Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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 (1896-1980) Widely recognized Swiss developmental psychologist. His stage theory of intellectual development has indirectly influenced the psychology of religion via those theorists who have proposed theories of moral and faith development. However, early in his career as Director of Studies at the Rosseu Institute in Geneva, Piaget helped found a research group directly involved in the empirical study of religion. It included other members of the Student Christian Association of French Switzerland. He used a typology based upon contradictory qualities attributed to God: immanence and transcendence. Anticipating much of the image of God research in contemporary psychology, Piaget correlated these types with early parental relations. Piaget's direct contributions to the psychology of religion are restricted to his work as part of this early French eclectic tradition. Unfortunately, his early writings, focused directly on research in psychology of religion, remain untranslated into English. That work did have some influence on American sociology through Guy Swanson's use of immanence and transcendence in Religion and Regime (University of Michigan Press 1967) and various articles published since that time.

Ralph W. Hood, Jr .


J. Piaget and J. de la Harpe, Deux types d'attitude religiuese (Geneva: Labor, 1928)

M. Vander Goot, Piaget as a Visionary Thinker (Bristol, Ind.: Wyndham Hall, 1985)

D. M. Wulff, "A French Eclectic Tradition," in Psychology of Religion (New York: Wiley, 1991): 26-31.

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