Critically examine the contribution of Jean Piaget to our understanding of child development.

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This essay shall examine the contribution of Jean Piaget to our understanding of child development. Until the mid 1900 's psychologists had no useful theory for explaining how children 's minds change as they age. Psychologists interested in this field either has to study it in relation to behaviourism, which emphasises that children merely receive information from the environment, or in relation to the IQ testing approach, which emphasises individual differences in children 's development. However developmental psychologist Jean Piaget born in Switzerland in 1896 changed the way we think about children 's minds. When Piaget 's theories were introduced psychologists the world over embraced his idea that children actively construct their…show more content…
Stage 5 involves tertiary circular reactions and lasts from 12 to 18 months. During this stage the infants experiment with the properties of external objects and try to learn how objects respond to various actions. The process of trial and error is used during this stage. Stage 6 involves inventing new means by mental combination and lasts from 18 to 24 months old. In this last stage children begin to combine schemata mentally, thus relying less on physical trial and error.

The second stage in Piaget 's theory of cognitive development is the preoperational stage. This stage lasts from approximately 2 to 7 years of age. Preoperational thought is more symbolic than sensorimotor thought. The infant begins to use symbols such as words, images and gestures to represents objects and events in their world. Piaget divided the preoperational period into two separate stages, the pre-conceptual and the intuitive stages. Characteristics present during the pre-conceptual stage which lasts from 2 to 4 years old include animistic thinking and egocentricity. Animistic thinking is the attribution of life to inanimate objects. For example, a child may think that plants feel pain when they pick their flowers. Egocentrism is the tendency to view the world from one 's own perspective and to have difficulty seeing things from another 's viewpoint. The intuitive stage lasts approximately from 4 to 7 years old. During the intuitive stage the
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