Jean Piaget was a thoughtful and wise psychologist born in 1896 in Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland. He began his scientific career as a biologist and zoologist, though later began a study of cognitive, rather than biological psychology. He was a professor of psychology at Geneva University until the age 60. His best known contribution to the field was the stunning work he did concerning the cognitive abilities of children, which he published in La Naissance de l'intelligence chez l'enfant (1948, The Origins of Intelligence in Children). He died in 1980.

    Jean Piaget is known throughout the psychological community for his contributions in the field of development psychology.  He was born on August 9, 1896 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.  His father was one Arthur Piaget, a local historian and a professor of medieval literature.  His mother was Rebecca Jackson who was described by Jean as a bit neurotic, it is to this he attributes his interest in human psychology.  Jean was the eldest child and quite independent as such.  Early on he acquired an interest in the natural world which led him to publish his first "work", a one page account documenting his sighting of an albino sparrow.

     This article was the first of many he would publish and began to write more frequently throughout his high school years.  He wrote indepth on one of his favorite subjects, mollusks.  This interest allowed him to acquire a part-time job in the Neuchatel Museum of Natural history, working for its director, Mr. Godel.  It was at this time his work first became respected, though by students who assumed that he was an adult.

    It was also during this time that his path was cemented.  His mother constantly encouraged Piaget to find religion.  This led him to study the works of various philosophers which in turn led him to wonder about the "biological explanation of knowledge".  Finding philosophy lacking, he turned his eyes toward psychology for answers.  Later, however, he penned his own philosophy, which would later become the foundation of his work.  "In all fields of life (organic, mental, social) there exist 'totalities' qualitatively distinct from their parts and imposing on them an organisation."  This principle was the basis of his structuralist philosophy, a philosophy which would be shared with Gestaltists, Systems Theorist, and other forms of structuralism.

    Following his learning at the Museum, he attended University of Neuchatel, from which he received his Doctorate of Science in 1918.  After this, he worked for one year at various psychology labs in Zurich as well as Bleuler's clinic of psychiatry.  It was during this time that his focus began to shift to developmental psychology.  Disliking the current style of "right or wrong" intelligence tests, he tried a new method, through which he hoped to determine how children reason.  His first article on this subject was published in 1921 in the Journal de Psychologie.  He also began teaching in Geneva, where he instructed his students in research to determine more about the reasoning of the young.

    His first foray into large scale research on this subject was launched at the Bureau International Office de l'Education.  In this effort he collaborated with A. Szeminska, E. Meyer, and Barbel Inhelder.  Not only did he venture into new territories of research, he was also largely responsible for the introduction of women into the field of experimental psychology.

    In the year 1940, Piaget was elected chair of Experimental Psychology, Director of the psych lab, and the president of the Swiss Society of Psychology.  In 1942, one of his most important works, The Psychology of Intelligence, was given in lecture form (it's original form) at the College de France.  He also became president of the Swiss commission of UNESCO.
    In 1955, Piaget founded the International Center for Genetic Epistemology, of which he served as director for the remainder of his life.

    During this time he continued his work on the theory of structures and psychobiology and stayed on with UNESCO as a Swiss delegate.  Piaget wrote over 60 books and hundreds of articles over his lifetime, which ended in Geneva on September 16 of 1980.


Object Permanence
Assimilation and Accomodation
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
-Sensorimotor Stage
-Preoperational Stage
-Concrete Operational Stage
-Formal Operations Stage

Inspiration and Source:

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