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What do children’s drawings tell us about child development?. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJlUZhpwmlE. Drawing develops through distinct stages (Luquet, 1913;1927; Piaget & Inhelder 1956;1971). 1.) Scribbling (ages 2-4)- fortuitous realism 2.) Preschematic stage (ages 4-7)

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drawing develops through distinct stages luquet 1913 1927 piaget inhelder 1956 1971
Drawing develops through distinct stages(Luquet, 1913;1927; Piaget & Inhelder 1956;1971)

1.) Scribbling (ages 2-4)- fortuitous realism

2.) Preschematic stage (ages 4-7)

Failed realism–

elements are unrelated/unconnected

Intellectual realism –

Children draw what they “know”

3.) Schematic stage (ages 8-9)

Visual realism –

children draw what they “see”

visual intellectual realism freeman janikoun 1972
Visual & Intellectual realism (Freeman & Janikoun, 1972)
  • Intellectual realism- draw what you know rather than what you see
  • Visual realism-draw what you see in a very realistic way
cognitive development
Cognitive development

Cognitive Psychology: The study of how we gain, organise, remember and use information.

Cognitive Development: How and when we develop these mental abilities and changes which occur in them throughout the lifespan.

Much of what psychologists know about cognitive development comes from observing behaviours – therefore inferences can be made.

jean piaget
Jean Piaget
  • Piaget is responsible for developing entirely new fields of scientific study, including cognitive theory and developmental psychology. The recipient of two prestigious prizes, he summed up his passion for the ongoing pursuit of scientific knowledge with these words: "The current state of knowledge is a moment in history, changing just as rapidly as the state of knowledge in the past has ever changed and, in many instances, more rapidly."
jean piaget1
Jean Piaget
  • 1. He taught at a all boy school.
  • 2. He was the oldest kid in his family.
  • 3. He wrote his first published scientific paper at the age of 10.
  • 4. He went to the University of Zurich.
  • 5. He moved to Paris.
  • 6. He started to study kids while he was working as a teacher.
  • 7. He married Valentine Chatenay.
  • 8. He had 3 children.
  • 9. He went back to University of Zurich to be a professor.
  • 10. His most famous book was The Language and Thought of the Child.
jean piaget2
Jean Piaget

Famous theory of Cognitive Development (1920s)

Many current views in Psychology are based upon Piaget’s theories.

The development of mental abilities occurs as we adapt to the changing world around us.

Adaptation involves taking in, processing, organising and using new information in ways which enable us to adjust to changes in the environment.


Schemata are a mental idea about what something is and how to deal with it.

We form schemata through experience – we have schemas for how to interact with people, how to do things, what to expect from a given moment. It can also aid our memory.

Schemata help us take pieces of information and slot them into what we already know. This limits our confusion and helps us to deal with new information easier than if we had to re-process continually.

We use schemata in perception; to interpret, organise and assign meaning to information obtained through our senses.





the processes of adaptation
The processes of adaptation

Piaget determined that adaptation of our schemas was dominated by two key processes.

Assimilation: The process of taking new information and fitting it into existing schemas.

We use assimilation to make sense of new information based upon old information.

For example: A toddler may identify a truck as a ‘car’ simply because his schema has told him that a vehicle with four wheels is a car.

the processes of adaptation1
The processes of adaptation

Accommodation:Sometimes we cannot assimilate new information into an existing SCHEMA. It will not fit in, and we cannot change the information in any way to link it to what we already know.

In this case, we are forced to change our schemata to accommodate the new information.

This is a more advanced process than assimilation because it involves restructuring the way in which existing information is mentally organised so new information can be included.

For example, when the child realises that a truck and a car are different, accommodation has occurred.



A child seeing a zebra for the first time and calling it a horse. The child assimilates this information into her schema for a horse. When the child accommodates information, she takes into consideration the different properties of a zebra compared to a horse, perhaps calling a zebra a horse with stripes. When she eventually learns the name of zebra, she has accommodated this information.

  • Assimilation is like adding air into a balloon. You just keep blowing it up. It gets bigger and bigger. For example, a two year old's schema of a tree is "green and big with bark” - over time the child adds information (some trees lose their leaves, some trees have names, we use a tree at Christmas, etc.) - Your balloon just gets full of more information that fits neatly with what you know and adds onto it.
  • When a child learns the word for dog, they start to call all four-legged animals dogs.  This is assimilation.  People around them will say, no, that's not a dog, it's a cat.  The schema for dog then gets modified to restrict it to only certain four-legged animals.  That is accommodation.
  • A child learns his father is called Daddy, so he calls other males ( e.g. the mailman) Daddy.  This is assimilation. He is quickly told that the other man is not Daddy, he is _______.  Again, the schema for Daddy is modified.  This is accommodation.
  • When I was growing up my parents believed that tattoos were bad, so I created a schema for people with tattoos.  I assimilated such information as "probably rides a motorcycle," "is dirty," and "probably has been in jail" into this schema during my childhood (because that's what my parents said).  When I got to college, I met a lot of people with tattoos who did not fit into my schema, and thus had to do some accommodation to accept those people.
  • WATCH: http://video.about.com/psychology/Jean-Piaget-s-Cognitive-Child-Development-Theory.htm#vdTrn
  • My own son, then 3 years old at the time.  We were out shopping and three trucks drive by, two 18-wheelers, and a smaller truck. "Look", my son says, "a daddy truck, a mommy truck and a baby truck." Is this assimilation or accommodation? Explain why.
  • Come up with your own example for “assimilation” OR “accommodation”
piaget s four stages of development
Piaget’s four stages of development

4 distinct and sequential stages from birth to adulthood.

Each stage is linked to an approximate age range.

