Jean Piaget

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Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget is also well-known for his use of schemas, which are basically mental images, or otherwise known as a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information. Adjusting these schemas or mental representations can be done through 2 methods: assimilation and accommodation.Assimilation is when a new schema is put into a preexisting schema. This can be seen when one interprets a new experience in terms of their existing schemas. Think of your brain as a cabinet and schemas as files in the cabinet. Assimilation is when you are adding information to a file that is already in the cabinet!Accommodation can be seen when you add a new schema to your brain altogether. This involves adapting one’s current understandings, or schemas, to incorporate new info. Referring back to the previous analogy, think of your brain as a cabinet and schemas as files in the cabinet. Accommodation is when you create totally new files and then add them to the cabinet!

To Piaget, there were many important parts that contributed to a child’s cognitive development. He felt that interaction between children and those who surround them, in addition to their environment, were most important to growth. Piaget saw that these interactions caused for cognitive conflicts to occur, but this wasn’t necessarily a negative factor as it fostered deeper thinking and analysis from the child. He then began to utilize a systematic study of cognitive development, and is now known as the first psychologist to ever create and use this method of study. After watching children in a specific environment, he discovered that all of the children he observed went through a series of 4 developmental stages. Piaget saw that although some children advanced through the stages slightly faster than others, the qualities and traits they exhibited were similar. These 4 stages are: the Sensorimotor Stage, the Preoperational Stage, the Concrete Operational Stage, and the Formal Operational Stage. These stages describe an individual's cognitive development not only through childhood, but also throughout adulthood. These stages are universal in all individuals, and serve as a fundamental component in understanding how and why we develop in the cognitive state.

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist and greatly influential experimenter in the fields associated with developmental psychology and how intelligence works in humans.  Piaget’s works were heavily influenced by his mother’s mental health, which was very temperamental throughout his upbringing. This caused for him to gain an interest in psychoanalysis and pathological psychology. When working on Alfred Binet’s reasoning test, he began to have an interest in investigating the way that children reason. During the initial 2 years, he began by studying verbal reasoning by using questions and showing them tasks which involved cause and effect. But, Piaget had a breakthrough in his studies when he discovered various new concepts in early childhood psychology. The most famous of them was known as the Cognitive Theory, which is still a primary source of understanding growth even today. The Cognitive Theory is composed of 3 basic components: schemas, adaptation processes (assimilation/accommodation), and the Stages of Development.

Who was Jean Piaget?

Schemas and Assimilation vs. Accommodation

How Did Piaget Form His Cognitive Theory?

If you need more help understanding schemas, assimilation, or accommodation, check this video out!

This video gives a greater understanding of Piaget and his work, so watch it if you would like to!

Here are provided short descriptions of each Stage of Cognitive Development.


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