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James thinks you can’t see him now. Today’s session. Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development. Pre-operational stage. Children form internal mental representations and think by manipulating them They lack operations – abstract rules that underpin adult logical thinking

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Pre-operational stage

  • Children form internal mental representations and think by manipulating them

  • They lack operations – abstract rules that underpin adult logical thinking

  • As a result their thinking tends to be inconsistent and irrational from an adult’s perspective


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Pre-operational stage

  • Limitations on a pre-operational child’s thinking include:

    • Egocentrism

    • Animism

    • Centration

  • Children continue to develop their internal representations of the world through adaptation and accommodation of new experiences

This one is named in the spec so you need to know lots about it.



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According to Piaget...

  • Young children do not understand that others have a different view of the world from theirs

  • They assume that anyone else can see what they can see

  • This egocentrism does not disappear fully until the child is 7 or 8 years old.


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Three tests of egocentrism

  • Three mountains task (Piaget & Inhelder, 1956)

  • Turntable task (Borke, 1975)

  • Boy and policemen task (Hughes, 1975)


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Three tests of egocentrism

  • You need to know:

    • What is the procedure for the test?

    • What do the results suggest about egocentrism?

  • Ask yourselves:

    • Is this a fair test of egocentrism?

    • Are there features that make it easy/hard?


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Compare the tests

  • Make sure everyone understands all three, then ask yourselves:

    • What are the similarities and differences?

    • Which is the fairest test of egocentrism and why?

    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

    • What implications do the results have for Piaget’s theory?


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Three mountains task

  • Involves unfamiliar materials and situation

  • Makes heavy demands on working memory

  • Requires the child to respond in a difficult way


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Turntable task

  • Children have a chance to practise

  • Uses familiar characters, materials & situation

  • Makes it easy for the child to respond


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Boy and policemen task

  • Children have a chance to practise

  • Only requires the child to consider what can be seen, not how it will look

  • The task has ‘human sense’ – the motives and intentions of the characters are clear (Donaldson, 1978)


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Tests of egocentrism

  • Piaget’s methods make it difficult for younger children to respond correctly – consequently he underestimates their abilities

  • Children may not fully overcome egocentrism until 7yrs but they start to do so much earlier


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Homework

  • Write an evaluation of Piaget and Inhelder’s (1956) ‘three mountains’ test of egocentrism. In your evaluation include:

    • Reference to competence and performance

    • Alternative ways of testing egocentrism

    • Implications for Piaget’s theory


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