Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development - Postulated Physical Mechanisms Underlying "schemes" and Stages

Postulated Physical Mechanisms Underlying "schemes" and Stages

Piaget (1967) considered the possibility of RNA molecules as likely embodiments of his still-abstract "schemes" (which he promoted as units of action)—though he did not come to any firm conclusion. At that time, due to work such as that of Holger Hydén, RNA concentrations had indeed been shown to correlate with learning, so the idea was quite plausible.

However, by the time of Piaget's death in 1980, this notion had lost favour. One main problem was over the protein which (it was assumed) such RNA would necessarily produce, and that did not fit in with observation. It then turned out, surprisingly, that only about 3% of RNA does code for protein (Mattick, 2001, 2003, 2004). Hence most of the remaining 97% (the "ncRNA") could now theoretically be available to serve as Piagetian schemes (or other regulatory roles now under investigation). The issue has not yet been resolved experimentally, but its theoretical aspects have been reviewed; (Traill 2005 / 2008).

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