Searching for Bobby Fischer

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Searching for Bobby Fischer

While watching the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, I was able to analyze the young chess prodigy, Josh, very easily. Through his actions and mindset, his social and cognitive abilities were revealed. The interactions between Josh and his father, Josh and his chess teacher, and his mother and father also played a major role on his development.

According to Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development, Josh would be placed in the Formal Operational State. His level of thinking is one or two years beyond what it should be according to his age. He definitely showed he knows how to think abstractly and think about possibilities beyond concrete reality. A perfect example of this is when his chess teacher becomes frustrated with Josh, and he knocks all of the chess pieces off of the chess game board. Then he tells Josh to make the move without any of the pieces on the board and to just imagine it. By abstractly thinking, Josh is able to tell his teacher what piece he needed to move in order to win the match. Josh has also mastered propositional thinking, which is thinking that is logical and consistent.

While cognitively Josh is ahead, socially he is a bit behind where he should ideally be. He finds it difficult to express his feelings to his parents and to his teacher. When his teacher throws all of the certificates on the table in front of him and puts him down, Josh does not know how to react to how badly he was just treated. According to Erikson's Developmental Sequence of Crises, Josh falls in the category of Accomplishment vs. Inferiority. Josh finally finds something he is good at (chess), but then he doubts his talent when his teacher discourages him. The interaction between Josh and his teacher seen in this specific situation shows how a higher figure can have either a positive effect or negative effect on a child's self-image.

The interaction between Josh and his father shows that parents have a huge effect...
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