Jean Piaget
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Now known as one of the trailblazers of developmental psychology, Jean Piaget initially worked in a wide range of fields. Early in his career Piaget studied the human biological processes. These processes intrigued Piaget so much that he began to study the realm of human knowledge. From this study he was determined to uncover the secrets of cognitive growth in humans. Jean Piagets research on the growth of the human mind eventually lead to the formation of the cognitive development theory which consists of three main components: schemes, assimilation and accommodation, and the stage model. The theory is best known for Piaget’s construction of the discontinuous stage model which was based on his study of children and how the processes and products of their minds develop over time. According to this stage model, there are four levels of cognitive growth: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. While a substantial amount of psychologists presently choose to adhere to the constructs of the information processing approach, Piaget’s ground breaking cognitive development view is still a valuable asset to the branch of developmental psychology. Whether or not Piaget uncovered any answers to the mysteries of human knowledge is disputable, but one belief that few dispute is that Jean Piaget did indeed lay a strong foundation for future developmental psychologists.

The cognitive development theory is Jean Piaget’s attempt to explain how the human mind develops. A common description of Piaget’s view of the mind is that it is, an active biological system that (uses) environmental information to fit with or adjust to its own existing mental structures, (Adelani, Behle, Leftwich, and White, 1990). Now, to describe how this biological system develops, Piaget breaks the development process down into three main components: schemes, assimilation and accommodation, and the stage model of cognitive growth. Schemes, are the structures or organizations of actions as they are transferred by repetition in similar or analogous circumstances, (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). In simple terms, schemes guide thoughts based on prior experiences, thus, serving as the building blocks of cognitive growth. Except, with simple schemes, which are the first schemes to develop in a child’s life, the child has very little, if any, past experiences to guide his or her thoughts. Therefore, early thoughts depend almost entirely on the new born child’s reflexes to senses. These basic schemes later combine with each other in order to develop more complex schemes that are more capable of guiding the child than reflexes. However, the complexity of the schemes depend upon how well and how much an individual either assimilates or accommodates information that is new to the mind. If schemes are considered building blocks, then the assimilation and accommodation processes can best be described as the construction crews. These two processes aid in cognitive growth by arranging the new information with schemes that are already present in the individual’s mind. The more new information the child assimilates or accommodates, the less his or her schemes will have to rely on physical objects to create cognitive operations. Of course, according to Piaget’s stage model, this reliance on physical objects will not decrease until the latter stages of the child’s cognitive growth. While both the assimilation and accommodation processes are responsible for establishing a perfect cognitive fit between the scheme and the information, each completes the process in different manners, hence the need for two different terms. Assimilation reconfigures the new data to fit with existing schemes, and the accommodation process restructures a child’s schemes to accommodate the new environmental information. As Piaget states, Accommodation [is] the adjustment of the scheme to the particular situation. He goes on to give an example of the two processes: An infant who’s just discovered he can grasp what he sees (will then assimilate) everything he sees . . . to the schemes of prehension, that is, it becomes an object to grasp as well as an object to look at or an object to suck on. But if it’s a large object for which he needs both hands . . . he will (accommodate) the scheme of prehension, (Bringuier, 1980).

The key component is the stage model of cognitive growth. Piaget makes it clear that these stages are not determined by age but cognitive development in this very brief explanation of the model, The stages are an order of succession. (The development) isn’t [according to] the average age, (Bringuier, 1980). He goes on to describe the model as a, sequential order, (Bringuier, 1980) of cognitive growth. The stage model is made of four stages and as one may infer from the statements from Piaget, these stages are discontinuous. The first stage the child goes through is the sensorimotor. During this stage there is, the existence of an intelligence before language, (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). While age does not determine the stage of growth, the average age of children in this stage is birth to two years old. Zimbardo and Weber (1994) explain Piaget’s conclusion on this stage as one where, the child is tied to the immediate environment and motor-action schemes, lacking the cognitive ability to represent objects symbolically. The main task during the sensorimotor stage is for the child to control and coordinate his or her body. While in the second year, most children begin, to form mental representations of absent objects, (Zimbardo & Weber, 1994). Finally, at the end of the sensorimotor stage the child moves rather easily, can identify family members, has developed an understandable language level, yet the child is still, illogical, egocentric, and unaware of his self, (Cohen, 1983). The next stage is the pre-operational which has an approximate range of age from two to seven years old. During this time, unfortunately, the child still can not carry out logical operations. However, to reach this stage the child must increase the speed of his or her manipulations, and become involved with more

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Stage Model And Jean Piaget. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from