Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a theory used to analyze and understand human development and behavior. His theory is broken up into four stages: Sensorimotor, which lasts from 0 to 2 years of age, Preoperational, which lasts from 2 to 7 years of age, Concrete Operational, which lasts from 7 to 11 years of age, and lastly, Formal Operational, which the child enters at 11 years of age and stays in throughout adulthood (Santrock, 2010, p.24). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is important because it stimulated the entire field of research and it still remains the most influential theory of cognitive development. Throughout my study, I will be focusing on the Preoperational stage, and more specifically, the concepts of egocentrism, the tendency to perceive the world from one’s own perspective while failing to recognize that others may have different points of view, and conservation, the idea that certain physical characteristics of objects remain the same, even when their outward appearances change (Santrock 2010). The purpose of this project was to gain a further understanding of the Preoperational reasoning by observing actions and responses of a 6 year old.
For my experiment, the participant I observed was Samantha, a 6 year old Caucasian female. Samantha was born into a middle class family. Her mother is a second grade teacher and her father is a computer technician. She also has a younger brother who is 3 years of age.
To begin my experiment, I received consent from Samantha’s mother to perform my experiment on her daughter. I also briefed Samantha and told her that we could stop the experiment at any time if she was uncomfortable with continuing. Initially, I wanted to observe if Samantha would exemplify egocentrism because she is very close to the age of 7, where she would soon be exiting the Preoperational stage and entering the Concrete operational stage. Similar to the Three Mountains Task, I performed a task involving an...
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