Piaget's 4 Stages Of Intellectual Development Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Piaget's 4 Stages Of Intellectual Development Deck (27):

What did Piaget say about each stage of development?

A child would only go onto the next stage once it had completely mastered the first one.

Piaget said, in each stage the child would develop new ways of thinking which had developed out of what went before, but which were different from previous ways.


What did Piaget believe about the progress of these stages?

They are fixed and universal.


Piaget believed that all children have to go trough a process of cognitive development in the same order, to achieve the abilities of an older child/adult. What does this mean?

He argues that these stages are innate


Sensori-motor stage (0-2yrs):

The child gains understanding of its environment by using its senses in combination with movement.

Object permanence (children of about 8-9 months develop an awareness that objects still continue to exist even when one cannot see them) is a skill that needs to be developed before moving on to the next stage


Pre operational stage (18 months-7 years): what can the child begin to represent objects by?

Symbols or signs and is able to use language and express ideas


Pre - operational stage: (18 months-7 years) what is conservation?

Basic understanding that quantity remains constant even when appearances of objects change.

Study: Piaget found that when 2 containers were placed side by side with contents at the same height, most children said that they contain the same volume, but if the liquid is poured into a thinner, taller vessel, younger children typically believe that there is more liquid in the taller vessel.


A03 evaluation of Piaget’s conservation study:

-children believed that they were meant to think that the quantity had changed, otherwise why would the researcher ask again (demand characteristics)

-study to support this: McGarrigle and Donaldson’s naughty teddy bear
Donaldson retested this on 80 children between 4-6 years. They had 2 conditions:
1)the experimenter altered the row of beads
2)”naughty teddy bear” lengthened the row
Results:- when it was the experimenter, 16% showed conservation but when it was the teddy bear, 62% did


Pre-operational stage: what is egocentrism and what study did Piaget use to support it?

-it means to see the world only from your own point of view
-Piaget et al. showed egocentrism through the 3 mountain task:
Children were shown three model mountains, each with a different feature
A doll was placed at the side of the model so that it faced the scene from a different angle to the child
Child was asked what the doll could see from a range of pictures
Results: pre-operational children found this difficult and chose the picture that matched the scene from their POV


AO3 of Piaget’s egocentric mountain study: Hughes Policeman Doll study
Hughes argued that mountains task did not make sense to children and made it more difficult by children having to match the doll’s view with a photograph

-showed children a model comprising of 2 intersecting walls, a boy doll and a policeman doll

-he then placed the policeman doll in various positions & then asked the child to hide the boy doll from the policeman; done to make sure the child understands what is being asked, so if they made a mistake, the instructions would be explained. Few mistakes were made

-then experiment began:Hughes bought in a 2nd policeman doll; placed both dolls at the end of the 2 walls
-child asked to hide boy doll away from both policeman (had to take account of two POV)

-Hughes sample was children between 3 1/2 years and 5 years, of whom 90% gave correct answers; even when devised a more complex situation, with a third policeman and more walls, 90% of 4 year olds were successful.

RESULTS: shows children have largely lost their egocentric thinking by 4 years of age, because they are able to take the view of another.


Pre-operational study: class inclusion

-children begin to understand classification at this stage
-BUT Piaget found that children under the age of 7 struggled with more advanced subsets: when they showed 7-8 year olds pictures of 5 dogs & 2 cats, then asked whether there are more dog or animals, they responded more dog
-Piaget concluded that children cannot simultaneously see a dog as a number of the dog class and an animal


A03 McGarrigle study about class inclusion that argued that the way Piaget asked these questions influenced the children’s answers (demand characteristics):

35 children aged 6 were shown 3 black toy cows & one white cow. All cows were lying down and the children were told they were sleeping
-then they were asked whether there are more black cows or white cows
-then they were asked whether there are more black cows or sleeping cows
RESULTS: 25% answered question 1 correctly and 48% answered question 2 correctly

This demonstrates that the way the question is asked affects the answer and under 7 year olds do have a developed class inclusion.


