Conservation Tasks Essay

2228 WordsNov 30, 20089 Pages
Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, made substantial findings in intellectual development. His Cognitive Theory influenced both the fields of education and psychology. Piaget identified four major periods of cognitive development: the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operations stage, and the stage of formal operations. During the preoperational stage lies, what Piaget coined, the intuitive period. This phase occurs during the ages of 4-7 and during this time, the child’s thinking is largely centered on the way things appear to be rather than on logical or rational processes (Shafer and Wood 2002 Developmental Psychology Toronto Ontario,Thompson) The most prominent example of children’s reasoning comes from Piagets conservation task studies. The principle of conservation refers to the understanding that certain properties of objects are invariant even after physical changes to the object. Piaget implemented his experiment through three sub-experiments. The first experiment studied conservation in volume. Two equal amounts of liquid are presented in identical beakers, the subject then witnesses the experimenter pour the liquid into a different shaped beaker so that that columns of water are equal. A conserving child would recognize that each beaker has the same amount of water The second experiment proceeds much in the same way, however, two identical balls of clay are presented to the subject, one is manipulated into another shape in front of the subject. A conserving child recognizes that each object contains the same amount of clay. The third experiment has to do with numbers. In this experiment, a child sees two rows of beads with equal numbers in each row. While the subject watches, one row of beads is increased in length, by increasing the space between each bead. A conserving child would recognize that each row still
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