Piaget's Theoretical Perspective on Human Development Term Paper

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[. . .] The concept is inclusive of the perspective that various sets of objects are associative of each other. Hierarchical classification involves the ability of sorting objects into subclasses and classes on the basis of their differences and similarities among objects. According to Newman & Newman (2008), conservation is an understanding that even though there are changes in an object's appearance, it maintains its initial quantity. The redistribution of objects does not expressly affect the number, volume, or mass. For instance, children will understand that pouring a liquid in glasses of different shapes does not change the amount of liquid. De-centering involves the ability of a child to consider multiple components of the problem and alternative solutions. For instance, the child does not perceive exceptionally wide and short container to hold less than the normal sized containers. Reversibility is a condition that allows the child to understand that objects or figures can be altered and returned to original status.

Children understand that their toys can deflate and inflate back to their original sizes. Seriation illustrates the children's ability to arrange objects in whichever order including shape, or size. Different-shaded items make color gradients. Transitivity refers to the ability of mentally sorting objects and identifying relationships across various parts in serial orders. Other significant processes within concrete operational stages include logic and elimination of egocentrism. The theory determines that children with concrete operational stages can integrate inductive logic. According to Sigelman & Rider (2014), children within the age encounter difficulties in using deductive logic. The major components include the use of general principles in predicting the outcome of certain occurrences.

The last stage in the model is called formal operational stage. The stage involves adolescence and adulthood for ages between eleven and twenty. The demonstration of intelligence is based on a logical application of symbols in relation to concepts of an abstract nature. The individuals are in a position of deductive and hypothetical reasoning. According to Newman & Newman (2008), people also develop an enhanced capability of reasoning about differentiated concepts. Piaget observes that hypothetical-deductive reasoning is a significant element in enhancing formal operational stages. The form of thinking includes hypothetical situations and requires contributions of science and mathematics. Abstract thoughts are realized in formal operational stages. Individuals think specifically and concretely for earlier stages while considering the possible consequences and outcomes of their actions. According to Newman & Newman (2010), metacognition involves the ability to reason rationally and allow adolescents and adults think about their respective contexts and monitoring systems. Problem solving can be illustrated as children engage guessing to develop solutions to problems. The concept of the systematic solution of problems through methodical and logical approaches is realized. Piaget perceives children's causation conception as marches of primitive conceptions into more mechanical and scientific disciplines. The primitive concepts can be characterized through supernatural grouping a decided natural or mechanical intuition. The basic assumption of Piaget is that infants are phenomenalist.

According to Shaffer (2008), parents use Piaget's theory in making decisions on what to purchase to support the growth of their child. Teachers use the theory in discussing whether syllabus components reflect the development stages of the students. For instance, studies show that children within similar grades and age have different performance levels for tasks that measure subtraction fluency and basic addition. Even as children within concrete and proportional operational cognitive development levels undertake combined arithmetic operations with ascertained accuracy, those in concrete operational levels can perform both subtraction and addition math problems with greater fluency.

According to Newman & Newman (2008), abilities of fluently performing mathematical operations illustrate consistent levels of skill and willingness to learn advanced math problems. Teachers working with students within concrete and pre-operational operational levels in the development adopt relevant academic expectations to suit the cognitive developmental abilities. The essence of educators individualizing and adopting appropriate expectations in academics is most relevant in managing first-grade level classrooms. According to Kail & Cavanaugh (2012), a standardized application for Piagetian's procedures and theory for different societies establishes a wide variance in outcomes leading to speculations. The variables of cultures generate more cognitive development as compared to others without specific cultural experiences. Formal schooling ensures in development levels including concrete operations.

The accounts of the development by Piagetians are criticized various grounds. First, development is not always a progressive and smooth curve through as suggested in his theory. According to Ashford & LeCroy (2009), progressive elements for cognitive developmental progression are inclusive of specific domains suggesting that stage models are useful approximations. Studies engage that children are in a position of learning concepts, and their capabilities of complex reasoning are represented relatively in advanced stages. Some cognitive development enthusiasts argue instead of being domain learners, children are equipped with specific theories commonly known as core knowledge. The knowledge allows them break into education without the external push. Recent works strongly challenge the basic presumptions regarding "core knowledge."

The findings revise domain generality ideas from newer approaches to dynamic systems and not from the Piagetian perspective. According to Newman & Newman (2010), the dynamic systems illustrate modern research that is not availed by Piaget in constructing a theory. Another critical finding is that knowledge with domain-specific nature is developed while children integrate and develop in understanding. It enables domains to enhance the knowledge accuracy and organize memories. On the other hand, the theory illustrates that there are smoother integrations of development and learning envisioned. Psychologists have a different thinking about Piaget as they suggest that the language shares more importance for cognition development as compared to Piaget's proposals.


Ashford, J., LeCroy, C. (2009). Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multidimensional Perspective. New York: Cengage Learning

Kail, R., Cavanaugh, J. (2012). Human Development: A Life-Span View. New York: Cengage Learning

Kail, R., Cavanaugh, J. (2013). Essentials of Human Development: A Life-Span View. New York: Cengage Learning

Newman, B.M., Newman, P.R. (2010). Theories of Human Development. New York: Psychology Press

Newman, B., Newman, P. (2008). Development through Life: A Psychosocial Approach. New York: Cengage Learning

Shaffer, D. (2008). Social and Personality Development. New York:… [END OF PREVIEW]

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