Jean Piaget Society News



Separating Children and Parents Must Stop

As scholars and teachers of human development, we, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Jean Piaget Society for the Study of Knowledge and Development, deplore the practice of separating children and parents. This practice is against scientific, ethical, and logical understandings of how to support healthy development for the child and for society. This practice is creating a generation of orphans with loving parents, whose own tears, traumas, and helplessness compound those of the child. Families do not, however, exist in a vacuum, so collectives where they belong by citizenship or human rights must provide systems of support and justice, not punishment of the most vulnerable in their midst.

This current practice of “zero tolerance” for parents seeking asylum so their young children can lead healthy productive lives ignores fundamental human needs in ways that all people should find unacceptable.

The separation of children and parents should cease and all possible measures should be taken to reunite children already separated from their families.

Colette Daiute, President
Tom Bidell
Nancy Budwig
Jeremy T. Burman
Michael Chandler
Chris Lalonde
Cynthia Lightfoot
Ashley Maynard
Susan Rivera
Edd Taylor

Brian D. Cox
Mary Gauvain
Lynn Liben
Luka Lucic
Caitlin Mahy
Larry Nucci
Anne-Nelly Perret-Clermont
Holly Recchia
Cintia Rodriguez
Barbara Rogoff
Geoffrey Saxe
Tania Stoltz
David Witherington
Emanuela Yeung



We are profoundly angered by and denounce the Trump administration's executive order to change policies and practices governing the movement of immigrant, refugee, and non-immigrant individuals seeking entry to the United States. The executive order undermines civil liberties and the foundational principles of a free society, and threatens the flow of people and ideas necessary to the development of knowledge and the advancement of the scientific enterprise.

In addition to the grave danger posed to the scientific community, we are acutely aware that the executive order endangers children and families whose wellbeing we are ethically bound to protect. The social injustice engendered by the order is inhumane and intolerable.

We demand that the Trump administration immediately rescind its regressive and destructive order.

Cynthia Lightfoot, President
Tom Bidell
Michael Chandler
Colette Daiute
Christopher Lalonde
Ashley Maynard
Susan Rivera
Edd Taylor



OBITUARY: Floyd Francis Strayer, Ph.D.

Feb. 23, 1945 [Cle Elum, WA] — Jan. 11, 2015 [Toulouse, France]

In Memoriam

FredFriends and colleagues from within the JPS have joined in mourning the death of one of the Society's champions — Fred (F. Francis) Strayer. The best of available diagnoses tend to support the theory that his early passing is down to the fact that his was simply too large a life to fit comfortably within the confines of an ordinary allotment of years. As someone who had made a bit of a career out of playing by his own rules, Fred died in this new year surrounded by family and loved ones, sitting under a favorite tree in his own somewhat akimbo yard.

Fred was born into one of those broken families filling up the hardscrabble landscapes of central Washington state — places where (still against odds) he proved to be something of a land-locked rowing star and an unexpected chess and math wiz. Together these and other latent abilities steered him past the military draft, through both Columbia (M.A.) and Simon Fraser University (Ph.D.), and — not unlike Piaget — into a life-long career in ethology and behavioral biology, and as an acute student of attachment and the developmental context.

Montreal in the 80's and early 90's — a place and time where church and state seriously battled over how scientific evidence might help to arbitrate political questions regarding optimal child-rearing practices — proved to be a perfect spooning ground, not only for the Université du Québec à Montréal's new and ambitious child developmental program, but for Fred and his new wife Teresa Blicharska. Their family eventually grew to include 8 souls. Again, not unlike Piaget, Fred and Teresa could have potentially carried out much of their collaborative research without ever stepping outside of their own apartment.

In 1991 the Strayer clan slowly came to the realization (already well understood by many) that they actually belonged in France, taking up posts at the Universities of Toulouse and Bordeaux. The savings arising from being able to eliminate import duties on fine wine, cheese, and coffee was felt almost immediately. Were it not for the fact that hating Americans had once again become fashionable in France, everything would have been perfect. It was almost perfect anyway. Twenty years later, with plans to hold a second JPS meeting in Europe still slowly taking shape, Fred is reportedly only now collecting his wings beneath him.



