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Beyond Piaget: a Perspective from Studies of Children’s Problem Solving Abilities

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2012, 00:00 by David Klahr

The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) remains unchallenged as the most influential developmental psychologist in history. Indeed, as one prominent researcher put it over 25 years ago, “Before Piaget began his work, no recognizable field of cognitive development existed” (Siegler, 1986 ,pp 21 - 22 ). The vast sweep of Piaget’s theories , and his ingenious approaches to studying the development of children’s minds have profoundly impacted the field. And even though the field has moved well beyond its long period of almost total acceptance of Piagetian stage theory, his detailed analyses of children’s behavior at specific points in development remain a source of continued experimental and theoretical inspiration. Because Piaget published his early work – starting nearly a century ago – in French, his influence on English - speaking developmental psychologists didn’t really take off until the late 1950s when his papers and books began to be translated into English. Of particular importance was John Flavell’s (1963) interpretive volume which made Piaget (and Flavell!) widely read in English


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