Evaluating Piaget.


Psychology A2. (Cognitive Development.) Mind Map on Evaluating Piaget., created by Stephanie Price on 04/25/2014.
Stephanie Price
Mind Map by Stephanie Price, updated more than 1 year ago
Stephanie Price
Created by Stephanie Price about 9 years ago

Resource summary

Evaluating Piaget.
    1. Criticisms.
      1. Piaget studied a small and unrepresentative sample, few details of participants were given and often used his own children.
        1. Reporting was less than rigorous; he often failed to record the number and ages of his participants and did not carry out any statistical analysis.
        2. Tests - Relied too much on memory and language skills and the researchers may have confused the children.
          1. Tests were often confusing as Piaget failed to consider how test performance might be affected by factors such as language ability, memory, context, motivation and perceived intention. Piaget may have seriously underestimated children's ability.
            1. However, some of the tests he devised were simple and ingenious.
            2. Clinical Interviews - Piaget did not adhere to the normal scientific procedures of standardisation and control. His interactions with participants were quite informal and each participant was treated slightly differently. This meant that the results gained on any one occasion may have been partly due to the way in which the interview was conducted rather than to the age of the child.
              1. It may be too subjective and liable to lead the children in a certain direction, however, it is a valid method to use although comparison of data may be difficult.
              2. Piaget assumed that if a child did not succeed at a task it was because they lacked ability. In fact there may have been many reasons why children did not give the correct answer in Piaget's tests.
                1. It is wrong to assume that task failure equals lack of ability.
              3. Positive Points.
                1. Piaget's extensive work paved the way for further research and he made cognitive development a core aspect of developmental psychology. Numerous others have conducted studies to explore aspects of his theory and to see whether his findings are supported.
                  1. Piaget's extensive clinical observations, in which he paid such close attention to how children behaved and what they said, have provided us with a rich and detailed account of cognitive development.
                    1. Piaget's tests were innovative and creative, yet incredibly simple.
                      1. His proposal that there is a universal sequence of cognitive development is generally supported by cross-culterual research.
                        1. Piaget's findings have had an enormous influence on early years education.
                      2. Challenging Piaget.
                        1. Bower and Wishart (1972).
                          1. Wanted to find out whether object permanence occurs earlier than 8 months.
                            1. They studied infants between 1 and 4 months old.
                              1. Instead of using Piagets blanket technique, they waited until the infant reached for an object and then turned out the lights so that the object was no longer visible.
                                1. They used an infra-red camera to observe the child.
                                  1. The researchers found that the infants continued to reach for the object for up to 90 seconds after it became invisible.
                                    1. Bower claimed that infants acquire object permanence much younger than Piaget stated. He explained their lack of success in Piagets task as being due to an inability to understand the results of moving an object to a different location.
                                      1. In Piaget's test the object was moved when it was hidden, but in Bower and Wishart's procedure the object was not moved.
                              2. Hughes and Donaldson (1979).
                                1. Aim was to test children's ability to take another person's point of view in a task that makes more sense to children than the three mountains problem, but made similar cognitive demands.
                                  1. 30 children aged between 3 years 6 months and 4 years 11 months took part.
                                    1. 3 tasks were used. Only the second tasked is described. This involved a model brick wall built in the shape of a cross, and three dolls (a boy and two policemen). The experimenter checked that the children understood the task by asking each child to position the boy so that he could not be seen by one policemen. The children were asked to hide the boy from two policemen who were positioned at two ends of the walls. The children did this for 4 different arrangements of the policemen.
                                      1. 27 of the 30 children were successful on 3 of the tasks; slightly fewer (22 of the 30) were successful on all four tasks.
                                        1. Young children could successfully accomplish a task which involves the ability to understand what the policemen could see.
                                          1. Hughes and Donaldson (1979) argued that this was possible because the task was very much simpler than the 3 mountains task and was like a hide-and-seek game, which would be familiar to the children.
                                  2. McGarrigle and Donaldson (1974).
                                    1. Aim was to investigate whether the way that the length of a row of beads was altered had an effect on children's conservation judgements.
                                      1. 80 children aged between 4 and 6 years took part in the study. The children were given Piaget's conservation tasks involving length and number.
                                        1. There were two conditions. In one condition, the alteration was made by the experimenter (e.g. by making one row of beads longer). In the other condition, the alteration appeared as an accident; a toy character called 'Naughty Teddy', swooped down, 'messed up the game' and made one row longer than the other.
                                          1. When the experimenter altered the length, 16% of the children showed conservation across all the tasks. When Naughty Teddy altered the length, 62% of children showed conservation across all tasks.
                                            1. Children appear to be able to conserve number at younger ages than that suggested by Piaget.
                                      2. McGarrigle (1978).
                                        1. Aim was to see whether children's responses were affected by the way that questions about class inclusion were asked.
                                          1. 35 children about 6 years old took part.
                                            1. Children were shown 3 black toy cows and one white toy cow. All the cows were put on their sides and the children were told that this was because the cows were sleeping. The children were asked 2 questions: Are there more black cows or more white cows? (the type of question used by Piaget) and Are there more black cows or sleeping cows?
                                              1. Question 1 was answer correctly by 25% of the children; Question 2 was answered correctly by 48% of the children.
                                                1. The wording of the question affects children's responses. Giving more emphasis to the whole group by using the adjective 'sleeping' helped children give the correct answer.
                                          2. Criticisms.
                                            1. Language used was too complicated.
                                              1. Observations and clinical interviews are both subjective methods and possibly bias.
                                                1. Confused performance with competence when a task was failed to be completed successfully.
                                                  1. Piaget's first 3 stages underestimated children's abilities and the final stage overestimated them.
                                                    1. Too much stress on independent learning and ignored the role of culture and interaction with others.
                                                      1. Small and unrepresentative samples used.
                                                        1. BUT concepts have been replicated so results can be generalised.
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