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Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children are merely less competent thinkers than adults.

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Imagine what it would be like if you did not have a mental model of your world.It would mean that you would not be able to make so much use of information from your past experience, or to plan future actions.Schemas are the basic building blocks of such cognitive models, and enable us to form a mental representation of the world.Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) was employed at the Binet Institute in the 1920s, where his job was to develop French versions of questions on English intelligence tests.He became intrigued with the reasons children gave for their wrong answers to the questions that required logical thinking.

He believed that these incorrect answers revealed important differences between the thinking of adults and children.Piaget (1936) described his work as genetic epistemology (i.e. Genetics is the scientific study of where things come from (their origins).Epistemology is concerned with the basic categories of thinking, that is to say, the framework or structural properties of intelligence.What Piaget wanted to do was not to measure how well children could count, spell or solve problems as a way of grading their I. What he was more interested in was the way in which fundamental concepts like the very idea of number, time, quantity, causality, justice and so on emerged.Piaget (1936) was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development.His contributions include a theory of child cognitive development, detailed observational studies of cognition in children, and a series of simple but ingenious tests to reveal different cognitive abilities.