Piaget, Jean

Piaget, Jean

biographical name

(born Aug. 9, 1896, Neuchâtel, Switz.—died Sept. 17, 1980, Geneva) Swiss psychologist. Trained in zoology and philosophy, Piaget later studied psychology in Zürich (from 1918) with Carl Gustav Jung and Eugen Bleuler, and he was subsequently affiliated with the University of Geneva from 1929 until his death. He developed a theory of “genetic epistemology,” a natural timetable for the development of the child's ability to think in which he traced four stages—the sensorimotor (ages 0–2), preoperational or symbolic (2–7), concrete operational (7–12), and formal operational (through adulthood)—each marked by increased cognitive sophistication and ability to use symbols. In 1955 Piaget founded and became director (to 1980) of an international centre for genetic epistemology in Geneva. His numerous books include The Language and Thought of the Child (1923), Judgment and Reasoning in the Child (1924), The Origin of Intelligence in Children (1948), and The Early Growth of Logic in the Child (1964). He is regarded as the foremost developmental psychologist of the 20th century.

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