"[Jean Piaget] is one of the most influential of living thinkers. His ideas about the development of cognition in children are affecting research, preschool programs, methods of parenting, curriculum planning, and many other areas of psychology and education today (Pulaski, 1980, pg. xiii)." Jean Piaget was born August 9, 1986 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. His father was a scholar of medieval history and his mother was very intelligent and devoutly religious. By 1907 he had written and published his first paper about a rare albino sparrow. He completed his degree in Natural Science at the University of Neuchatel, and in 1918 he received a doctorate for his thesis on malacology. In 1919 he went to the Sorbonne in Paris to take classes in psychology, logic, epistemology, and philosophy of science. By 1921 he became the director of research at the Institute Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Geneva. There he published five books on the research that he completed on children. In 1923 he married one of his students, Valentine Chatenay. They had three children, Jacqueline, Lucienne, and Laurent, whom Piaget studied and wrote about cognitive development. Piaget taught classes at the Universities of Geneva, Neuchatel, Lausanne and Sorbonne throughout the years. He continued his research and book writing until his death in 1980 (Pulaski, 1980, pgs. 1-6). By studying Piaget's theory and the different theories that deal with cognitive development we can gain a comprehensive understanding of human development, dealing with why certain things occur in certain situations and how to prevent abnormal cognitive development in children. .
In Piaget's theory of Cognitive Development, Piaget studied children in order to discover the "thought processes and the behavior that reflects those processes" of children (Papalia, Olds, & Feldman, 2001, pg. 37). Piaget observed the children and asked them simple questions on a variety of subjects.