Jean Piaget's Impact On Developmental Psychology

756 Words 4 Pages
Piaget’s Impact on Developmental Psychology
No theory has ever had a greater impact on developmental psychology than Jean Piaget’s. Born in 1896 Switzerland, Piaget was always an extremely bright individual, with his first paper being published at age 10, and earning his Ph.D. at 22. As an anonymous reviewer of a paper on Piaget put it “assessing the impact of Piaget of developmental psychology is like assessing the impact of Shakespeare on English literature, or Aristotle in Philosophy – impossible” (Lourenço). Before Piaget the common assumption in psychology was that children were simply less competent thinkers than adults. Challenging this was one of the most important contributions of Piaget. He showed that children are much more than
…show more content…
Sensorimotor occurs from birth to two years and focuses on discovery, by interacting with the environment through the senses, and developing motor skills. The second stage starts at age two and lasts to six or seven. This stage is called pre-operational. While in this stage children are very egocentric and begin to use mental imagery and language. The second characteristic of this stage is the lack of understanding of conservation, which Piaget described as things that remain constant in terms of quantity and volume regardless of changes in appearance. For example, moving a cup of water from a tall skinny cup into a shallow but wide cup and asking the child which has more water. The next stage is concrete operations, which covers from age seven to eleven. At this point children can understand logic such as conservation, but this ability only holds true for actual objects and they are still unable to think in abstract terms. Piaget considered age eleven and on the final stage and called it formal operations. Here children are able to approach problems and reason scientifically, as well as think abstractly and manipulate ideas in their head. Piaget’s descriptions give us an insight into how children of varying ages think fundamentally …show more content…
One common challenge of Piaget’s work is his methodology. In his studies he used basic question and answer techniques, however they were not standardized and often tailored to each individual. In addition, he had a lack of controls, small sample sizes, and minimal statistical analysis of his research. Some believe Piaget overlooked the varying impacts of social and cultural groups in children, and that while his stages may be representative of Western society and culture, in other cultures they may not hold true. Piaget also did not take into account factors that could accelerate or even prevent the movement to further stages of development. Issues aside, Piaget’s theory lead us to significant change in our understanding of childhood development. Despite the numerous objections to Piaget’s theory, his influence on developmental psychology and education is still a positive and impressive one. Piaget fundamentally changed how people view childhood development and has been an inspiration to those who came after him helping to further our

Related Documents