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Developmental PsychologyPart One
Jean Piaget was a developmental psychologist whose primary area of interest was on how children manipulate knowledge. He, therefore, developed the cognitive development theory. Additionally, he made a lot of emphasis on education as his work was influenced by both his theories and practice in child education and psychology. At the center of his theory was that kids develop their ways of understanding the world around them. The theory also argued that children employ the use of actions that enable things to happen for gaining the information about their surroundings. The cognitive ability of a child developed with the child’s growth (Piaget, 2013).
Piaget conclusive remark based on his research on how kids internalize knowledge was that their thinking is never wrong, but rather their short life experiences make them conclude about information much than adults. Besides, the importance of education was not related to the ability to master. Instead, it was about incorporating the information to deduce meaning out of it. Jean believed that kids acquire knowledge and that they are capable of predicting and concludes about matters, by about internalizing their environment through physically exploring the world. Also, the introduction of theoretical issues at a tender age showed that children only mastered and repeated information, even if they never understood the information (Piaget, 2013).
Piaget’s Stages of Development
Piaget did a study on a variety of children, and he, therefore, developed a theory that almost every kid passes through four cognitive development stages. Besides, some children progress faster than the others (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Sensor motor Stage (from birth to 2 years). Here, the cognitive system is within the motor reflex. Children learn from their caretakers, copying whatever they hear or see, trying with sounds, and they start to express what actions bring what responses (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Pre-Operational Stage (ages 2 to 7 years). The children become egocentric, viewing situations only from their understanding. Besides, there is no logic in thinking at this stage. The kids acquire the ability to use imagery and language (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Concrete Operational Stage (ages 7to 11 years). The kids abandon their ego and start adopting other people’s perspective and to an extent blend more than a single view. The kids can reason and see using a concrete knowledge. However, they cannot visualize the abstract side of events to come up with a satisfactory result (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Formal Operational Stage (ages 12 to childhood). The child starts acquiring a cognitive structures and knowledge base same as that of an adult. Abstract, logical and theoretical thinking rises and they can utilize symbols associated with abstract ideas in an attempt to solve problems (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Consequently, teachers who work with young people benefit from the knowledge of the developmental stages. They understand when children require practical applications of ideas and how to use abstract reasoning in determining how to present information to them. Also, the understanding the stages can assist an instructor in planning (Cairns and Cairns2006).
However, Researchers have criticized Piaget’s theory on the basis that it involves ambiguity, therefore, limiting its application. Besides, they have pointed that Piaget generalized his findings on all kids notwithstanding his area of research where children went to good schools and were taught on specific criteria of thinking (Cairns and Cairns2006).
Professor Philip G., a psychologist, conducted an experiment at Stanford prison to study how humans behaved in messy situations and to inquire about people’s response to an oppressive rule. The test involved a simulation prison below Stanford Psychology Centre. Philip grouped the sample males into two: prisoners and guards. He made himself the superintendent, and he directed the guards to deal with the prisoners just like real captives. Unluckily, the study took a different turn and had to be interrupted (Gerrig et al., 2011).
Even though the scientific study never ended, it was never a failure. From a science perspective, the study was a success since it met its purpose. It indicated that people get corrupted in bad times. Just a short duration in prison, majority of the guards became sadistic and harsh. They mentally tortured and harassed the captives showing that the good became evil (Zimbardo, 1973).
Conclusively, the revelation was that human doesn’t need to be inherently dangerous to conduct evil things. Again, the study showed that most people do not come together to assist one another in times of trouble. Rather, they sit back and look for personal interests. The attitude made the wardens rule those (Gerrig et al., 2011).
Since the results were scary, people have reviewed the experiment and made attempts to understand the actions of the prisoners and guards. When one does an analysis of the examination, there is evidence of self-censorship. Both prisoners and guards censored themselves at the time of the study. Instead of protesting and intervening, the prisoners simply looked while the inmates were being disturbed (Gerrig et al., 2011).
However, Philips experiment has been criticized for not being ethical. There are claims that it dehumanized the sample students who acted as the prisoners. The individuals forgot about themselves and believed that they were prisoners. Besides, they became mentally abused and tortured by the wardens. Many think that as a scientific experiment, it should not have inflicted pain on human beings (Gerrig et al., 2011).
Piaget, J. (2013). The construction of reality in the child (Vol. 82). Routledge.
Cairns, R. B., & Cairns, B. D. (2006). The making of developmental psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G., Campbell, A. J., Cumming, S. R., & Wilkes, F. J. (2011). Psychology and life. Pearson Higher Education AU.
Zimbardo, P. G. (1973). On the ethics of intervention in human psychological research: With special reference to the Stanford prison experiment. Cognition, 2(2), 243-256.