Piagets conservation tasks essay

Piaget believed that children are not able to undertake certain tasks until they are psychologically mature enough to do so. Piaget believed that schemas an evolving unit of knowledge which we use to understand situations are key to cognitive development. Adults have complex schemas developed while babies have simple ones like the sucking reflex. Assimilation is where new elements are added to existing schemas by applying a schema to a new situation, such as applying the pull along schema to a wooden dog on wheels with pull rope or by adding new information to an existing schema.

Piaget believes that each stage is invariant, where each child passes through the stages in the same order, also believing that the stages are universal, Piaget proposing that these sequential stages apply to all children regardless of their culture. At this stage, knowledge consists of simple motor reflexes such as grasping and sucking.

At the ages of 8 months, the child begins to understand object permanence, which is the understanding that objects exist independently even if they are not being observed. In order to have object permanence, a child needs the ability to hold simple mental representations of objects. If the child searched for it, this would suggest that the child could understand that the object continued to exist even when out of sight, indicating object permanence.

Children at approximately 8 months searched for the hidden toy however when Piaget moved it from the blanket to another place, the child looked for it where they last found it not where they last saw it. This is the type A not B error, which indicates simple object permanence. At around 12 months the infant then begins to look for the toy where they last saw it being hidden, showing a more complex object permanence.

Other studies such as the Bower and Wishart demonstrate that even children as young as 3 months may have object permanence.

A Child On Piaget 's Conservation Tasks Essay

They turned out the lights and then observed the child with infrared camera. Within the next stage, the pre- operational stage years , children can use symbols, images and can recognise that one thing can stand for another however there are certain cognitive tasks that they are unable to do, these include animism, centration and egocentrism. Animism is the belief that inanimate objects have emotions nevertheless this is still questionable because it could be argued that they are making the best use of their limited powers of expression.

Centration is where children in the pre-operational stage can only deal with one factor at a time, Piaget suggesting that children can only begin to de-centre at the age of 7. Egocentrism is the inability for a child to take another point of view into consideration.

Our Services

The study that Piaget conducted for this idea is the 3 mountain experiment. Children were shown a 3D display of 3 mountains and then a doll was placed in various positions around the mountain. Ten images of the model were shown to the child and they were asked to select the perspective that the doll could see.

Children at the middle of the stage tended to pick their own view, demonstrating egocentrism however by years, when they were coming out of this stage; children were beginning to lose this egocentric trait and began selecting the dolls perspective.

Some weaknesses in this study is that the children may have found it difficult to analyse the pictures and may indeed recognise that the doll is viewing the mountain from a different angle but struggled to identify which view it was from the pictures given. Other evidence provided from other studies, such as Hughes and Donaldson have suggested that children are able to de-centre from a much younger age, given a familiar situation.

This could be because the task was clearly understood and the child could understand the motives behind each of the characters because to them it was a game of hide and seek. Conservation is the understanding that even though the physical appearance of an object has changed, the volume, density and mass of the object remains the same. Piaget studied the age at which children could conserve volume by showing them 2 identical beakers with equal amounts of water within them before asking which one contained more water.

The water from one beaker was poured into a third, taller beaker, with the children being asked the same question. Most children under 7 stated that the 3 rd beaker contained the most water, showing that the ability to conserve develops at the age of 7 as children older than this knew that the amounts were equal. One limitation of this study is that the children may have assumed that the experimenter was expecting a different answer as they saw them pour the water into a different beaker, so they may have just gone with the beaker that changed and not necessarily believed it.

Related Topics

Also the language that is used in the experiment may have made it more difficult for the younger children to conserve. From the age of 7, Piaget suggested that there is a cognitive shift where the child is now able to perform mental operations- an internal schema that enables logic such as ordering, multiplication, division, subtraction and addition.

This is within the concrete- operational stage.

Conservation task - Intro to Psychology

Another cognitive ability that children acquire at this stage is class inclusion, where they become aware of categories and the classification of objects. They are able to recognise the difference between general categories and sub categories. The children are then asked 3 questions- 1 Are the beads all wooden? Children under the age of 7 usually answered the first 2 questions correctly because even though they are being asked about two separate categories, the two classes are separate, they do not overlap, unlike the third question where the subclass of the brown beads overlaps with the superordinate class of all the wooden beads.

One limitation of this study is that the wording of the questions may have affected the answers that were given by the children, which is demonstrated in the study from McGarrigle and Donaldson. He argued infants were engaging in an act of assimilation when they sucked on everything in their reach. He claimed infants transform all objects into an object to be sucked.

The children were assimilating the objects to conform to their own mental structures. Piaget then made the assumption that whenever one transforms the world to meet individual needs or conceptions, one is, in a way, assimilating it.

enter site

modification of Piaget's conservation tasks Essay

Piaget also observed his children not only assimilating objects to fit their needs, but also modifying some of their mental structures to meet the demands of the environment. This is the second division of adaptation known as accommodation. To start out, the infants only engaged in primarily reflex actions such as sucking, but not long after, they would pick up objects and put them in their mouths.

