Jean PiagetPsychologist / Writer
Born: 9 August 1896
Died: 16 September 1980
Birthplace: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Best known as: Swiss psychologist who studied childhood cognition
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist famous for his studies of the intellectual growth of children and his influential theories of cognitive development. Piaget's background was in biology, and as a teenager he gained a measure of fame for his studies and publications on mollusks. He studied natural sciences at the University of Neuchâtel, and for most of his career held positions there in sociology and psychology. He developed an interest in the intellectual development of children while working with intelligence testing in a French boys' school created by Alfred Binet. Over the years he published many articles and books, including 1954's The Origin of Intelligence in Children, and became known for his epistemological studies -- how we know what we know. Using the term "genetic epistemology," Piaget surmised from his studies of children that human knowledge is "constructed" through interactions with reality. One of the most famous psychologists of his time, Piaget's work on early cognition greatly influenced Western educational theories.
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