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Piaget and Cognitive Development Theory

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Evidence for Piaget and his cognitive-developmental stage theory

Acquiring object permanence:


Piaget wanted to find out at what age children acquire object permanence.


o Piaget hid a toy under a blanket whilst the child was watching, and observed whether or not the child searched for the hidden toy.

o Searching for the hidden toy was evidence of object permanence.

o Piaget assumed that that the child could only search for a hidden toy if they had a mental representation of it.


o Piaget found that infants started searching for the toy at about 8 months, although if the toy was hidden somewhere else, they still looked under the blanket.

o At about 12 months children started to search for the toy in it's most recent hiding place, not under the blanket. I.e.) if it was hidden in the cupboard, they looked in the cupboard and not in the first hiding place which was under the blanket.


o Object permanence develops around 8-12 months.

Acquiring conservation:


o Piaget wanted to find out at what age children can conserve volume of liquid.


o Children were presented with 2 identical beakers with equal amounts of water in.

o They were then asked if they had the same amount in or if one had more than the other. Most of the children said the same amount.

o The researchers then poured the water from one of the beakers into a taller, thinner beaker. The previous question was asked again.


o Most children under 7 said that there was more in the taller, thinner beaker (they failed to conserve)

o Most children aged 7+ said that there was the same amount.



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