Title

Early Tests of Piagetian Theory Through World War II

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2016

Abstract

Psychologists recognized the importance of Jean Piaget's theory from its inception. Within a year of the appearance of his first book translated into English, The Language and Thought of the Child(J. Piaget, 1926), it had been reviewed and welcomed; shortly thereafter, psychologists began testing the tenets of the theory empirically. The author traces the empirical testing of his theory in the 2 decades following publication of his initial book. A review of the published literature through the World War II era reveals that the research resulted in consistent failure to support the theoretical mechanisms that Piaget proposed. Nonetheless, the theory ultimately gained traction to become the bedrock of developmental psychology. Reasons for its persistence may include a possible lack of awareness by psychologists about the lack of empirical support, its breadth and complexity, and a lack of a viable alternate theory. As a result, the theory still exerts influence in psychology even though its dominance has diminished.

Publication Name

Journal of Genetic Psychology

Volume Number

177

First Page

252

Last Page

264

Issue Number

6

DOI

10.1080/00221325.2016.1237236

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