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Psychology: Unit 8
The Cognitive Approach (e)
Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) was a psychologist who was employed at The Binet Institute in the 1920’s. His job was too turn French versions of questions into English intelligence tests, throughout this time he became very interested in the different questions that were asked and how some children answered them incorrectly. He noticed that the questions that were answered incorrectly required a certain amount of logical thinking and that children had more difficulty answering these questions rather than adults. It is a common assumption in Psychology that children are less competent thinkers that adults. Throughout Piaget’s experiments, he showed how young children think extremely different too adults. “The goal of the theory is to explain the mechanisms and processes by which the infant, and then the child, develops into an individual who can reason and think using hypotheses.”
There are 3 basic components to Piaget’s Cognitive Theory:
Schema’s: A mental plan of what you expect to happen.
Equilibrium, Assimilation, Accommodation: Process that enables the transition from one stage to another.
Stages of Development: The sensori-motor stage, The pre-operational stage, The concrete operational stage, and The formal operational stage.
Piaget called Schema’s “The building blocks of intelligence”. Throughout Piaget’s experiments and theories, he emphasized the importance of schemas in cognitive development and described how they were developed or acquired. A schema is the view that somebody has on the world or a situation around them.
For example somebody may have a Schema about going out to a restaurant for food. They notice a pattern that happens in this situation, which would be walking into a restaurant, sitting down at a table, looking at a menu, ordering food, eating the food and then paying the bill and leaving the restaurant. Somebody may have this idea of what happens at a restaurant from past experiences of going too one.
Piaget then went onto discovering theories on how children's minds works compared to adults. Piaget decided to do tests where he would test a young child's knowledge on what they see. This worked well as it showed that young children do not have the same intellectual ability as an older child but also and adult. To an older child the task would be easier, but to an adult the task would be very easy as they think logically where as a child does not, especially a young child.
Test 1: Piaget did a test on a young child where there were two rows of coins. There was 5 coins In one row and 5 in the other row. He lined one line on top and the other underneath. He tested a young child on this experiment and asked them to count how many coins were in each row. The child agreed that there was 5 coins in each row. Then he moved the coins on row 1, he spaced out the coins in row 1 and therefore the row 1 was longer then row 2. He then asked the child “Which row has more coins?” even though the child had counted both rows and agreed that there were both 5 coins in each row, the child said that there were more coins in row 1. When Piaget asked why there were more coins in row 1, the child said that there were more coins because it was bigger than row 2. This experiment showed how a young child does not think logically and that they depend their answer on that they see. Piaget then did the exact same test on an older child. He asked them to count how many coins were in row 1 and how many in row 2. The older child said that there were equally 5 coins in both rows. Then Piaget spaced out row 1, exactly as what happened in the first experiment with the young child. He then asked the older child “Which row has more coins?” and the older child said that both rows still have same amount of coins, but row 1 has been spaced out and therefore looks bigger than row 2. The experiment with the