The subject used for this experiment to test Piaget’s theory was an eight year old male called Nicholas. Because Nicholas was eight years of age he was in the concrete operational stage. The experiment was conducted by a Year 12 student by the name of Kavita. Results from the same experiments done by two psychology classes were also recorded and examined. These results contain data from both three to four year olds and seven to eight year olds.
The class results of the experiment prove Piaget’s theory that children of the age of seven to eight are able to successfully complete more tasks than children aged three to four years is correct. In all questions the seven to eight year olds got a higher percentage correct compared to the three to four year olds. This is because of Piaget’s stage theory which states that development occurs in stages according to approximate age.
The subject was able to correctly answer all of the different questions. This is because the subject was in the concrete operational stage. Piaget states the thinking of that child in the concrete operational stage revolves around what they can experience through their senses, what they have already learnt and what is concrete (Grivas et al 1996 p 74). Therefore the subject used these experiences and what he has already learnt and applied it to the question.
As stated before the older children were able to successfully answer the questions more than younger children. There were no exact similarities in the results between the two stages but task 6 which tests the concept of classification did display that there was only a 5% difference between the two groups. The task that had the most difference was task 3 which studied the concept of seriation with a difference ...
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...ay their answers back to him (Grivas etal 1996 p 79).
Problems that could affect the experiment were that the subject had already done the experiments before so he was familiar with the experiments and possibly already knew the right answers. Another factor that may have affected the experiment was that the subject was in a classroom with an entire class watching him perform the experiments. Being watched and scrutinised may have made the subject feel uncomfortable and under pressure. Consequently this could have affected the quality of his answers and his thought process.
Class results prove the hypothesis that seven to eight year old children are able to successfully complete and answer more tasks than three to four year olds is correct. However the results also prove Piaget’s stage theory and concepts of classification and egocentrism are not entirely correct.