Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget’s observations of children led to a revolutionary theory of cognitive development that encompasses four qualitatively different stages: the sensorimotor, the preoperational, concrete operations, and formal operations. At each stage, children face different challenges and use different processes as they assimilate and accommodate new experiences. Readthe six scenarios listed below and answer the questions that follow each scenario; be sure to answer all parts of the question, as each one requires multiple components to complete the answer. Give brief answers that show your understanding of the concepts.
1. Lily is a four-year-old girl who, on a recent vacation,forgot to bring her favorite doll Jessie, from the movie Toy Story. She told her mother that Jessie the doll would feel sad all week that Lily wasn’t home to have a tea party. Identify Lily’s cognitive stage and the flawed thought process she isusing.
2. A preschool-age boy grabs a toy from his baby sister. She starts to cry and he is quite surprised; he wanted the toy and is now very happy to have it. He doesn’t understand why she isn’t happy, too. What is the boy’s cognitive stage and what flaw in his thinking explains why the boy doesn’t understand his sister’s feelings?
3. Arturo’s grandfather has died; although he is very sad, Arturo thinks about what it must be like for his grandfather in heaven. He hopes that there is a beautiful lake where his grandfather can fish all day. What is Arturo’s cognitive stage and is he more likely to be 8 years old or 14 years old?Why?
4. A child adept at roller skating goes ice skating for the first time. She keeps trying to stand and move just as on roller skates but falls again and again. According to Piaget, what is the process she is mistakenly following and what other processdoes she need to use for her to master this new skill? You must indicate which one isn’t working, which one would work, and why.
5. Two brothers were each given a “fun size” Snickers bar; one bar was intact, but the other had been accidentally squashed and flattened in their mother’s purse. The younger brothergot mad when he was giventhe intact Snickers bar, because he said that the flattened one was bigger. The older brother was happy to switch, since he knew that they were both the same size. Identify each of the brothers’cognitive stages and the cognitive abilitythat the younger brotherneeds to gain.
6. Previously, whenever Johnny banged on his high chair with a spoon, his mother would put the spoon in a drawer and Johnny would quickly move on to something else. Now that he is eight months old, this isn’t working. Johnny continues to demand the spoon even though he can’t see it. Identify the cognitive stage of this child, explain thecognitive ability he has gained, and say why that makes a difference.
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