An assessment on Piaget

Essay by patsymccaugheyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2012

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Jean Piaget was born in 1896, to a "careful and systematic thinker" of a medieval historian father and a "highly emotional" mother (Crain, 2011, p. 118). He was an exceptional thinker, and by age 11 had published his first article on an albino sparrow he had observed. By 18, he had been offered the position of curator of the mollusc collection at a natural history museum, but declined in order to finish high school (Siegler, 1998, p. 24). In the 1920s, he worked on designing intelligence tests for children at the Binet laboratory in Paris. It was here that he speculated that young children may not be "simply 'dumber' than older children or adults, but might think in an entirely different way". (Crain, 2011, p. 119) He left Paris and began to work in Geneva at the Rousseau Institute where he "found that younger children ... did indeed think in a qualitatively different way about dreams, morals and many other topics."

(Cain, 2011, p. 119) A prolific writer, Piaget's varied interest in biology, philosophy and his search to find "genetic epistemology" (Piaget, 1952, in Crain, 2011, p. 119), led him to write "more than 50 books and monographs on genetic epistemology or developmental intelligence" and just under 63,000 pages of work in total over his lifetime (Hergenhahm, 2009, p. 624, 634). Siegler believes that it was this exceptional volume and also the breadth of his work during his lifetime, both in the coverage of the broad age-span of child cognitive development and also the breadth of subject matter, as one of the key factors in the longevity of Piaget's theories. (Siegler, 1998,p. 25)

Piaget's work can be seen as being part of one of the three 'grand' theories of psychoanalytic, behaviourist and cognitive developmental psychology. Freud's psychoanalytical theory of developmental...