What is the semiotic function according to Piaget and how to use it

  • Nov 24, 2023
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What is the semiotic function according to Piaget and how to use it

It is possible that when talking to other people in various social situations we refer to objects and materials that are not present at that moment. In fact, it is common to find symbols that refer to certain precise meanings to try to explain them to us. This is directly related to imagination, a quality inherent to human beings that allows us to understand some specific topics even though there is nothing concrete in reality. This characteristic occurs in the vast majority of people who master the language and invites us to reflect on it. In this sense, genetic psychology has placed special emphasis on the use of certain representations in different social contexts.

In this Psychology-Online article we will provide you with information about What is the semiotic function according to Piaget and how to use it.

Piaget was an epistemologist and psychologist who dedicated himself to the study of the development of intelligence in human beings through certain stages. Among his most important theorizations arises the concept of semiotic function, which refers to the

ability to represent certain meanings related to objects and/or materials through verbal language.

In other words, using specific terms can conceive ideas of places, people, etc. This function characterizes people who have a control of absent representations because it is possible to reference objects that are not present at the moment.

Components of Piaget's semiotic function

On the other hand, it is necessary to highlight that the semiotic function has some components that differ from each other. We show them to you below:

  • Significant: consists of the material content of a representation. In this sense, the letters of a word that make it up can be located.
  • Meaning: It is the mental image that is produced when referring to certain meanings specific to language.
What is the semiotic function according to Piaget and how to use it - What is Piaget's semiotic function

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In order to provide greater clarity to the topic we are addressing, here are some examples of semiotic function in children's behavior:

  • symbolic game: A boy or girl has the ability to play at being a superhero that he has seen in movies because he can represent his qualities without considering himself as one. In other words, symbolic play allows us to evoke characters absent in reality through the use of costumes, words, gestures, among others.
  • Graphic representations: here it is possible to include drawings and writings in which children graphically represent mental objects and ideas that are in their heads. In this way, mental concepts are represented from the graphic resource. For example, a child can draw her father with different strokes that will be linked to the perception and image that he has of it.
  • Imitation: Boys and girls usually imitate aspects that they see in reality. In fact, it is common to see games in which sounds from cars, motorcycles or helicopters, among others, are played. Imitation provides a closer approach to specific situations.
  • Verbal language: The use of sounds is one of the first resources that boys and girls use when communicating. For this reason, it is common that at an early age they try to refer to words through initial sounds that comprise syllables. After a time, the evolution of language will allow a person to use words.
What is the semiotic function according to Piaget and how to use it - Examples of semiotic function in children's behavior

This article is merely informative, at Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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