Jean Piaget Cognitive Development

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4. Piaget and Cognitive Development
Copyright © 2004, James Fleming, Ph.D. _______ During this [early childhood] period magic, animism, and artificialism are completely merged. The world is a society of living beings controlled and directed by man. The self and the external world are not clearly delimited. Every action is both physical and psychical. –Jean Piaget1 ________

Piaget’s Place in the History of Psychology
A ranking of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century by professionals in the field listed the top three names as B. F. Skinner, Jean Piaget, and Sigmund Freud (Haggbloom and others, 2002). These three names also occupy places of prominence in this textbook. But although Skinner’s impact on the field of
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Between 15 and 18 years of age, he published a series of articles on shellfish. As a result, he was offered a position as curator of the mollusk collection at the Geneva museum of natural history. (He had to turn this down because he had yet to finish high school!) Piaget received his PhD in natural science at age 21 from the University of Neuchâtel. By this time he had already published 21 papers! His interest in epistemology (theory of knowledge) led him to study how children solve problems. At Albert Einstein’s suggestion, Piaget investigated children’s understanding of time, space, speed, and motion, resulting in two books on these subjects. During his long lifetime (Piaget died in 1980, at age 84) he wrote over 40 books and numerous articles. He was honored by the American Psychological Association with the Distinguished Scientist Award in 1969. Piagetian Conservation Tasks Before plunging headlong into Piaget’s sometimes abstract theoretical ideas about the ways in which children learn at different stages of development, it may be helpful – particularly to students with no familiarity with Piaget – to begin with a few examples of his well-known conservation tasks. These nicely illustrate Piaget’s approach to observing children as they grapple with ordinary objects. Piaget noticed that students below a certain level of maturity
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