Jean Piaget

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    Jean Piaget

    This Swiss psychologist performed important research into child development. His theories posited that children pass through stages of mental growth which compound upon each other and grow between infancy and adulthood. How children perceive their world at these stages impact their cognitive processes and development. He emphasized the importance of play in this theory as a means of using physical manipulation and sensory input into their understanding of the world.
  • Born

    Born in Switzerland. His father was a professor of Medieval Literature and his mother was from a steel foundry family legacy.
  • Mollosk Research and First Published Papers

    Mollosk Research and First Published Papers
    Developed an interest in the natural world. Had published some articles on mollusks by the age of 15. This gave him some early notoriety in the field of zoology.
  • Fake Memory

    Fake Memory
    Jean's nanny had once lied to Jean's parents about him almost being kidnapped, explaining that she had fought off the perpetrator. This never happened, there was no kidnapping attempt. When he was 15, the nanny wrote a letter to his parents detailing the deception. This action led to Paiget's fascination into the psychological reasons behind his somehow forming a memory of this event which never actually ocurred.
  • Studied at University of Neuchâtel

    Studied at University of Neuchâtel
    During this post-secondary time, Paiget studied natural sciences. He also developed an interest in the field of epistemology (the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion) as well as psychoanalysis during this period.
  • Sociological Model of Development

    Sociological Model of Development
    Conducted research and experiments theorizing that children were egocentric in their world-view. Using a series of structured interviewswith children, he was able to search for what he called 'spontaneous conviction' in their responses to unexpected questions. This work was the basis for the Hawthorne Experiments between 1924 and 1932 conducted by Elton Mayo.
  • Working with Alfred Binet

    Working with Alfred Binet
    While teaching in Switzerland, he worked with the notable Alfred Binet who was administering his Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale tests, meant to measure intelligence and draw connections between a person's age and the nature of their errors. Paiget noted that children consistently gave the same incorrect answers, deducing that the cognitive processes of the young are different that those of adults. From this, he was able to construct a global theory of cognitive development.
  • Director of the Rosseau Institute

    Director of the Rosseau Institute
    This Geneva institute was devoted to making a science out of the theories of education. Paiget served as director, and continued the exploration of concepts of learning, such as 'trial and error' and 'groping'. This begins a period when most of the theories he came up with which are still used to this day were born.
  • Judgement and Reasoning in the Child

    Judgement and Reasoning in the Child
    Book published. Posits that the a child's sense of logic is largely centered around the ego and can be regarded as almost autistic. A child's skills in this area not well-developed and formal reasoning does not appear until at least age 11.
  • Biological Model of Intellectual Development

    Biological Model of Intellectual Development
    Research into how intellectual development might be seen as a process of biological adaptation (on a species level). Using the example of children who put everything in their mouths, he posited that children were attempting to conform these objects to suit their own mental processes. Deals with the concepts of assimilation and accommodation in relation to schema (the mental structure of preconceived ideas). He observed his own children as a part of this research.
  • Harvard Doctorate

    Received an honourary doctorate from Harvard University for his work on the Sociological Development model.
  • Logical Model of Intellectual Development

    The third part of his research established developmental stages related to age. A child must successfully pass through one stage to get to another and will have to reconstruct knowledge and ideas previously learned as their perceptive abilities and reasoning skills advance. This work is often the subject of criticism as he based his research for this work solely on observations of his own children.
  • The Psychology of Intelligence

    The Psychology of Intelligence
    Book published. Posits that development in cognition progresses in four stages from infancy to adolescence: sensory-motor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Adult cognition is the result of an long progression from processing basic sensory input to being capable of abstract thinking. Each of these stages involved a restructuring of the neural interrelationships of the brain.
  • International Center for Genetic Epistemology

    International Center for Genetic Epistemology
    Created and directed this institute until his death in 1980. The goal of this venture was to continue to research how knowledge grows across lifespans.
  • Impact on Artificial Intelligence

    Impact on Artificial Intelligence
    Paiget's theories were adopted by Seymour Papert and were instrumental in the creation of the Logo computer programming language as well as other ventures. Much of his work was applied in the broader field of artificial intelligence and machine learning throughout the 70s, 80s and beyond.
  • Died