can’t see it As they interact with objects they gain a better understanding about what they do and the infants’ memory increases to allow them to mentally represent an object. At this point they will actively search for the object, like the ball under the couch. As their memory develops they develop what Piaget calls schemas
Schemas and Operations Schemas: Schemas are categories of knowledge that help us interpret and understand the world. For the child schemas are primarily related to physical/ action knowledge Operations: In Piaget’s theory operations refers to logical mental activities
The Preoperational Stage This stage lasts from around 2yrs to 7rs of age. The word “pre” means before, so this “pre-”operational stage is before logical operations. In this stage the child begins to use symbolic thought, which refers to their ability to use words, images and symbols to represent the word. The child’s use of symbolic thought can also be seen in their engaging in fantasy and imaginative play. For example, a discarded box becomes a fort or a house Children take on the roles of different characters like princess/ prince, doctor, patient. In playing these games children try to imitate the actions they have seen others done, sometimes days or weeks before.
Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years) However, children in this stage display what Piaget termed egocentrism. That is, they lack the ability to consider events from another person’s point of view. They may think that Grandpa Joe may want a new puppy as a birthday present because they want one. In this stage children also display irreversibility, which means they cannot mentally reverse a sequence of events or logical operations For example, the child doesn’t understand that “3+1” and “1+3” refer to the same logical operation.
Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years) In this stage children also display centration, which means that they tend to focus, or center on one aspect of an object or situation- usually a perceptual aspect. They tend to ignore other aspects of the situation or object For example, in conservation tasks, 5 year olds cannot understand that objects may change shape, size, location, color and still be the same objects For example the task of reversibility and centration (the water/container task)
Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years) The principle of conservation holds that two equal physical quantities remain equal even if the appearance of one is changed as long as nothing is added or subtracted. But because of centration, children in the preoperational stage cannot consider the height and width of the water in the container at the same time. So they cannot understand that the two amounts of water are the same, even though they “look” different.
Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years) That is, the child can only focus on one aspect of the situation at a time, in this case the height of the water (that’s what they can see!). In addition, the child cannot mentally reverse the series of events that they have just seen (that is, pouring the water into its original container).
Conservation NumberIn conservation of number tests, two equivalent rows of coinsare placed side by side and the child says that there is the samenumber in each row. Then one row is spread apart and the childis again asked if there is the same number in each.
Conservation Length In conservation of length tests, two same-length sticks are placed side by side and the child says that they are the same length. Then one is moved and the child is again asked if they are the same length.
Conservation SubstanceIn conservation of substance tests, two identical amounts of clayare rolled into similar-appearing balls and the child says that theyboth have the same amount of clay. Then one ball is rolled out andthe child is again asked if they have the same amount.
Concrete Operational Stage (7-12 years) Around age 7 children become more capable of logical thought. They gain conservation, they are much less egocentric and they can mentally reverse operations and can simultaneously focus on two aspects of a problem. For example, when presented with two rows of equally spaced pennies, they can understand that if the pennies were moved that the number of pennies in each row remains the same. (Why do you think that is?) This is because during this stage children become more capable of using logical operations like counting, order and categorization.
Concrete Operational Stage (7-12 years) However, the idea that this stage is “concrete” implies that children’s use of logical operations is limited to concrete reality- to tangible objects and events. Concrete operational children have difficulty thinking about hypothetical situations or abstract ideas (like things that have not happened yet, or things that are yet to happen to someone else). They think in very tangible ways using first-hand personal experiences and actual events. For example, they may describe friendship as “when someone plays with me” (p.390).
Formal Operational Stage (age 12 - adulthood) At the beginning of adolescence, children enter the formal operational stage. These adolescents think more logically and systematically than the concrete operational child. This stage is marked by the adolescent’s growing ability to think logically when dealing with abstract concepts. For example, in describing friendship, they may use emphasize more global and abstract characteristics, like mutual trust, empathy, loyalty and shared beliefs.
Formal Operational Stage (age 12 - adulthood) However this hypothetical and abstract thinking develops over time and grows in sophistication throughout adolescence and adulthood. That is, the formal operational adolescent may be able to think effectively with abstract ideas in one area of knowledge, but not at the same level in others. Piaget also stated that among many adults that formal operational thinking is limited to areas within which these adults have expertise.
Criticisms of Piaget Piaget underestimated the cognitive abilities of infants and young children In order to test object permanence in infants Piaget showed the infant and object covered by a cloth, and observed their ability to uncover the object. One main criticism is that such a response requires the infant to reach a certain level of motor skill development, which was not displayable until the child was about 9 months old, which is why he thought showed that the child could not possibly “know” that the object was under the cloth until then.
Criticisms of Piaget “Increased attention”, Renee Baillargeon proposed that to understand if the child “knew” the object was there that it would be better to test their visual response to the change in objects. The idea was that like adults, children would look longer at “surprising” events that contradict their understanding of the world. In this approach, infants would watch an expected event then be shown an unexpected event, if it violates their understanding of the world the child would look longer at the unexpected event than the expected event.
Criticisms of Piaget Piaget underestimated the impact of the social and cultural environment on cognitive development Russian Psychologist, Lev Vygotsky believed that cognitive development is influenced by social and cultural factors. Vygotsky agreed with Piaget that children may be able to reach a particular cognitive level through their own independent efforts. However. Vygotsky argued that children are able to reach higher levels of cognitive development through the support and instruction they receive from other people, especially through social interactions with expert guides.
Criticisms of Piaget Vygotsky believed that the Zone of Proximal Development, which is the gap between what children can accomplish by themselves and what they can accomplish with the help of more capable others was the ideal place for learning (and cognitive development) to take place. He believed that the assistance provided to the child should be slightly above the child’s current abilities, such that the guidance can help “stretch” the child’s cognitive abilities to new levels.
Criticisms of Piaget Piaget overestimated the degree to which people achieve formal operational thought Researchers have found that many adults display abstract-hypothetical thinking only in limited areas of knowledge, and that some adults never display formal operational thought processes at all. For example, college students may not display formal operational thought outside their area of major. Like when an English major is presented with a Physics question.
Criticisms of Piaget Late in his life Piaget suggested that formal operations may not be a universal phenomenon, but rather a product of an individual’s expertise in a specific area. Information-processing theorists propose that through life experiences that we continue to acquire new knowledge, including more sophisticated cognitive skills and strategies, which may improve our ability to learn and remember information.
Final point Despite the limitations of Piaget’s theory, many of his observations have shown to be accurate, in particular those about infancy and childhood. Especially regarding the idea that early learning is hands-on and interactive. Also his work continues to be used in the fields of education- math, science and language acquisition, and developmental psychology and even the creation of children’s toys.