evaluating Piaget - cognitive development

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 11:52

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Evaluating Piaget
It is generally accepted that Piaget's ideas on cognitive development have been extremely
influential in how we consider how cognitive processes develop.
However, he has been criticised over certain aspects of his theory and the methods he used to test
his ideas.
What did Piaget believe?
Object permanence ­ appeared at about 8 months
Egocentrism/decentring ­ 4 years (sees own view); 6 years (different view, but not necessarily
correct one); 7/8 years (consistently sees correct view)
Class inclusion ­ appeared during the concrete operational stage (7 years onwards)
Conservation ­ at 7 years can usually conserve (but not area)
Logical thinking ­ problem solving is possible with limited logical thought, but only as a concrete
Abstract thought ­ seen from 11 years
The criticisms about the methods Piaget used to test children have lead to questions relating to the
reliability and replicability of his findings.
There have been claims that he confused performance with competence.
Because of this, each of the key concepts have been tested for by other psychologists, producing
some very different results.
Tests of egocentrism
Three mountains task ­ Piaget
Involves unfamiliar materials and situation
Makes heavy demands on working memory
Requires the child to respond in a difficult way
Boy and policemen task ­ Hughes
Children have a chance to practice
Only requires the child to consider what can be seen, not how it will look

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The task has `human sense' ­ the motives and intentions of the characters are clear
(Donaldson, 1978)
The child can understand and relate to a `hide and seek' situation
Tests of conservation
Asking the same question twice
The meaning of `more'
Lack of `human sense'
Deliberate transformation is confusing
Accidental transformation (Naughty Teddy (McGarrigle and Donaldson)) made more sense
Class inclusion
Donaldson (1978)
Three black cows and one white cow, all lying down
6 year-olds asked:
1.…read more


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