Jean Piaget was born on August 9, 1896, in the town of Neuchatel which is part of the French-speaking region of Switzerland. He was the oldest child of Arthur Piaget who was a professor of medieval literature and wrote extensively on Neuchatel history at the local University, and Rebecca Jackson who was an intelligent and energetic woman (Brainerd, 1996, p. 191). However, Piaget's childhood was far from happy. Piaget admired his father greatly and adopted his skeptical, scientific attitude at an early age. His mother, however, suffered from what Piaget was later to characterize as "a rather neurotic temperament" and "poor mental health" coupled with religious enthusiasm (Piaget, 2009, para. 4). This situation had two lasting effects on Piaget. First, it led him to forgo play and other normal childhood pursuits and turn to serious scientific research while still in elementary school. Like so many other people, Piaget found a refuge from emotional turmoil in intellectual creation. Second, his mother's difficulties fomented an intense interest in the study of psychology. At first, naturally enough, he concentrated on abnormal personality, especially psychoanalysis. The result was surprising, however. He decided that he strongly preferred the study of col...
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