This does not mean that individuals progress when they reach a certain age, some develop sooner or later than others.

Everyone proceeds through these stages in the same order.

Some individuals (intellectually disabled) may never reach the final level of development.

Piaget also defined the cognitive accomplishments (types of thinking) which are attained in each stage of development.

the sensorimotor stage birth to 2 years
The Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years)

First stage of Cognitive Development

Infants begin to understand the world by combining sensory experiences (vision, touch etc) with motor (movement) abilities.

Infants originally do not understand the incoming sensory input. They don’t know that they can reach out and touch something less than an arm’s length away.

It is only at about 3 months old that infants learn to reach out and touch objects, or turn towards a noise.

the sensorimotor stage birth to 2 years1
The Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years)

At about seven months old, babies discover the idea of object permanence.

Object permanence is the understanding that objects still exist, even if they cannot be seen.

Before infants develop Object Permanence, out of sight is literally out of mind. An infant will follow an object with his eyes, but stop when it is hidden.

Eventually, an infant will search actively for an object, even if they have not seen it being hidden.

the sensorimotor stage birth to 2 years2
The Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years)

Object permanence is the key development of the Sensorimotor Stage.

In the Sensorimotor Stage, infants also develop the ability to carry out goal-directed behaviour.

Goal-directed behaviour is behaviour which has a particular purpose.

This behaviour develops towards the end of the sensorimotor stage, when a child begins to realise that certain actions will get them what they want. This may occur through trial-and-error, but the child will trial many behaviours until one achieves the desired outcome.

the sensorimotor stage birth to 2 years3
The Sensorimotor stage (birth to 2 years)




the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

More sophisticated thinking.

Children become able to accommodate and assimilate information into their schemata.

An important development of this stage is symbolic thinking.

Symbolic thinking is the ability to use symbols such as words and pictures to represent objects, places and events.

This is why language development occurs in the Pre-Operational Stage, and why children are able to play games using imagination.

the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years1
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

In this stage, Piaget believed that children are unable to see things from another person’s perspective.

This is called ego centricism.


This does not mean that 2-7 year olds are selfish, it means that they are unable to see the world from anyone’s view but their own.

An example of this is asking a small child what their mother would like to for Christmas, and the child replies that she would like a ‘Barbie Doll’ or a ‘Matchbox Car’.

Experiment p. 349 textbook (picture cards)

the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years2
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

By the end of the Pre-Operational Stage, the child is capable of decentered thinking, which allows them to form a schema involving someone else as the centre of attention.

Another way of thinking by children in the Pre-Operational stage is called animism.

Animism is the belief that everything that exists has some sort of consciousness of awareness (for example, bumping into a table, then hitting the table for being ‘naughty’).

Piaget believed that Animism is linked to Egocentric thinking – children assume that everyone and everything is like themselves.

the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years3
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

Another key accomplishment in the Pre-Operational Stage is called transformation.

Transformation is understanding that something can change from one state to another (for example, an ice cube can change into water).

Children are able to identify the initial and final stages of a process, but cannot explain what happens in between.

the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years4
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

While the thinking of a Pre-Operational child is significantly more sophisticated than that of babies, the Pre-Operational child can focus on only one quality or feature of an object at a time.

This process is known as centration.



Example of ‘Rick’ Pg 350

Another accomplishment in the Pre-Operational stage is reversibility. This is the ability to follow a line of reasoning back to it’s original starting point.

the pre operational stage 2 to 7 years5
The pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)


the concrete operational stage 7 to 12 years
The Concrete Operational Stage(7 to 12 years)

The thinking of concrete operational children revolves around what they know and what they can experience through their senses – what is concrete.

A key cognitive accomplishment for a child in the concrete operational stage is understanding conservation.

Conservation refers to the idea that an object does not change it’s weight, mass, volume or area when it changes shape or appearance.

Example of liquid in different glasses, plasticine shapes.


the concrete operational stage 7 to 12 years1
The Concrete Operational Stage(7 to 12 years)

Another key cognitive accomplishment of the Concrete Operational Stage is the ability to organise information (things or events) into categories based on common features. This is called classification.

By the end of this stage, children will have learned to view the world more accurately. They begin to think logically about concrete objects and can create mental pictures of objects and processes.

They begin to move towards abstract thinking.

the concrete operational stage 7 to 12 years2
The Concrete Operational Stage(7 to 12 years)


the formal operational stage 12 years and over
The formal operational stage(12 years and over)

Piaget’s final stage of development.

More complex thought processes become evident and thinking becomes increasingly sophisticated.

A key cognitive accomplishment in the Formal Operational Stage is abstract thinking.

Abstract thinkingis a way of thinking that does not rely on being able to see or visualise things in order to understand concepts (Algebra, Physics, Honesty, Morality)

the formal operational stage 12 years and over1
The formal operational stage(12 years and over)

Another key cognitive accomplishment of the Formal Operational Stage is logical thinking.

Logical thinking is the ability to develop plans to solve problems, develop hypotheses and systematically test solutions.

It is not until the Formal Operational stage that individuals are able to gain understanding of the concepts of time and distance – that is, what it means for something to have happened in 200BC or how far 4000km really is.

the formal operational stage 12 years and over2
The formal operational stage(12 years and over)

During the Formal Operational Stage, the ability to think and behave in idealistic ways is also accomplished.

For example, teenagers often compare themselves and others to some ideal standard and strive towards being like their ideal person.

It is not until the Formal Operational Stage that a child can plan and set goals. Beforehand they may have been able to say ‘I want to be a doctor’ but it is not until now that they realise exactly what being a doctor entails.

The extent to which an adolescent is able to function at the Formal Operational Stage is dependent upon education and everyday experiences.

the formal operational stage 12 years and over3
The formal operational stage(12 years and over)