Developmental Psyc

  • Created by: tasha
  • Created on: 04-12-12 11:51

Piaget’s Theory & Summary

 Theory developed by observation of children.

  • Newborns have no control over movement and no sign of intention.
  • Children are born without knowlage.
  • If we start with nothing then everything must be learned, via powerful learning mechanisms.
  • Children learn by active interaction with the enviroment.


  • NO innate knowlage - everything was learned using the three domain general mechanisms
  • Discontinuous , children move threw the stages thinking differantly at each stage.
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Three Learning Mechanism

1) Assimilation ... New knowlage is learned eg all birds fly

2) Accommodation ... More knowlage is added to model eg Birds also have feathers

3) Equlibration ... Model fails as incompatible knowlage is added  eg chickens are birds and do not fly.

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Sensorimotor Stage Birth- 2 years

Preoperational Stage 2 years - 7 years

Concrete operational Stage 7 years - 11 years

Formal Operational Stage +11 years

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Links are made between what they sense and how they act. this means they only remember by doing , not by seeing.

This can be limiting physically and mentally ie

Physical - no object permanance - realisation that objects continue to exist when they are not in view.(AnotBtask shows how if a child reached for an object a few times , and then is show that it in in another place they will then reach for it again in the first place as they have created a repetative doing action when reaching for the first placed objects , this is stronger than the memory of being shown once in a new location.)

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Sense-Action model is not working any longer a more advanced model is required for further development.

Representation model (symbolic thought) so the child stops experiancing the world by just doing and now experiances it as representational.

Represtentation is where 1 word means more than one thing.

ie you see a physical banana and know that it is the same as a picture of a bananna as well as it meaing the same as the spoken word bannana" and the written word "bananna"

This helps children to understand object permanance , use language and play games of presence. This is what domain general means.

Operations are mental actions used to make your actions move. Children at this stage cant no tdo this , hense pre-operational.

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Conservation Tasks (pre-operational)

Children can not understand that liquid moved from 1 beacker to another of a diff shape is still the same amount. They can not conserve.

They can not preform the reverse operation of pouring the liquid back tot he first beacker in order to understand the liquids must be the same.

This conservation task also works for mass and number.

Mountains task whereby children need to be able to mentally walk round the otherside to picture what the mountain would look like from another view shows the mental domain.

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Concrete Operational Stage

Children can now hold representations and perform operations such as conversion tasks.However they need to preform the operations first ie the operations need to be concrete.

Children must now learn to link operations.

They need to learn to detach from concrete thinking and be able to think about things hypothetically with out doing.

They can also learn to be unbias and abstract.

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Formal Operational

Abstract thinking whereby they are not bound to spacific examples previously experienced.

They can construct general equations and apply them to more than one situation , such as is a ball is kicked in a direction they know roughly where it will end up.

Hypothetical - able to see how things could be differant. 

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This theory is wrong

Theory is too descriptive and does not give explination,he doesnt explain *** one stage leads to another he just describes the differances.

Nobody reached formal opperational in a domain general manner.

Ignores social nature of species.

Ignores innate abilities

Alternative Explination

Diamond (1985) says working memory holds new location.she says both improve due to maturation of frontal cortex.As infants age they pass tasks more gradually ,this supports her theory that change is gradual not in 2 set stages.

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