You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Cognition and Development – Beyond Piaget

3. Further Research and Evaluation

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite
  • Image Credits

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how the findings of VoE studies such as Baillargeon’s Rotating Drawbridge Study have been tested and evaluated in later research. We begin by considering the ‘nativist’ argument which claims that – contrary to Piaget’s theory – infants are born with a certain amount of pre-existing knowledge about the world which causes them to pay more attention to seemingly impossible events. This argument has been challenged by Susan Rivera et al. (1999) who suggested that the reason for the infants’ looking behaviour lies not in their conceptual understanding of the impossibility of the event but merely in a preference for looking at events with more perceptual motion. We then consider how Rivera’s proposition can be countered on the grounds of scientific parsimony, before exploring a further ongoing debate within developmental psychology which questions whether the type of knowledge that can be gleaned from looking time tasks is essentially different from the type of knowledge gleaned from search tasks.


In this course, Dr Richard O’Connor (University of Hull) discusses different ideas within the field of cognitive development that go beyond the work of Jean Piaget. In module one, we introduce the violation-of-expectation looking time method as a research method which has revolutionised our understanding of infant cognition since the 1980s. We then look at a classic violation-of-expectation study by Baillargeon et al. (1985) in module two, before moving on to an evaluation of this research method in module three. Module four introduces an alternative set of ideas to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development which focuses on the role of social interactions and culture. The final two modules look at the socio-cultural theory of cognitive development proposed by Piaget’s contemporary Lev Vygotsky, focusing on the distinction between ‘elementary’ and ‘higher’ mental functions in module five and key concepts such as the ‘zone of proximal development’ in module six.


Dr Richard O'Connor is a cognitive developmental psychologist with research interests in cognition from infancy through to adulthood.

Particular areas of interest include theory of mind, representation of objects and actions, and word learning.

Dr O'Connor joined the University of Hull in August 2016, after completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge and teaching positions at Royal Holloway and the University of Oxford.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Connor, R. (2019, December 16). Cognition and Development – Beyond Piaget - Further Research and Evaluation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Connor, Richard. "Cognition and Development – Beyond Piaget – Further Research and Evaluation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Dec 2019,

Image Credits

"Car" vector created by gstudioimagen -

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures