The Life of Jean Piaget

Topics: Theory of cognitive development, Jean Piaget, Object permanence / Pages: 10 (2251 words) / Published: Jan 16th, 2014
Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Piaget was a Swiss developmental psychologist and a philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children and his theory of cognitive development. He was born on August 9, 1896 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He was the eldest son of Arthur Piaget who was a Swiss professor of medieval literature and Rebecca Jackson, an intelligent and energetic woman, who was French. He attended the University of Neuchâtel where he received a degree in zoology in 1918. He then studied psychology in Zürich under the eminent Carl Jung as well as EugenBleuler. He earned his Ph.D. in biology. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology ". Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.” Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 and directed it until 1980. According to Ernst Von Glasersfeld, Jean Piaget is "the great pioneer of the constructivist theory of knowing.” Piaget received the Erasmus in 1972 and Balzan in 1978 prizes.

Contributions of Piaget

I. Cognitive-Developmental Theory

In 1920 he obtained a job at the Binet Institute in Paris, where work on intelligence tests was being conducted. His first task was to adapt English verbal reasoning items for use with French children. To do so, he had to try out the items on children in various age groups and see whether they could arrive at correct answers. The task was boring until Piaget became intrigued by the children’s wrong answers. Another investigatory might have shrugged them off, but Piaget perceived patterns in the children’s mistakes. The wrong answers reflected consistent, if logical, cognitive processes. Piaget’s observations led to history theory of cognitive development.

Piaget described human thought, or intelligence, in terms of the concepts

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