Piaget Theory
This assignment is to familiarize you with Piaget’s work on infants. Like Piaget, you will make a detailed observation of an infant anywhere in age from 3-18 months. Observation: Try to observe the infant when he/she is well rested and not hungry. You will see more if you have a content infant in a setting familiar to the infant. You must watch the infant continuously for at least 30 minutes, making an ongoing detailed record of everything the infant does with his/her body and with the objects around him/her, including other people. You should record as well what he/she looks at and any informative facial expressions or sounds he/she makes. Write as much as you can (in everyday prose) about what you observe. Pay attention to and record as many details about the behavior and its context that you can. Try not to record your opinions about what the infant is feeling or what the infant wants; focus on observable behavior that requires minimum interpretation on your part. Thus, it is better to record “the infant reached his hand toward the toy” than “the infant wanted to play with the toy.” You will need all the detail you can record to write the paper. When the observation is over, you may interview the caregiver or play with the infant yourself to see if you can learn more about the infant’s abilities and typical behavior. This data should be considered secondarily in the paper. The focus of the paper should remain on the actual observed behavior. Your observation MUST be turned in with your paper. If you wish, you may type up or rewrite the observation to make it easier to read, but this is not necessary unless it is unreadable otherwise. Analyzing the data: Once you have the observation, use a highlighting pen to mark any parts of the observation you think reflect the kind of behavior that Piaget paid attention to in his observations of his own infants. The highlighted facts will be the data you use to write the paper. Rewrite these facts on a separate piece of paper, grouping together facts that seem related. For each fact, try to interpret it using Piaget’s 6 substages and the schemas that are typical of them. Next to each fact, write down your Piagetian interpretation of it. Look at the full range of behaviors you observed. Do you see a pattern in the behaviors that suggests clearly one stage? Or do you have half the behaviors suggesting one stage and half suggesting another? Writing the paper: You must write the paper in APA format (Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1” margins), with a title page, abstract (i.e., summarize actual information from the four main parts of the paper), introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references. Please see sample paper in APA format available on Lion’s Den. I strongly suggest you use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010) as a reference; the RVCC library has three copies available for student use. You can also consult the librarians or come by office hours if you have questions about APA format. You will need to use references to support at least three of your claims. These references may come from the reading you have done for class (i.e., textbook) or any additional material that was covered during class lecture but not addressed in the readings. Also, if you know of other references that would be useful, you may also use.

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