How does Piaget's cognitive theory of Preoperational Thought help us to understand a preschooler's thinking, and in part, their behavior?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com March 4, 2021, 5:39 pm ad1c9bdddf
Based on Piaget's Theory of Preschool Cognition, a preoperational child's thinking is still based so much on perception and action that learning at this age requires an environment that is rich in sensory experiences and provides much activity with objects. Understanding the stage of cognitive development of the child helps us explain and understand the child's thinking and associated behavior(s).
According to Jean Piaget, preschool children engage in preoperational thought, which is characterized by an inability to use logic in solving problems. Unidimensional thinking, egocentrism, irreversibility, transductive reasoning, and perception-based reasoning are typical in this period, which are proposed as being qualitatively different from adults' thinking processes.
1. Perception-based Thinking
Definition: A type of thinking common to preschoolers, where they are fooled by what things look or sound like. For example, if the curtain appears to be a mountain lion, then it must be a mountain lion. To a preschooler, "what you see is what you get."
Example: A child sees two bowls which each hold exactly 10 corn kernels. In one bowl the kernels are spread out. The child reports that that bowl holds more.
Why? In this example, this child is fooled by what things look. When the corn kernels are spread out, there looks like more, therefore there are more. This child also lacks what Piaget refers to as conservation, an understanding that amount (i.e., volume, continuous quantity, number) stay the same even when their physical appearances are changed. For example, a child who can conserve would understand that even ...