On Thursday the 11th of February at my constellation study group called ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development in Art and Design’ we looked at Piaget’s Theory of the child as a philosopher.
Notes from reading – Piaget and His School: A Reader in Developmental Psychology, 1976, Springer, Inhelder, B. Chipman, H.H. Zwingmann, C. (Eds):
- “The relation between subject and object”.
- “…in order to know objects, the subject must act upon them, therefore transform them: he must displace, connect, combine, take apart, and reassemble them.”
- “From the most elementary sensorimotor actions (such as pushing and pulling) to the most sophisticated intellectual operations, which are interiorized actions carried out mentally (e.g., joining together, putting in order, putting into one-to-one correspondence), knowledge is constantly linking with actions or operations, that is, with transformation.”
- “Indeed, in every action the subject and object are fused.”
- “Knowledge, then, at its origin, neither arises from objects nor from the subject, but from interactions – at first inextricable – between the subject and those objects.”
- “Even these primitive interactions are so close-knit and inextricable that, as J.M. Baldwin noted, the mental attitudes of the infant are probably adualistical. This means they lack any differentiation between an external world, which would be composed of objects independent of the subject, and an internal or subjective world.”
- “Since object knowledge is not acquired by a mere recording of external information but has its origin in interactions between the subject and objects, it necessarily implies two types of activity – on the one hand, the coordination of actions themselves, and on the other, the introduction of interrelations between the objects.”
Notes from the seminar:
- “Psychologist Jean Piaget highlights how cognition develops at a number of levels over a number of years and in terms of the experience of an individual. For Piaget sensory-motor development is crucial for later stages of cognitive development; as such it is upon these individual sensory-motor experiences that a child’s understanding of the world are grounded. The child, for Piaget, is a philosopher, someone who makes sense of the world on their own terms and whose cognitive development is directed by themselves.“
- Individual cognitive development through creativity.
- Re-designing the outcome of a product.
- LEGO – specific instructive intention.
- What makes something successful? – is it just a market thing or is it about what the user gains from the product.
- Specific path in the intention of a product – how the spectator reacts to that – spectators are integral.
- Cognitive development in infants directed at their own pace by themselves.
- Knowledge and understanding is gained from interaction.
- Children think and see the world differently.
- Adults think differently to children.
- Cognition is about the individual.
- Expecting a level of conformity.
- It’s not about patronising down to children.
- Cognition develops until where 45.
- Children learn through playing with objects.
- Other people will respond to you work differently depending on their upbringing – understanding of the world.
- Do we need to take the cognition of others into account when we make something? – Yes as children and adults think differently and also people from different cultures will think differently. We need to consider who our audience will be before we start making something. We need to understand our audience and see how they function in their lifestyle to connect and fuse them with a creative product most effectively.
How does this seminar relate to my practice as an Illustrator?
This seminar is relevant to my practice as it has importantly developed an understanding of the roots of cognition in all of us being through self-directed sensory experiential learning as a child highlighting the greater importance of interaction with materials of the world we live in throughout all of my life being a primitive internal source of greatly improving cognitive development. Thanks to this seminar I have gained a much better reasoning for why everyone’s response or reaction to my work is forever going to be unique and different as everyone’s cognition developed through experiences as a child is unique creating a fascinating insight to individual’s cognition through interpretation.
It’s great to witness how different peoples interpretation of one piece of artwork can be and it can open us to see and think in many different ways and it’s fascinating how art can affect people emotionally unique to that spectator. What stood out the most to me in the seminar is how vital it is for children and adults to learn through physical interactions and activating sensations with the materials of the world around us as it is through this activity we gain the highest level of acquired knowledge and understanding. It has inspired me to consider, experience and explore cultures within my practice and realise how survival is for any living thing is through interaction and it is our ancestors who applied this interaction being the reason for their survival living in nature and using it as a resource in many creative, brilliant and intelligent ways.
I see how Piaget is right about his theory of the child as a philosopher and how we as adults patronise and look down on the playful and creative activities when we should be seeing the child as an influence of the way how we should be living and learning in the world. This seminar also brought back memories of the transition from the fulfilling days of playful creative activities to pen, paper and tests and how it was scary and very upsetting to suddenly completely rely on something being explained through listening, reading and seeing as a source for comprehension of a matter. When it was time for those dreadful tests in class I’d feel so anxious and afraid of being wrong as I expected that from myself as I struggled particularly with maths equations. Being wrong would mean to me that I’m dumb and disappointing myself and making my parents look bad and I wished very much that I’d be clever.
I feel satisfied now knowing that all those problems were just because my cognition was different to others and the teaching method had taken away from me interaction as an option for understanding something which I heavily relied on to fully grasping something. Many times I would get to an answer that was correct but not know how I did it and be afraid to ask the teacher to explain it more. Interestingly it was like what Sarah said about her son being able to correctly complete a maths question but not fully knowing how he really got to the answer he came too, we believe it was just that it had been a case of revision of the question and answer.
I will know now for my children in the future to give them as much sensory experiences as possible in life and to encourage interaction with materials and the object world to develop the strongest knowledge and understanding. I hope that schools will change to see the arts and greatening sensory interactive learning as a way of critically improving cognitive development and that the arts undermining view is rectified and transformed to a global comprehension of art being an incredibly important subject to all.