Psychology in Health and Social Care


Assessment 1: Individual Presentation

  • Introduction to Piaget and his impact on developmental psychology.
  • Exploration of the Sensorimotor stage and its significance during infancy.
  • Examination of developmental milestones in physical, intellectual, emotional, and social domains.
  • Critical evaluation of Piaget’s theory, highlighting strengths and limitations.
  • Justification for selecting Piaget’s theory for explaining infancy, supported by academic research.
  • Conclusion emphasizing the role of early cognitive development in lifelong learning and adaptation.


  • Psychology: The study of mind and behavior, exploring how people think, feel, and act.
  • Developmental Psychology: Examines human growth and changes across the lifespan, including cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Areas of development

  • Physical Development: Involves bodily changes, motor skills, and biological growth processes.
  • Intellectual Development: Encompasses learning, cognition, memory, and problem-solving capabilities.
  • Social Development: The process of learning to interact with others, forming relationships, and understanding social norms.
  • Emotional Development: Related to experiencing, expressing, and managing emotions, and developing self-awareness and identity.

Jean Piaget


  • Empirical Foundation: Piaget’s observations of his own children provide rich, detailed empirical evidence for his theory (Piaget, 2000).
  • Learning Focus: Emphasizes active learning, recognizing infants as active explorers of their environment (Piaget, 2013).
  • Developmental Milestones: Accurately charts key cognitive milestones during infancy, like object permanence.
  • Educational Influence: His work led to child-centered education, which tailors learning experiences to the child’s developmental stage (Piaget, 2013).


  • Underestimation of Abilities: Some researchers argue Piaget underestimated infants’ cognitive competence, especially in understanding object permanence.
  • Stages Rigidity: Critics suggest cognitive development is more fluid and less stage-like than Piaget proposed (Piaget, 2013).
  • Cultural Differences: Cross-cultural research indicates cognitive development may not be as universal as Piaget believed (Piaget, 2000).
  • Social Interaction: Modern theories suggest social interaction plays a more significant role in cognitive development than Piaget acknowledged (Piaget, 2013).


  • Rationale for Choosing Piaget’s Theory:
  • Piaget’s Sensorimotor stage directly correlates with the infancy period, making it a fitting framework for examining infants’ cognitive development.
  • The theory’s focus on systematic development through stages provides clear milestones and a structured approach to understanding infant learning and growth.
  • Piaget’s emphasis on experiential learning aligns with current educational strategies in early childhood development.
  • Academic Support:
  • Subsequent studies have supported aspects of Piaget’s stages, like the sequence of milestone attainment.
  • Research on object permanence and cause-and-effect relationships in infants corroborates Piaget’s observations about the Sensorimotor stage.
  • Modern neuroscience has provided evidence for some of Piaget’s claims about the timing of certain cognitive developments, such as the growth of sensorimotor coordination.
  • Educational pedagogies that prioritize learning through discovery continue to draw on Piagetian principles, showing the theory’s enduring relevance.
  • Summary of Key Points:
  • Reviewed the Sensorimotor stage of Piaget’s cognitive development theory as it pertains to infancy.
  • Discussed how infants explore and learn about their environment through their senses and actions.
  • Highlighted the milestones of infancy, including the development of object permanence and the emergence of intentional actions.
  • Importance of Infancy in Lifespan Psychology:
  • Emphasized that infancy is a foundational period where critical cognitive, emotional, and social skills are developed.
  • Acknowledged how early experiences shape the trajectory of an individual’s development throughout their life.
  • Stressed that a deep understanding of infancy can lead to better educational and parenting strategies to support optimal early childhood development.


  • Piaget, J. and Cook, M., 1952. The origins of intelligence in children (Vol. 8, No. 5, pp. 18-1952). New York: International Universities Press.
  • Piaget, J., 2013. The construction of reality in the child. Routledge.
  • Carpendale, J. and Lewis, C., 2006. How children develop social understanding. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Thompson, R.A., 2014. Stress and child development. The future of children, pp.41-59.
  • Piaget, J., 2000. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Childhood cognitive development: The essential readings, 2(7), pp.33-47.
  • Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A.N. and Kuhl, P.K., 1999. The scientist in the crib: Minds, brains, and how children learn. William Morrow & Co.

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