Piaget and Inhelder (1958) Three Mountains Task- Key Study


Piaget and Inhelder (1958) Three Mountains Task- Key Study


One of a series of studies by Piaget to investigate how children see the world, to develop his theory of the stages of cognitive development. A lab experiment.


1. To determine the extent to which children of different ages can take on another viewpoint

2. To determine a child's overall system for putting together different viewpoints


A model of three mountains with distinct features was made. The tallest was grey with white 'snow' on the top, a medium sized one was brown with a red cross on the top, and the smallest was green with a house on the top. 

Ten photos were taken and printed out, each clearly showing the features and taken from a different viewpoint of the mountains. A small wooden doll with no facial features was also used.

100 children from the ages of 4-12 were used in the experiment (under 4 was considered too young) They were asked to-

1. Pick the photo that correctly displayed the viewpoint that the doll could see (the researcher would place the doll at certains viewpoints).

2. Arrange coloured card accordingly to match the order the mountains would be from certain viewpoints.

3. Choose a photograph and place the wooden doll accordingly.


Qualititive data.

Children from 4 to 6 in the pre-operational could not display other viewpoints to their own. However, children towards the end of pre-operational stage were beginning to be able to identify others viewpoints. Overall, egocentrism is shown.

Children in the concrete operational stage from age 7-9 could begin to understand that others have other…


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