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The cognitive perspective

Subject: Psychology
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Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980)

The cognitive development is about how the way we think, evolve and change. Piaget became interested in understanding the development already in the early 1920's.

He worked with Binet, one of the first who developed intelligence tests. Piaget tested children and soon became curious about the way the children solve the tasks in the test. Particularly interested he became of the incorrect answers. He held that there was a certain pattern or systematic errors in the kids did. He wondered if child has a unique way of thinking, which is different from that of adults. The method he used throughout his forskarliv was observation. Through careful observations Piaget studied how children solve problems. He tried to imagine what they were thinking, and he asked them why they solved a problem in a certain way.

This led to two conclusions:

1 The child's mind and way of thinking is not only a less developed version of the adult's thinking, but it is a completely original thinking, a completely own thought structure, and qualitatively different from the adult. Moreover, the children of different ages qualitatively from each other.

2 To understand how the adult think and understand, we need to examine how the child thinks and understand and how this thinking evolve and change.


According to Piaget, the human development four driving forces.


Physical primarily neurological. Piaget argues that the human nervous system is fully mature until the age of 15. As individuals develop, there is a maturity that constantly opens up new possibilities and abilities. Before maturation has occurred, these possibilities are excluded. According to Piaget does not arise spontaneously maturation, but is a result of the individual's activity.


Piaget believes that the social relationships and social interaction is very important for development.


Piaget sees the individual's active acts as a key driver of development. The individual is actively conduct and must be able to handle things and problems practical and concrete in order to understand their meaning, characteristics, etc. Pedagogical ideas of type Learning by doing has its origin in this approach.


According to Piaget, striving for individual adjustment or adaptation. This adaptation process occurs as an active pursuit of an ever better adaptation, the ability to understand meaning. The process builds cognitive schemas or structures of thought, ie, organized patterns of thought and action that the child uses to understand and respond to their experiences. These schedules are built up by two types of adaptation: the assimilation and accommodation.


This means that the child is using the thinking, or the

schemes, which have already been developed to understand

situation. The child's thinking does not change when it assimilates. However, there is a development in thinking by the way of thinking that already exist in the infant, new experiences and thereby become "better". When an infant gets a teddy assimilate it so that it starts to suck on Teddy as if it were a pacifier, it thus uses existing structures of thought.


When the child accommodates developed quite

new schedules and thought structure, ie change

their way of thinking and adds new experiences

to their thinking. A brand new development takes place.

The child now discovering that Teddy can be used for example to communicate with.

GAME OF Adaption

The game is very important as adaptation function for the child. Because we live in a difficult and complex world, it is important that there are opportunities for the child which can essentially use existing structures of thought, ie, assimilate, and therefore has power over life without coercion and intervention. Piaget says that the game has just this feature. The game becomes a means for the child to process all the problems, difficulties, new impressions, etc. that they face. Thus, they can improve their understanding of the world by providing them with new insights and ways, that the child adapts. The game also gives the child an opportunity to offset their powerlessness in a difficult and often frustrating world. This happens especially in the role of oaks, where the child recreates feelings, problems and conflicts of daily life and processes them and to some extent find solutions.

An example of such compensation is many children tend to 3 years of age obtain a so-called companion pretend, in the example had quit kindergarten and lost their playmates.

The driving force behind lekandet is according to Piaget a function desire that joy and satisfaction in being active, to act, to be the cause of something. The goal of the game lies in the act itself, not in any particular consciously external goals.

Piaget sees development consisting of stages. In the first stage of development occurring feature games such as to shake rattle

In the second stage, the role of oaks, important for the understanding of self and social interaction. The role of the oaks, the child can assimilate while contributing to an increased capacity for accommodation.

In the third stage, it becomes more and more regular games, which better means accommodation and thus are important for the further social development.

Language development

Piaget believes that language is a sign or symbol systems. The child develops only its own symbol systems in their thinking by external documents incorporated in the thinking, internalized.

Only later transformed these inner symbols into language, especially through imitation. According to Piaget, the "tank that feeds language."

Piaget distinguishes two kinds of languages:

INTERMEDIARY That's what we normally mean by the language that message from a

person (communicative) another.

The escorts escorts language other hand, is a sort comments

accompanying the actions we perform. In adults, this language

remain, but only as thinking. Sometimes resurrected it, eg when

to do something difficult, and as a means speaks for itself

and describes the actions you perform as a sort of support


In early development, the language is egocentric. Since the child's thinking is egocentric, that revolves around the child and has always itself as a starting point, so the language must also be. This manifests itself in collective monologues. All children talking at each other, based on what each one is for the moment to think about, doing, etc.

When thinking becomes less egocentric then the language too.


The sensorimotor stage

Around 0 - 1.5 years

The newborn infant is not a thinking individual, but as a reflex. Eventually the child reflex behaviors are increasingly systematic. The child discovers the world through their senses - sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste - and getting more and more methodical in the way they explore the world around us. Barnett examines everything, put in your mouth, pounding with things, throw them, etc..

Watch When the baby is awake, it is constantly engaged in creating order in their lives. Concepts, up - down, front - back, big - small, rough - soft start becoming familiar. The child learns to crawl, stand up, licking things, playing and so on.

About 1 year At the end of their first year discovering the child objects have an independent existence - things are resistant. Previously there things just as long as the child saw them. When things were gone from the child's field of vision ceased to exist for the child.

When she discovers that things are separate from the child, the world is more stable.

From chaos - creating order

While the child discovers that it itself is something - a self, that it relates to the things and people in a certain way.

Knowledge of child is not an imaginary knowledge without experience knowledge. The child develops through experiences from their minds and their movements - these experiences form the basis of the actual thinking.

Preschooler - it preoperationella stage

About 1.5 - 7 years

The child may object permanence ie. objects exist even though they are not directly visible.

In addition, the child discovers symbols - that every thing and phenomenon has a name.

The child can not distinguish the name of things from the things themselves. The name belongs to it. Dog is a dog as it is called dog.

Through language, the child: to think about things

imagine events



remembering in memory

The language is: an emotional function

one of mental (intellectual) function; questions

plan of action

predict consequences


a social function

Piaget believed that the child's language is egocentric and that means that the language is centered on the self. During the first 2-4 years is a genuine dialogue without the child being collective monologues.

The words - a magic formula: Using the words you can make the world obey. The child has difficulty understanding that others also have needs and desires - I think that everyone thinks that it itself does.

The child is dependent on concrete actions.

Thought is irreversible: child can not in the tank to return to his starting point for a partial idea

Animism: The child believes that everything is live and think and have feelings.

Artificialism: Children believe that everything was created by a human or divine being.

Magical Thinking: Will be good it will be good, think it hurts, it hurts - the thought control


When the child is between 4-7 increases the child thinking but the child is still dependent on concrete images. It can better justify their opinions and form concepts. It's still hard to take advantage of their experience and move them from one situation to another. In addition, the child can not over look bigger.

School age - the concrete operational stage of the

7 - 12 years

In this stage the child becomes less soul busy in their thinking. It can perform given operations, in its interior, but is dependent on a concrete surface. The child starts to become interested in other people's perceptions and desires and the ability to listen increases. Symbol The game moves to rule the game and advanced design games. They start to become interested in science and myths worldwide.

The formal operational stage of the

12 - 15 years

The child goes to the adults' way of thinking and it means that the child can formulate the problem and examine them in mind. The child no longer needs a concrete surface. It is no longer visible things to perform given operations. It is at this stage the child is given the ability to reason logically and formally correct.

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