Stage Theories of Human Development
Jean Piaget believed that all children mature through a series of distinct stages in intellectual development (Coon, 97). Many of these ideas came from him observing his own children and how they solved different problems. He believed in the use of assimilation which is the application of existing mental patterns to new situations, the new situation is linked to existing mental schemes (Coon, 97). Piaget developed a series of stages that children go through throughout their lives. The first stage is the sensorimotor stage from 0-2 years. Within this stage he says that newborns are unable to create internal representations such as mental images. They lack object permanence which is an understanding that objects continue to exist when they are out of sight (Coon, 97). Developments within this stage show that the child’s conceptions are becoming more stable. In the second stage, the preoperational stage from 2-7 years, even though children can form mental images or ideas they cannot easily transform those images or ideas in their minds (Coon, 97). Within this stage they begin to think symbolically as well as egocentrically. In the third stage, concrete operation stage from 7-11 years, children have the ability to carry out mental operations such as reverse thoughts (Coon, 97). Children can think logically about concrete objections and situations. In the last stage, formal operations stage from 11 years and up, children begin to think about their own thoughts and are less egocentric (Coon, 97). Children can also begin to understand hypothetical situations. Piaget’s theory is a very valuable map for understanding how children think. Children continuously gain knowledge and are always learning. Erikson’s psychosocial theory has said that broad similarities can be found in all stages of life. Each stage confronts a person with new developmental tasks that must be mastered in order for optimal development (Coon, 97). Erikson...
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