New Book: Interaction, Communication and Development: Psychological development as a social processinteraction

By Charis Psaltis, Anna Zapiti

For decades there has been considerable interest in the ways that interactions between children can provide a beneficial context for the study of cognitive and social development. In this book Psaltis and Zapiti use both theoretical and empirical research to build on the perspectives of Piaget, Vygotsky, Moscovici, and others including the legacy of Gerard Duveen, to offer a state of the art account of research on the themes of social interaction and cognitive development.

Interaction Communication and Development discusses the significance of social identities for social interaction and cognitive development. The empirical set of studies presented and discussed focus on patterns of communication between children as they work together to solve problems. Communications are examined in detail with a focus on:

  • Socio-cognitive conflict, conversational moves and conversation types
  • The way the different forms of the interactions relate to different sources of asymmetry in the classroom
  • The way social representations and social identities of gender are negotiated in the interaction

This book provides an important account of how children develop through different kinds of social interactions. It will have considerable appeal for researchers in the fields of developmental psychology, socio-cultural psychology, social representations theory and education who wish to gain a deeper understanding of development and its relation to socio-cultural processes.



New On-Line Resource: Piaget's final interview

In February 1980, Gilbert Voyat interviewed Jean Piaget with contributions from Bärbel Inhelder. The interview was filmed and the film was intended for use in Inhelder's presentation at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society.The interview has been translated into English by Les Smith (www.les-smith.net). As Les notes in his introduction:

"The interview has a dual importance. One is biographical: it was Piaget's final interview, supplementing several others (Piaget, 1968a, 1970, 1972, 1972/1981, 1973, 1973/1981, 1977/1980) and complementing his final paper (1980/2006). The other is theoretical: its focus was on the relationships between the concepts and their applications that were central to his constructivist studies, notably during the last decade of his work (see Table 1 of Piaget, 1980/2006). These concepts have received scant attention, and two reasons for this may be noticed. Their relationships are complex and their interpretation difficult. One merit of the interview is its capacity to clarify and to facilitate their better comprehension. In the interview, Voyat's questions were penetrating, leading Piaget to provide accessible answers about the links between many of his main constructs. The other reason is that Piaget continued to re-analyse them right to the end. In a Postface, Piaget noted that he had delineated a "general skeleton that was more or less obvious but still full of missing parts" (1976, p. 223), and no doubt that was why he regarded himself to be "one of the chief revisionists of Piaget" (1970/1983, p. 103)."

The translation can be found on the website of the Fondation Jean Piaget at: http://www.fondationjeanpiaget.ch/fjp/site/textes/index_textes_en_alpha.php



New Book: Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas: Papua New Guinea Studies

saxeDrawing upon field studies conducted in 1978, 1980, and 2001 with the Oksapmin, a remote Papua New Guinea group, Geoffrey B. Saxe traces the emergence of new forms of numerical representations and ideas in the social history of the community. In traditional life, the Oksapmin used a counting system that makes use of twenty-seven parts of the body; there is no evidence that the group used arithmetic in prehistory. As practices of economic exchange and schooling have shifted, children and adults unwittingly reproduced and altered the system in order to solve new kinds of numerical and arithmetical problems, a process that has led to new forms of collective representations in the community. While Dr. Saxe's focus is on the Oksapmin, the insights and general framework he provides are useful for understanding shifting representational forms and emerging cognitive functions in any human community. Extensive video and visual supports for the book, the Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas: Papua New Guinea Studies, which are key to a deeper understanding of this ground-breaking project are available online at http://www.culturecognition.com/

The book has received three prestigious awards: Best Authored Book Award, 2013, Cognitive Development Society; Sterling Prize for Best Authored Book in Psychological Anthropology, 2014, Society for Psychological Anthropology, American Anthropological Association; Eleanor E. Maccoby Book Award, 2015, American Psychological Association.

