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Piaget, Jean (1896-1980)

A Swiss pioneer ofDEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY who postulated a series of sequential stages in the developing processes of COGNITION in children; these are the sensorimortor, preoperational, concrete operations and formal operations stages. Piaget was (rained as a biologist and retained (his orienialion throughout his work, believing that the developmental process in children should be allowed to run its own course without encouraging a child to develop at a faster pace. Piaget began his career in psychology by administering INTELLIGENCE TESTS to children. He noticed that when children gave the wrong answers to his test questions they did so in a particular manner: all the children of a certain age gave the same kind of wrong answers to the same questions. By asking children questions about how they perceive things he was able to demonstrate that the world of the child is quite different from that of the adult, both separated from each other by a mutual incomprehension. Though Piaget's research methods and some of his findings have come under critical fire, few psychologists would dispute his great influence in reducing one half of that incomprehension.

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