Biography of Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget is a psychologist and philosopher, known for his theory of cognitive development.

Childhood and youth

Jean Piaget was the eldest son of Arthur Piaget and Rebecca Jackson. His father was a Swiss and taught literature of the Middle Ages, and his mother was French.

In his childhood, Jean Piaget was so much interested in biology and the natural sciences that by the age of fifteen he had published several articles on mollusks.

Before becoming a psychologist, Jean Piaget received an education in the field of natural sciences and philosophy. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy Jean Piaget received at the Neuchâtel University in 1918, after which he began postdoctoral studies at the University of Zurich from 1918 to 1919.


After graduation, he moved to France, where he settled down to work in a school for boys on the street Grand-o-Vell. The principal at the school was Alfred Binet, the creator of the IQ test.

During the

processing of the IQ test results Piaget drew attention to the significant difference between the answers of younger and older children, where the younger ones constantly gave wrong answers to certain questions. This observation pushed him to the conclusion that the cognitive processes of children differ from the cognitive processes of adults.

In 1921, Piaget returned to Switzerland where he became director of science at the Rousseau Institute in Geneva, the director of which at that time was Eduard Clapared, with ideas on psychoanalysis of which Piaget was well acquainted.

In the 1920s, Piaget was greatly interested in the psychology of children. He believed that children move from egocentrism to socio-centrism through semi-medical conversations.

From 1925 to 1929 he worked as a teacher of psychology, sociology and philosophy of science at Neuchâtel University.

From 1929 to 1968 he was director of the International Bureau of Education. Every year he made a report at the Bureau and at the International Conference on Public Education.

In 1954, Piaget was appointed president of the International

Union of Scientific Psychology, and held this post until 1957.

From 1955 to 1980, Piaget also served as director of the International Center for Genetic Epistemology.

He considered himself a genetic epistemologist, and offered a theory of cognitive development. He identified four stages of cognitive processes in children, which he singled out thanks to years of research, and also by studying the cognitive development of his children.

He distinguished four stages of the development of intelligence: the sensorimotor stage, the stage of preparation and organization of specific operations, the stage of specific operations and the stage of formal operations. These stages were also divided according to the abilities of children and their age.

In 1964 Piaget was the chief consultant at two conferences – at Cornell and California universities. These conferences dealt with the relationship between cognitive education and the development of teaching materials.

Jean Piaget published several important works and books on psychology, including on the psychology of cognitive development, which psychologists still use throughout the world.

Until his death, Jean Piaget led an active lifestyle.
From 1971 to 1980 he was an honorary professor at the University of Geneva.

Basic work

Jean Piaget was one of the most outstanding experimental psychologists of the 20th century, best known for his theory of cognitive development. His work influenced many outstanding psychologists of later generations, who studied not only human behavior, but also the behavior of non-human species such as primates.

Awards and achievements

In 1972, Jean Piaget was awarded the Erasmus Prize from the Erasmus Foundation for his contribution to European culture, society and social studies.

Many prestigious universities, such as Harvard, Manchester and Cambridge, etc., awarded him honorary titles for his contribution to the development of psychology.

Personal life and heritage

In 1923, Jean Piaget married Valerie Chatnet. The couple had three children. His children Jean Piaget studied since childhood, and this formed the basis of his work on the study of cognitive development of children.
He died in 1980 at the age of 84 years.

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Biography of Jean Piaget