Sample Video 1   •   Sample Video 2


New Book: After Piaget

bookAfter Piaget moves beyond the harsh critiques of Piaget that have for decades circled among the followers of more popular paradigms such as socio-cultural or cognitivism approaches since Piaget lost his prominence. This collection of essays looks at the achievements of Jean Piaget and how his ideas have advanced long after his death.

About the Authors

Eduardo Martí is professor of developmental and educational psychology at Universitat de Barcelona. He collaborated with Piaget at the Center of Genetic Epistemology (Univesity of Geneva). His research area and publications concern cognitive development and the acquisition of external systems of representation. His latest books are Representing the World Externally (Representar el Mundo Externamente) and Development, Culture and Education (Desarrollo, Cultura y Educación).

Cintia Rodríguez is professor of developmental psychology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She worked in the School of Geneva in the research group lead by Barbel Inhelder. She has published "Semiotic and Pragmatic perspective in Early Development." She published The Magic Number Three (El mágico nümero tres) and From Rhythm to Symbol (Del ritmo al símbolo).

For more information, visit Amazon.com


Obituary: Gerard Duveen (1951 – 2008)

Gerard was a leading figure in social psychology who made major contributions to our understanding of cultural knowledge – social representations - and the role of such knowledge in the development of personal identity. [more...]



Obituary: Vinh Bang (1922 – 2008)

Prof. Vinh Bang was involved in the International Center for Genetic Epistemology — as a permanent collaborateur — from its very foundation until its dissolution with the death of its founder, Jean Piaget. [more...]



JPS announces the Pufall Student Travel Awards

Students can apply for a travel award to attend our annual meeting!


On-Line Manuscript

At the turn of the millennium, TIME magazine named Jean Piaget one of the "greatest minds of the 20th century". For authors Trevor Bond (Hong Kong Institute of Education) and Anastasia Tryphon (University of Geneva) this marked an important moment to reconsider Piaget's current and future place in the field of child psychology.

In this paper, they undertake a systematic review of a touchstone tome in the field—the fifth edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology. In their analysis of the citation patterns within the Handbook, Bond & Tryphon argue that selective citation of a subset of Piaget's writings draws attention away from his own explicitly epistemological perspective.

Download the article:
Bond, T. & Tryphon, A. (2007). Piaget's legacy as reflected in The Handbook of Child Psychology (1998 Edition). [pdf]


New Jean Piaget Society Book Series!

In collaboration with Laurence Psychology Press, we recently inaugurated a new book series. [more...]


Obituary: Harry Beilin (1922 – 2006)

Harry Beilin, winner of a Jean Piaget Lifetime Achievement Award passed away on January 11, 2007. [more...]


Obituary: Irving E. Sigel (1922 – 2006)

Irving E. Sigel (1922-2006) a pioneer in the study of children’s intellectual development, died Sunday February 26th, 2006 in Princeton, N.J. [more...]


Obituary: Terry Brown (1939 – 2005)

On July 11, 2005 Terry Brown, a remarkable Piagetian scholar, a former JPS President, and a close personal friend to many Society members, was tragically killed in an auto accident. [more...]


Obituary: Gerald Noelting (1921 – 2004)

Professor Noelting spent 12 years working with Piaget and Inhelder in Geneva before moving to Canada to take a post at the Université Laval [more...]


GE Special Issue: A tribute to Mimi Sinclair

A collection of remembrances in honor of the late Hermina Sinclair De-Zwart.


New Piaget books

Edited and translated by Robert L. Campbell (Clemson University, USA)

WORKING WITH PIAGET: Essays in Honour of Bärbel Inhelder
Edited and translated by Anastasia Tryphon, Jacques Vonèche (Jean Piaget Archives, Geneva, Switzerland)
A review of the book by Les Smith

WEB SITE EXCLUSIVE: A set of previously unpublished essays by Piaget.

Young Piaget

La vanité de la nomenclature
et autres écrits de jeunesse de Jean Piaget

Édition, Introduction et notes par Fernando Vidal

The Vanity of Nomenclature,
and other writings by the young Jean Piaget

Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Fernando Vidal

Suggested Readings for Students

A short list of readings to introduce students to Piaget's theories