When they do this, they modify their reflex response to accommodate the external objects into reflex actions. Because the two are often in conflict, they provide the impetus for intellectual development. The constant need to balance the two triggers intellectual growth. To test his theory, Piaget observed the habits in his own children. In the model Piaget developed in stage three, he argued that intelligence develops in a series of stages that are related to age and are progressive because one stage must be accomplished before the next can occur.

For each stage of development the child forms a view of reality for that age period.

Message sent successfully

At the next stage, the child must keep up with earlier level of mental abilities to reconstruct concepts. Piaget conceived intellectual development as an upward expanding spiral in which children must constantly reconstruct the ideas formed at earlier levels with new, higher order concepts acquired at the next level. It is primarily the "Third Piaget" the logical model of intellectual development that was debated by American psychologists when Piaget's ideas were "rediscovered" in the s.

Piaget studied areas of intelligence like perception and memory that are not entirely logical. Logical concepts are described as being completely reversible because they can always get back to the starting point, meaning that if one starts with a given premise and follows logical steps to reach a conclusion, the same steps may be done in the opposite order, starting from the conclusion to arrive at the premise. The perceptual concepts Piaget studied could not be manipulated. To describe the figurative process, Piaget uses pictures as examples. Pictures cannot be separated because contours cannot be separated from the forms they outline.

Memory is the same way: it is never completely reversible; people cannot necessarily recall all the intervening events between two points. During this last period of work, Piaget and his colleague Inhelder also published books on perception, memory, and other figurative processes such as learning. Because Piaget's theory is based upon biological maturation and stages, the notion of readiness is important.

Readiness concerns when certain information or concepts should be taught. According to Piaget's theory, children should not be taught certain concepts until they reached the appropriate stage of cognitive development.


  • Conservation tasks used by Piaget, James Mc Garrigle and Margaret Essay?
  • Experiment Reveiw of Piaget’s Conservation Tasks Paper.
  • The Effects of Gender on a Child’s Ability to Conserve.

Piaget defined himself as a 'genetic' epistemologist , interested in the process of the qualitative development of knowledge. He considered cognitive structures development as a differentiation of biological regulations. When his entire theory first became known — the theory in itself being based on a structuralist and a cognitivitist approach — it was an outstanding and exciting development in regards to the psychological community at that time.

There are a total of four phases in Piaget's research program that included books on certain topics of developmental psychology. In particular, during one period of research, he described himself studying his own three children, and carefully observing and interpreting their cognitive development. Piaget believed answers for the epistemological questions at his time could be answered, or better proposed, if one looked to the genetic aspect of it, hence his experimentations with children and adolescents. As he says in the introduction of his book Genetic Epistemology : "What the genetic epistemology proposes is discovering the roots of the different varieties of knowledge, since its elementary forms, following to the next levels, including also the scientific knowledge.

Sensorimotor stage : from birth to age two. The children experience the world through movement and their senses. During the sensorimotor stage children are extremely egocentric, meaning they cannot perceive the world from others' viewpoints. The sensorimotor stage is divided into six substages: [51]. Some followers of Piaget's studies of infancy, such as Kenneth Kaye [52] argue that his contribution was as an observer of countless phenomena not previously described, but that he didn't offer explanation of the processes in real time that cause those developments, beyond analogizing them to broad concepts about biological adaptation generally.

Kaye's "apprenticeship theory" of cognitive and social development refuted Piaget's assumption that mind developed endogenously in infants until the capacity for symbolic reasoning allowed them to learn language. Preoperational stage : Piaget's second stage, the pre-operational stage, starts when the child begins to learn to speak at age two and lasts up until the age of seven. During the pre-operational Stage of cognitive development, Piaget noted that children do not yet understand concrete logic and cannot mentally manipulate information.

Children's increase in playing and pretending takes place in this stage. However, the child still has trouble seeing things from different points of view. The children's play is mainly categorized by symbolic play and manipulating symbols. Such play is demonstrated by the idea of checkers being snacks, pieces of paper being plates, and a box being a table.

Their observations of symbols exemplifies the idea of play with the absence of the actual objects involved. By observing sequences of play, Piaget was able to demonstrate that, towards the end of the second year, a qualitatively new kind of psychological functioning occurs, known as the Pre-operational Stage. The pre-operational stage is sparse and logically inadequate in regard to mental operations.


  1. essays warren buffett summary;
  2. Experiment Reveiw of Piaget's Conservation Tasks?
  3. Concrete operational stage.
  4. write good thesis term paper.
  5. Conservation Essay!
  6. The child is able to form stable concepts as well as magical beliefs. The child, however, is still not able to perform operations, which are tasks that the child can do mentally, rather than physically. Thinking in this stage is still egocentric, meaning the child has difficulty seeing the viewpoint of others. The Pre-operational Stage is split into two substages: the symbolic function substage, and the intuitive thought substage. The symbolic function substage is when children are able to understand, represent, remember, and picture objects in their mind without having the object in front of them.

    The intuitive thought substage is when children tend to propose the questions of "why? Concrete operational stage : from ages seven to eleven. Children can now conserve and think logically they understand reversibility but are limited to what they can physically manipulate. They are no longer egocentric. During this stage, children become more aware of logic and conservation, topics previously foreign to them.