Piaget's Theory Differs From Others
In Several Ways:
It is concerned with children, rather than all
It focuses on development, rather than learning
parse, so it does not address learning of
information or specific behaviours.
It proposes discrete stages of development,
marked by qualitative differences, rather than a
gradual increase in number and complexity of
behaviours, concepts, ideas, etc.
How did Piaget develop his theory?
He was interested both in how children learnt
and in how they thought
Piaget studied children from infancy to
adolescence, and carried out many of his own
investigations using his three children.
Why Cognitive Development?
Development is therefore biologically based
and changes as the child matures
Cognition therefore develops in all children in
the same sequence of stages.
Cognitive Development is the emergence of
the ability to think and understand.
Stages of Cognitive Development
0-2 yrs. old
2-7 yrs. old
7-11 yrs. old
• Sensorimotor stage
• Preoperational stage
• Concrete stage
• Formal stage
Piaget believed that these
stages are universal - i.e.
that the same sequence of
development occurs in
children all over the world,
whatever their culture.
• infants begin to realize
that an object exists
even if it can no longer
be seen. This important
milestone -- known as
object permanence -- is a
sign that memory is
• infants start crawling, standing,
and walking, their increased
physical mobility leads to increased
• infants reach another important
milestone -- early language
development, a sign that they are
developing some symbolic abilities.
0- 2 yrs. old
• During the early stages, infants are only aware of what is
immediately in front of them. They focus on what they see, what
they are doing, and physical interactions with their immediate
• Infants are using their senses to explore or to know the world
2-7 yrs. old
During this stage, young children are able to think
about things symbolically. Their language use
becomes more mature. They also develop
memory and imagination, which allows them to
understand the difference between past and future,
and engage in make-believe.
But their thinking is based on intuition and still not
completely logical. They cannot yet grasp more
complex concepts such as cause and effect, time,
CONCRETE STAGE (7-11 yrs. )
At this time, elementary-age and
preadolescent children demonstrate
logical, concrete reasoning.
Children's thinking becomes less egocentric and
they are increasingly aware of external events. They
begin to realize that one's own thoughts and feelings
are unique and may not be shared by others or may
not even be part of reality. Children also develop
operational thinking -- the ability to perform
reversible mental actions.
During this stage, however, most children
still can't tackle a problem with several
variables in a systematic way.
• Adolescents who reach this fourth stage
of intellectual development are able to
logically use symbols related to
abstract concepts, such as algebra
and science. They can think about
multiple variables in systematic ways,
formulate hypotheses, and consider
possibilities. They also can ponder
abstract relationships and concepts
such as justice.
• Although Piaget believed in lifelong
intellectual development, he insisted that
the formal operational stage is the final
stage of cognitive development, and
that continued intellectual
development in adults depends on
the accumulation of knowledge.
he agreed with Piaget’s theory of moral
development in principle but wanted to
develop his ideas further
Kohlberg told several dilemma stories and
asked many such questions to discover how
people reasoned about moral issues.
By studying the answers from children of
different ages to these questions ,Kohlberg
hoped to discover the ways in which moral
reasoning changed as people grew.
Stages Of Moral Development
Level 1 PRECONVENTIONAL
Level 3 POSTCONVENTIONAL
•STAGE 1 OBEDIENCE AND
•STAGE 2 INDIVIDUALISM AND
•STAGE 3 GOOD INTERPERSONAL
•STAGE 4 MAINTAINING THE SOCIAL
• Stage 5. Social Contract and
• Stage 6: Universal Principles
Level 1 - Pre-conventional morality
Authority is outside the individual and reasoning
is based on the physical consequences of actions.
• Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment
The child/individual is good in order to avoid
being punished. If a person is punished they
must have done wrong.
• Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange.
At this stage children recognize that there is not
just one right view that is handed down by the
authorities. Different individuals have different
Level 2 - Conventional morality
Authority is internalized but not questioned and
reasoning is based on the norms of the group to
which the person belongs.
Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships.
The child/individual is good in order to be seen as
being a good person by others. Therefore,
answers are related to the approval of others.
Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order.
The child/individual becomes aware of the wider
rules of society so judgments concern obeying
rules in order to uphold the law and to avoid
Level 3 Post-conventional morality
Individual judgment is based on self-chosen principles, and moral
reasoning is based on individual rights and justice.
Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights.
The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for
the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work
against the interest of particular individuals. The issues are not always
clear cut. For example, in Heinz’s dilemma the protection of life is more
important than breaking the law against stealing.
• Stage 6: Universal Principles.
People at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines
which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone. E.g.
human rights, justice and equality. The person will be prepared to act to
defend these principles even if it means going against the rest of society
in the process and having to pay the consequences of disapproval and or
imprisonment. Kohlberg doubted few people reached this stage.