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Very briefly describe Piaget's stages of cognitive development and explain what he meant by saying that young children are egocentric. Use experimental evidence to consider this claim.

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0014332 Very briefly describe Piaget's stages of cognitive development and explain what he meant by saying that young children are egocentric. Use experimental evidence to consider this claim. Cognitive development is what psychologists talk about when discussing a child's intellectual growth. Jean Piaget (1896 to 1980), a Swiss psychologist developed a theory of cognitive development, which is still much discussed and critiqued today. Providing a firm building block to all work done in the study of child development and the concept that young children are egocentric. Piaget's stages are divided into four main steps of cognitive development. Stage one begins at birth and is completed at approximately two years; this is called the period of sensorimotor intelligence. Second stage builds on from the first at the age of about two years, the preoperational period lasts for five years of the child's life. From that the child moves into the Concrete Operations stage, a stage which lasts to the age of eleven. Finally a child will reach the fourth stage the period of Formal operations aged eleven plus. Piagets first stage of intellectual growth, the Sensimotor period can be split into another six parts, each part can be tested by use of simple experiments with babies. ...read more.


The final stage within sensimotor developments within the age group eighteen months to two years old. A main point made about this stage is that the infant now holds object concept. The actual existence of an object does not vary and remains a separate identity of the child's contact. The Preoperational Period is the stage, which is mostly associated with egocentism in a child, although it appears in all of first three stages of cognitive development. Children aged two to seven years according to Piaget have learned "how to represent the world mentally"(Gleitman, et.al, 1999), yet have no ability to relate these findings in a logical manner. An aspect, which is important, is how children of preoperational stage have an inability to distinguish between quantities, highlighted clearly in the following experiment. Although there are many different ways of explaining what is known as failure of conservation. The experiment focuses on liquid quaintity, for a child around four years of age. The experimenter has two identical glasses of juice; both the glasses and the volumes within the glasses are the same. The child is asked if they have the same amount to drink. ...read more.


The child can think concretely but can not think abstractly at this cognitive stage. An example is that of the number six being an even number a fact that most eight to nine year olds can grasp well, and equally they can understand that eight plus one is an odd number. What they can not understand at this age is that adding one on to any even number makes an odd number. Here Piaget explains that this relationship is too complex and abstract and can only be talked when the child reaches the last stage in cognitive development. In the stage of formal operations the person is now able to think hypothetically In conclusion Piagets theory of cognitive development is backed up with the experimental evidence given from experiments run with infants and children. From birth to the stage of concrete operations the child is termed egocentric. What Piaget meant by calling young children egocentrics was that they are not selfish but have not yet attained the ability to see things from another perspective. Bibilography Gleitamn,H.,Fridlund, A.J.,& Reisburg, D. (1999) Psychology, (5th ed.). New York: W.W.Norton & Co. Ginsburg,H.P.,Opper,S.(1988) Piagets Theory of intellectual development,(3rd ed.). London:Prentice Hall International (UK). Glover, J.A.,et.al.(1949).Educational psychology Principles and Applications. Boston: Little Brown and Company. ...read more.

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