Concrete operational stage (7-12 yrs):

-child is able to use more sophisticated mental operations eg. Child is said to have decentred (being able to take account of more than one aspect of a situation)
-child is still limited in some ways eg. Child thinks about the world in terms of how it is and not how it might be


Formal operational stage (12 yrs+):

Stage is governed by formal logic and is the most sophisticated stage of thinking


Piaget AO3 strengths:

-theory is universal
-takes a nomothetic approach
-cognitive development has good temporal validity as children will always develop cognitively
-considers both nature & nurture
-very influential in developmental psychology and his ideas have generated a lot of research which has increased our understanding of cognitive development
-his ideas have been of practical use in understanding and communication with children e.g. existence of discovery play


Piaget AO3 weaknesses:
Piaget failing to see the effect that the social setting & culture may have on cognitive development

This was because Piaget concentrated on the universal stages of cognitive development & biological maturation and Dasen’s study in Australia showed that cognitive development is not entirely dependent on maturation:
Dasen gave conservation & spatial awareness tasks to 8-14 years olds Aborigines in remote parts of central Australian desert.
RESULTS: ability to conserve came later in Aboriginal kids (age 10-13) compared to Piaget’s Swiss sample (5-7years) BUT spatial awareness develops earlier in aboriginal children. Shows cognitive development is dependent on culture too, as spatial awareness is crucial for nomadic people.

This means Piaget’s study has cultural bias


AO3 Piaget weaknesses:
Procedural problems

He made detailed naturalistic observations of children & he wrote diary descriptions charting their development.
BUT because he conducted observations alone, the data collected is more likely to be influenced by researcher bias.
It would have been more reliable if Piaget conducted observations with another researcher & compared results (inter-rater reliability)


AO3 Piaget sample problem:

Very small sample and composed solely of European children from families or high socio-economic status-not able to generalise as it is ethnocentric


AO3 Piaget weaknesses: semi structured interviews

Semi structured interviews were used so the questions weren’t standardised and therefore cannot be generalised


AO3 Piaget weakness: conversation between Piaget and children

Results were based on conservations between Piaget and the children, so he could only have used the info that agreed with his hypothesis- experimenter bias


Piaget’s theory of cognitive development:

He divided childhood into stages which represents the development of new ways of reasoning.
He also studied the role of motivation in development and the question of how knowledge develops.


What is cognitive development?

The development of all mental processes, especially thinking, reasoning and our understanding of the world


What are schemes?

Contain our understanding of an object, person or idea.

Schemes become increasingly complex during development as we acquire more information.


What is a key element of Piaget’s theory?

The motivation to learn:

Piaget argued that we are motivated to learn when our existing scheme do not allow us to make sense of something new.

This leads to disequilibrium.

To escape disequilibrium we have to adapt to the new situation by exploring and learning what we need to know-by doing this we achieve equilibration, the preferred mental state.


What is equilibration?

Learning as adapting to the new situation so that we understand it


What two ways of reaching equilibrium did Piaget identify?

Assimilation - takes place when we understand a new experience and equilibrate by adding new information to our existing schema

Accommodation- takes place in response to dramatically new experiences; the child has to adjust to this by either radically changing current schemes or forming new ones.


Piaget’s application in education (AO3):

Piaget’s idea that children learn by actively exploring their environment and forming their own mental representations of the world has created activity orientated classrooms, in which children engage in tasks that allow them to construct their own understanding of the curriculum.


AO3 Howe et al. study that supports Piaget’s idea that children learn by forming their own mental representations of the world, suggesting that even children who have had similar learning experiences will form individual mental representations.

PROCEDURE: kids aged 9-12 were in groups of 4 and discussed movement of objects down a slope.
Understanding was assessed before and after.
RESULTS: children found to have increase their level of knowledge and understanding BUT the children had not come to the same conclusions.