Oct 28th, 2014
Topic: Describe the stages of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. What is the goal of each stage? Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was one of the most influential researchers in the area of developmental psychology during the 20th century. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children are merely less competent thinkers than adults. Piaget showed that young children think in strikingly different ways compared to adults. Piaget’s theory focuses on development and proposes discrete stages of development rather than a gradual increase in number and complexity of behaviors, concepts, ideas, etc. He concluded that there are 4 stages of development, which are sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operations and formal operations. Initially, the first stage of development, sensorimotor, happens the first 2 year from birth. During this period, infants learn mostly through sensory experiences and manipulating objects. They understands the environment purely though inborn reflexes such as sucking, grasping and looking. Because they don't yet know how things react, they're constantly experimenting with activities such as shaking or throwing things, putting things in their mouths, and learning about the world through trial and error. At about 7-9 months, infants begin to develop object permanence, which means knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden. Until then, an infant doesn’t realize that objects can exist apart from him or herself. For example, when you play peek-a-boo with a child, he/she will believe that the other person or the object actually disappears. The child may act shocked when the object reappears. Toward the end of the sensorimotor stage, the ability to form primitive mental images develops as the infant acquires object permanence. Older infants who acquired object permanence will realize that the person or the object continues to exist even then unseen. The...
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