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Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget (1896–1980) was a Swiss psychologist whose theory of cognitive development is generally regarded as the most important theory developed in the field of developmental psychology in the 20th century. Extending its inquiry from birth to the end of adolescence, Piaget’s theory addresses all aspects of thought and behavior in development, including perception, motor activity, memory, attention, representation, language, categorization, problem solving, logical thinking and reasoning, as well as understandings of matter, space, time, causality, number, and physical quantities.

Beyond the study of cognitive development, Piaget attempted to lay the foundations of what he called a “genetic epistemology,” which described the genesis of knowledge in developing humans. Refuting nativism as well as empiricism, Piaget argued for a constructivist view in which children build rational knowledge ...

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