Cognitive Development Research

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  An Investigation into Cognitive Development

Aim: To investigate whether a child (or children) under the age of eleven, behaves in a way that is predicted in Piaget’s theory. I will investigate this by observing children’s behaviour during a programme of Super Nanny US. This will indicate to me whether Piaget’s predictions are true of what happens nowadays.

Procedure:  For this investigation, I have chosen an observation of a television programme to aid me. This is because I am able to record information of what is happening in the situations without becoming involved. I am choosing a non-participant observation because I would not be affecting the independent variable of their behaviour. I am using an overt study as the participants will be aware that they are being observed. Due to the nature of the television programme, the participants would have given permission and therefore would be expected to be observed. The observation is unstructured as I am not aware of the situations or behaviour that is going to happen. Overall, I felt that the observation types that I am choosing are appropriate because they allow me to complete the investigation, without impacting on the results as well as what is possible.

I am observing the ‘Wischmeyer Family’ who have three children. They are the participants.  Jared is aged 9 and he has twin sisters, Ashlyn and Alaia, who are 4 years old. Overall, I am looking to see whether there are any of the signs to show which stage the child is developing at. All these children should be either in the pre-operational stage or the concrete operational stage. I can differentiate between the two and say that they are in the later stage if a child shows not to have egocentrism, animism and can think backwards in their thinking.

This study is quite ethical because the family have given consent to be observed. On the other hand, this could also be misleading in an observation manner as they have not given informed consent and know exactly what is going to happen. The structure of the television programme means that the family may not have the right to withdraw as it is a televised observation. The children would not be able to give their own consent because of their age and therefore they may not want to be involved. The observation does not have much confidentially as the names and location of residence is made clear to the audience at the beginning of the programme. This suggests that they are happy to share their information within this investigation. The participants are in a covert observation and therefore I need to take into consideration the protection of the participants. I should reduce any harm or suffering on the individual to a minimum. This will happen because of the nature of the study.

Results: When observing the behaviour of the children, I was specifically looking for the behaviours that Piaget had outlined. Shortly after the observation had begun, I had realised


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