Piaget, Jean
 
 
(b. 1896, Neuchatel, Switzerland, d. 1980, Geneva, Switzerland. Ph.D. Biology, University of Neuchatel, 1918). Piaget is widely considered the most influential developmental theorist of the twentieth century. According to Piaget, cognitive development is a progression from a state of egocentrism, characterized by the use of concrete concepts, toward the construction and use of abstract concepts.
 

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Piaget was professor of child psychology and history of scientific thought, 1929-1971, and chair of experimental psychology and director of Psychology Laboratory, 1940-1970, at the University of Geneva. During this period he was also professor of child psychology at Sorbonne (University of Paris), 1952-1963. In addition he was founder and director of the International Center of Genetic Epistemology in Geneva, 1955-1980. Piaget is widely considered the most influential developmental theorist of the twentieth century. According to Piaget, cognitive development is a progression from a state of egocentrism, characterized by the use of concrete concepts, toward the construction and use of abstract concepts. This progression is conceptualized as the restructuring of relationships among concepts, brought on, almost automatically, by a combination of maturation and the child’s actions. The progression is universal in the following sense: the sequence of stages of development is the same across individuals, even though the time to complete a stage varies across individuals. Piaget’s method of child study emphasized heavily the analysis of the investigator’s conversations with children, because it was Piaget’s belief that a child’s thought is reflected in the child’s language. Among his best known books are Le langage et la pensée chez l’enfant (1923), Le jugement et le raisonnement chez l’enfant (1924), La répresentation du monde chez l’enfant (1926), La causalité physique chez l’enfant (1927), Classes, relations et nombres: Essai sur les groupements de la logistique et sur la reversibilité de la pensée (1942), La formation du symbole chez l’enfant (1946), Introduction à l’épistémologie génétique (3 vols., 1950), and La genèse des structure logiques élémentaires, classifications et sériations (1959, with B. Inhelder).
 
 
Tadeusz Zawidzki