Theories of a Phyisit


Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in 1896. After receiving his doctoral degree at age 22, Piaget formally began a career that would have a profound impact on both psychology and education. Piaget developed an interest in the intellectual development of children. Based upon his observations, he concluded that children were not less intelligent than adults, they simply think differently. Piaget was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development.


The Sensorimotor Stage: Birth-2 years old, during this stage, infants and toddlers learn that things continue to exist even though they cannot be seen (object permanence). They are separate beings from the people and objects around them. They realize that their actions can cause things to happen in the world around them. Learning occurs through assimilation and accommodation knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects.

  • The Preoperational Stage: 2-7 years old, at this stage, kids learn through pretend play but still struggle with logic and taking the point of view of other people. Children at this stage tend to be egocentric and struggle to see things from the perspective of others. While they are getting better with language and thinking, they still tend to think about things in very conrete terms.

  • The Concrete Operational Stage: 7-11years old, kids at this point of development begin to think more logically, but their thinking can also be very rigid. They tend to struggle with abstract and hypothetical concepts. They begin to understand the concept of conservation; the the amount of liquid in a short, wide cup is equal to that in a tall, skinny glass. Thinking becomes more logical and organized, but still very concrete. Begin using inductive logic, or reasoning from specific information to a general principle.

    The Formal Operational Stage: Beginning of adolescence, the final stage of Piaget's theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas. Abstract thought emerges.Teens begin to think more about moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political issues that require theoretical and abstract reasoning. Begin to use deductive logic, or reasoning from a general principle to specific information


    Schemas - A schema describes both the mental and physical actions involved in understanding and knowing. Schemas are categories of knowledge that help us to interpret and understand the world.

    Assimilation - The process of taking in new information into our previously existing schemas is known as assimilation. The process is somewhat subjective, because we tend to modify experience or information somewhat to fit in with our preexisting beliefs. In the example above, seeing a dog and labeling it "dog" is an example of assimilating the animal into the child's dog schema.

    Accommodation - Another part of adaptation involves changing or altering our existing schemas in light of new information, a process known as accommodation. Accommodation involves altering existing schemas, or ideas, as a result of new information or new experiences. New schemas may also be developed during this process.