Piaget Cognitive Development Essay

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Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Among the most widely recognized descriptive research in the field of psychology is the work of Jean Piaget, Swiss biologist and child development pioneer. After carefully observing the growth of his own children, Piaget devised a theory which “describes the cognitive development of children from infancy through adolescence” (Slavin, 2015, p. 20). Writing in the early twentieth century, Piaget expressed curiosity about the relationship between juvenile brain growth and mental processing skills. According to Piaget, children pass through distinct phases of cognitive development on their path to adulthood. At each new stage, children can process information and complete mental tasks in a manner which…show more content…
31). According to Piaget, children create mental schemes whenever new objects or experiences are encountered, as a method of classifying and interpreting them. These schemes create a framework which can be used to evaluate and understand new experiences (Slavin, 2015, p. 31). If existing mental schemes do not match up with newly encountered objects or experiences, children must adapt their schemes to accomodate the new data (Slavin, 2015, p. 32). These experiences can include events and personal relationships. As children wrestle with their schemes to adapt or accommodate them to new realities, they are said to be in a state of equilibration. When schemes have been adapted and equilibration is complete, children are ready to move on to the next stage of cognitive development. Slavin (2015) categorizes this progression of events, “Piaget’s theory of development represents constructivism, a view of cognitive development as a process” (p.…show more content…
32). From seven to eleven, they develop the ability to think logically, to solve problems systematically, and to see things from other people’s perspectives. Although they are not yet ready to think abstractly, their increasing ability to comprehend symbols enables them to read and to make mathematical computations. Since concrete operational children understand reversible operations, they can appreciate the relationship between addition and subtraction, and understand why multiplication and division are opposites. Because they acquire the principle of seriation (“arranging things in a logical progression”), children at this age tend to enjoy collecting items which they can categorize and arrange by similarity or size (Slavin, 2015, p. 34). At school, I often observe children organizing trading cards, miniatures or other prized collectibles to show to their friends and teachers. They may arrange and rearrange their collections for hours. According to Piaget, the formal operational stage generally begins with the onset of puberty. At this point, adolescents acquire the ability to think methodically and to make predictions through abstraction and drawing inferences, skills which are not present at earlier stages. Just as children reach puberty at different ages, they enter the formal operations stage at different times. Usually, this occurs between
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