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One of Piaget's many theories was that of Genetic Epistemology, which is the study of the origins (genesis) of knowledge (epistemology). It is a study that involves cognitive developmental psychology. It explains how humans develop cognitively from birth throughout life. It is broken up into the Four Stages of Cognitive Development:

  • Sensorimotor - Birth to age 2,
  • Preoperational - Age 2 to age 7,
  • Concrete Operational - Age 7 to age 11 &
  • Formal Operational - Age 11 to Adulthood.

Assimilation and Accommodation are involved during early development. Assimilation is the absorption of new ideas into an existing cognitive structure. Accommodation is the mechanism of learning while failing (live and learn).

Piaget makes references to three kinds of knowledge that children acquire. These are:

  • Physical Knowledge (knowledge about their environment).
  • Logical-Mathematical knowledge (the ability to think in an abstract, or problem solving way)
  • Social-arbitrary knowledge (knowledge on how to interact appropriately with others, in order to fit in).

Genetic Epistemology links in very closely with Constructivism, in that it implies that knowledge acquisition is constantly being constructed by the individual.

In simple terms, the development of knowledge is a continuous process, and knowledge is constantly created and expanded as the learner absorbs information about the world around them.

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