Jean Piaget Famous Psychologist
Published on Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 11:26 am and is filed under Famous Psychologists
The famous psychologist, Jean Piaget was born in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) on August 9, 1896. He died in Geneva on September 16, 1980. He was the eldest child of Arthur Piaget, professor of medieval literature at the University, and Rebecca Jackson. At age of 11, when he was a pupil at Neuchatel Latin School, he wrote a short note about an albino sparrow. This brief note is considered as the beginning of a brilliant scientific career including over sixty books and several hundred articles.
His interest for shellfish has grown during his adolescence until he became a well know malacologist. He has published many articles about it in his interest that remained throughout the entire life.
After graduation he studied natural sciences at the University of Neuchatel where he obtained a Ph.D. During this period, he published 2 psychological essays which he considered as “adolescence works” which were important for the general direction of his thinking.
After a semester spent at the University of Zurich where he showed an interest for psychoanalysis, he left Switzerland to go to France. He spent a year working at Ecole de la rue de la Grange-aux-belles, a boy’s institution created by Alfred Binet and ruled by De Simon, who together realized a perfect intelligence test. There Piaget standardized the intelligence test of Burt and did the first experimental studies on intellectual development.
In 1921, he became director of studies at the Institute J.J. Rousseau in Geneva at the request of Sir Ed Claparede and P. Bovet.
In 1923 he married to Valentine Chatenay. The couple had 3 children, Jacqueline, Lucienne and Laurent whose intellectual development was studied by Piaget in early childhood until they began to speak.
Piaget occupied several positions: psychology, sociology and history of science at Neuchatel from 1925 to 1929; the history of scientific thinking at Geneva from 1929 to 1939; the International Bureau of Education from 1949 to 1967; psychology and sociology at Lausanne from 1938 to 1951; sociology at Geneva from 1939 to 1952, then genetic and experimental psychology from 1940 to 1971. In 1955, he created and led till he died the International Center for Genetic Epistemology.
In a period of six decades, Jean Piaget led a program of naturalistic research that affected our understanding of child development. Piaget has called his theoretical work “genetic epistemology” because he was primarily interested in how knowledge develops in human body.
The concept of structure is central in his theory. The cognitive structures are models of physical or mental actions that emphasize specific acts of intelligence and correspond to stages of child development. According to Piaget’s theory, there are four stages of development: sensor-motor operations, specific operations and formal operations. Sensor-motor stage (0-2 years), intelligence takes the form of motor actions. Intelligence during the operations (3-7 years) is intuitive. The cognitive structure during the concrete operations (8-11 years) is logical but depends on the specific references. In the final stage of formal operations (12-15 years), involves abstract thinking.
While the levels of knowledge are associated with characteristic differences in age, they vary from individual to individual. Moreover, each stage has many detailed structural forms.
Piaget has published books like Biology and knowledge, Children’s conception about world, language and thinking of the child, Genetic Epistemology.
Piaget’s work is known worldwide and is still an inspiration in fields like psychology, sociology, education, epistemology, economics and law. He was rewarded with numerous awards worldwide.