Bärbel Elisabeth Inhelder (April 15, 1913 – February 17, 1997) was a Swiss developmental psychologist, the most famous co-worker of Jean Piaget. She was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland and moved to Geneva in 1932 where she studied at the University of Geneva Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau. She obtained her bachelor's (1935) and doctorate (1943) in psychology.
Inhelder worked at the University of Geneva until her retirement in 1983, collaborating with Jean Piaget in his experimental work on child development. Their collaboration began with her dissertation on children's conservation and continued for almost 50 years. Their many joint publications include The Growth of Logical Thinking from Childhood to Adolescence (1958), The Psychology of the Child (1966), and The Child's Conception of Space (1967).
Inhelder's work was particularly significant in the discovery of the stage of "formal operations" occurring in the transition between childhood and adolescence. This type of thinking involves deductive reasoning and the ability to reason hypothetically. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976.
Barbel Inhelder died in 1997.
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter I" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- Inhelder, Barbel, Denys de Caprona, and Angela Cornu-Wells (eds.). 1987. Piaget Today. Psychology Press. ISBN 0-86377-047-9
- Inhelder, Barbel, and Jean Piaget. 1959. The Growth of Logical Thinking From Childhood to Adolescence. Basic Books.
- Piaget, Jean, and Barbel Inhelder. 1948 (First English translation 1957). The Child's Conception of Space. W. W. Norton & Company, 1967. ISBN 0-393-00408-2
- Piaget, Jean, and Barbel Inhelder. 1966. The Psychology of the Child. 2nd English Edition 2000. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09500-3
- Piaget, Jean, and Barbel Inhelder. 1976. The Origin of the Idea of Chance in Children. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-00803-6
- Tryphon, A. 2001. Working with Piaget: Essays in Honour of Barbel Inhelder. Psychology Press. ISBN 0-86377-621-3
- Interview with Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder by Elizabeth Hall (1970).
- Barbel Inhelder
- Inhelder, Bärbel (1913-1997) Encyclopedia of Psychology.
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