Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind (Piaget)

Title of Research: Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind
Date of Study: 1954
Name of Researcher: Jean Piaget
Theoretical Propositions: Piaget proposed that children of similar ages were using the same reasoning to reach the same answers. He also theorized that older children got different answers because they were thinking differently about the problems, not because they just learned more than the younger children. Piaget's theory is that all humans develop through four stages of cognitive development that always occur in the same chronological order at approximately the same ages. The stages of cognitive development are: sensori-motor stage (0-2years), Preoperational stage (2-7years), Concrete operations (7-11years), and Formal operations (11 and up).
Equipments :
No specific equipment mentioned, maybe specific materials for some games and tests he prepares to test on his children

Subjects :
His own children

Procedure :
Play with his children and carefully observe & interpret each behaviors

*Used unstructured evaluation methods; for infants, these techniques often took the form of games that Piaget would play with his children
⇒identified six substages of development that occur during the sensori-motor period & are involved in the formation of the object concept.

Six Substages of Development

Stage 1 (Birth ~ 1 month)
-concerned primarily with reflexes relating to feeding and touching; no evidence of object permanence

Stage 2 (1~4 month)
- behaviors that Piaget interprets as preparing the infant for the ability of object concept
- does primary circular reactions : repeat purposely behaviors that center on the infant's own body
- able to follow moving objects with their eyes
- passive expectation : does not actively search for the vanished object

Stage 3 (4~10 month)
- secondary circular reactions : purposefully and repeatedly manipulate objects they encounter in their environment

Stage 4 (10~12 month)
- learn that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer in sight
- but, lacks the visible displacements - ability to understand
- makes the A-not-B effect error

Stae 5 (12~18 month)
- gains the ability to follow visible sequential displacements and searches for an object where it was last visibly found

Stage 6 (18~24 month)
- concept of the permanent object becomes fully realized
entry into this stage is determined by the child's ability to represent mentally objects that undergo invisible displacements

Results: After many experiments and observations involving his three children, Piaget came up with six substages of development during sensori-motor period. Stage 1 (birth-1month) involves gaining reflexes relating to feeding and touching. Stage 2 (1-4months) concerns the behaviors that Piaget called primary circular reactions, which involves the infant repeating the same movements that center on the baby's body over and over again. Stage 3 (4-10months) is the stage where children start to purposefully and repeatedly manipulate objects they encounter in their environment, a.k.a. secondary circular reactions. Stage 4 (10-12months) is when children learn that even if the object is not in sight, they know that the object continues to exist. Stage 5 (12-18months) is the period of time when the child gains the ability to follow visible sequential displacements and searches for an object where it was last visibly hidden, but the hcild is still unable to understand invisible displacements. And finally, Stage 6 (18-24months) is when the baby learns the concept of the permanent object becomes fully realized. Object permanence is the foundation for all subsequent advances in intellectual ability. All children must pass through each stage before going on to the next; no stages can be skipped.
Significance of Findings:

Piaget contended that all of his stages applied universally to all children, regardless of cultural or family background & he stressed several important aspects relating to the stages of development of the object concept during the sensori-motor period

- the ages associated with each stage are approximate
- the the sequence of the stages is invarient
- changes from one stage to the next occur gradually over time so that the errors being made at one stage slowly begin to decrease as new intellectual abilities mature
- as a child moves into the next higher stage, the behaviors associated with the lower stages do not necessarily disappear completely
Criticisms: Many theorists disagree with Piaget's idea that cognitive development happens in discrete stages; they contend that intellectual development is continuous, without any particular sequence built in the process. Other critics say that Piaget's ideas claim that the age ranges at which he asserted specific abilities appear are incorrect. Some critics even assert that certain cognitive skills may already be present at birth.
Recent Applications:

- an article by Hagglof applied Piaget's work to enhancing our understanding of young childrens' reactions to being hospitalized and undergoing invasive medical procedures
- the study of the association between development of the object concept and sleep in infants
‚ě†among infants of the same age, those with a more advanced grasp of object permanence experienced significantly fewer sleep difficulties than those with lower levels of the object concept

Pictures and Video:

Piaget photo source: http://www.westga.edu/~kielborn/Unit2.html
Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind (Piaget) - The Neuron
Photo Source: http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Piaget%27s_Stages

Additional Sites (from The Neuron and external resources):

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