Piaget is BornJean Will Fritz Piaget was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
He was the oldest child of Arthur Piaget, a professor, and of Rebecca Jackson. After high school graduation, he studied natural sciences at the University of Neuchâtel. Before becoming a Psychologist, he obtained a Ph.D in Philosophy and Natural History.
The Beginning of his StudiesPiaget first developed as a psychologist in the 1920s. He investigated the hidden side of children’s minds. Piaget proposed that children moved from a position of egocentrism to sociocentrism. For this explanation he combined the use of psychological and clinical methods to create what he called a semiclinical interview. He began the interview by asking children standardized questions and depending on how they answered, he would ask them a series of nonstandard questions
StudiesHe spent a semester at the University of Zurich where he took a liking to psychoanalysis, and while there he attended Carl Jung’s lectures. He left Switzerland to go study abnormal psychology and logic in France and ended up working there as well. He spent a year at a Boy’s Institute that was created by Alfred Binet and De Simon. He later went back to Switzerland where he began observing children in their natural environment.
He later became director of studies at the J.-J. Rousseau Institute.
FamilyJean and Valentine Châtenay were married. The couple had three children, Jacqueline, Lucienne and Laurent.Being that their father had a passion for children’s ways of thinking, Piaget studied their intellectual development from infancy to the time they could speak.
Professional AccomplishmentsFrom 1925-29, he was a professor of Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy of Science at the University of Neuchatel. While Piaget was at the University of Geneva from 1929-1980, he was director of the International Bureau of Education, director of the Institute of Educational Sciences, and the director of the International Center for Genetic Epistemology. He was coeditor of eight journals and has honorary doctorates from Harvard, Manchester, Cambridge and about 28 other universities.
HonorsHe received the Erasmus Prize in 1972.
In 1979 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Social and Political Sciences.
The DeathHe died in Geneva on September 16, 1980 of unspecified causes.
InfluenceHis theory of cognitive development has proved influential in many different areas:
Education and Morality
Historical studies of thought and cognition
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Stages of the TheoryThe four development stages are described in Piaget's theory as:
Sensorimotor stage: From birth to age 2. Children experience the world through movement and senses.
Preoperational stage: From ages 2 to 7,Children cannot conserve or use logical thinking.
Concrete operational stage: From ages 7 to 11 Children begin to think logically but are very concrete in their thinking.
Formal operational stage: From age 11-16 and onwards, Children develop abstract thought and can easily think logically.
PhilosophySome have taken into account of Piaget's work. For example, the philosopher and social theorist Jürgen Habermas has incorporated Piaget into his work, most notably in The Theory of Communicative Action. The philosopher Thomas Kuhn credited Piaget's work with helping him to understand the transition between modes of thought which characterized his theory of paradigm shifts.