Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence. It was originated by the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget (1896–1980). The theory deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans gradually come to acquire, construct, and use it.
1. Piaget’s theory is mainly known as a developmental stage theory.
In 1919, while working at the Alfred Binet Laboratory School in Paris, Piaget “was intrigued by the fact that children of different ages made different kinds of mistakes while solving problems”
. His experience and observations at the Alfred Binet Laboratory were the beginnings of his theory of cognitive development.
Piaget believed that children are not like “little adults” who may know less; children just think and speak differently. By thinking that children have great cognitive abilities, Piaget came up with four different cognitive development stages, which he put out into testing. Within those four stages he managed to group them with different ages. Each stage he realized how children managed to develop their cognitive skills. For example, he believed that children experience the world through actions, representing things with words, thinking logically, and using reasoning.
To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes resulting from biological maturation and environmental experience. He believed that children construct an understanding of the world around them, experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment, then adjust their ideas accordingly.
4] Moreover, Piaget claimed that cognitive development is at the center of the human organism, and language is contingent on knowledge and understanding acquired through cognitive development. Piaget’s earlier work received the greatest attention.