Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget

One of the most prominent psychologists in the history of mankind is Jean Piaget, here we tell you everything you need to know about this constructivist Swiss nationality.

Biography of Jean Piaget

Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1896-Geneva, 1980 was a psychologist of Swiss origin very attached to Constructivism was responsible for studying the intellectual and cognitive development of the child exerted a transcendental influence on evolutionary psychology and modern pedagogy.

Jean Piaget graduated and PhD (1918) in biology from the University of his hometown. From 1919 he began his work in psychological institutions in Zurich and Paris (where he collaborated with Alfred Binet) and began to develop his theory on the nature of knowledge. He published several studies on child psychology and, based primarily on the growth of his children, developed a theory of sensorimotor intelligence that described the spontaneous development of a practical, action-based intelligence that forms From the incipient concepts that the child has of permanent objects in space, time and cause.

Development of the intelligence according to Jean Piaget

For Piaget, the principles of logic begin to develop before language and are generated through the sensory and motor actions of the baby in interaction with the medium. Jean Piaget developed in his theory the so-called successive stages in the development of the intelligence:

Sensorimotor Intelligence Stadium.

Or practice, of the Elemental Affective regulations and the first external fixations of the affection. This stage constitutes the period of the infant and lasts until the age of one year and a half or two years; It is before the development of language and thought itself.

Stadium of intuitive intelligence.

Of the spontaneous interindividual feelings and the social relations of submission to the adult. This stage spans from the age of two to seven. In it, preoperative thinking is Born: The child can represent the movements without executing them; It is the time of symbolic play and self-centeredness and, from the four years, of intuitive thinking.

Stage of the specific intellectual operations.

of the moral and social sentiments of cooperation and the beginning of logic. This stage spans from seven to eleven-twelve years.

Stage of abstract intellectual operations

Of the formation of the personality and the affective and intellectual insertion in the Society of the adults (adolescence). Although Piaget established, for each of these stages, the corresponding ages, do not take such limitations rigidly; The rhythm varies from one child to another and certain features of these stages can overlap at a certain time.

Piaget conceives intellectual development as the result of an interaction of the child with the environment, discarding biological maturation or mere environmental influence as the only determinants of such development. Its conception harmonizes in a coherent theory the neurobiological growth and the influence of the social and cultural life with the development of the intelligence, emphasizing the interrelation between these phenomena. It thus eluded extreme simplifications and postures, departing both from the speculations of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis, focusing on the sexual development of the child and its affective relationships with the parents as key factors in the formation of the Personality, such as the behaviorism of John B. Watson, or B. F. Skinner, for whom the environmental and social circumstances wove a network of conditions and norms of behavior on the mind of the child, conceived as a “blank page”.

In this sense, their concepts of scheme, adaptation and organization are fundamental, which govern the process of acquiring knowledge in all the stages and result from the need of every individual to understand the world around him. The new experiences or information received require adapting the previous knowledge schemes: Such adaptation, which is divided into the subprocesses of assimilation of information and accommodation of the same ones to the previous cognitive structures, It leads to learning. And, consequently, the organization or process of categorization and systematization of knowledge (in fact, reorganization) is constant.

Jean Piaget also studied the moral development of the child, noting that moral autonomy is acquired around the age of seven. Previously, the child is subjected to the so-called pressure relations by adults, who impose their rules and mandates with threat of sanction; It is the moral call of obligation. From that age, with the development of the relations of collaboration between equals is passed to the stage of the moral reciprocity: the duty imposed is replaced by the acceptance of norms that are recognized like good and the respect to the others; The sense of good and responsibility arises.

Piaget’s many studies, carried out over more than half a century, have produced a huge number of articles and books in a vast amount of written production. Piaget’s most important works are language and thought in the Child (1923), the representation of the World in the Child (1926), the birth of the intelligence in the Child (1936), the Psychology of the Intelligence (1947), Treaty of Logic (1949), Introduction to the Genetic Epistemology (1950), six Studies of Psychology (1964), Memory and Intelligence (1968) and the Development of Thought (1975).

Jean Piaget occupies one of the most relevant places in contemporary psychology and, without a doubt, the most prominent in the field of child psychology; No scholar described in such detail and rigour the maturing process that is verified between birth and adolescence. His influence was extended to figures of child psychology such as Henri Wallon, and even psychoanalytic trend theorists such as Erik Erikson, and his breadth of sight paved the way for new approaches in evolutionary psychology and pedagogy, such as the models of Learning from Jerome Bruner, the theory of significant learning by David Ausubel and the theory of social learning by Albert Bandura. The universities of Harvard, Paris, Brussels and Rio de Janeiro awarded him the title of Doctor honoris causa.

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