Theory of Cognitive Development

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Theory of Cognitive Development
BY Jean Piaget
No theory of cognitive development has had more impact than that of Jean Piaget's stages of cognitive thinking. Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologists identified four stages in which children develop cognitively. How we as human beings develop cognitively has been thoroughly researched. Theorists have suggested that children are incapable of understanding the world until they reach a particular stage of cognitive development. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development is the process whereby a child’s understanding of the world changes as a function of age and experience. Theories of cognitive development seek to explain the quantitative and qualitative intellectual abilities that occur during development.

Stages of Cognitive Development during Childhood

Sensorimotor Stage (years 0 – 2)
This stage occurs between the ages of birth and two years of age, as infants begin to understand the information entering their sense and their ability to interact with the world. During this stage, the child learns to manipulate objects although they fail to understand the permanency of these objects if they are not within their current sensory perception. In other words, once an object is removed from the child’s view, he or she is unable to understand that the object still exists. The major achievement during this stage is that of Object Permanency, or the ability to understand that these objects do in fact continue to exist. This includes his ability to understand that when mom leaves the room, she will eventually return, resulting in an increased sense of safety and security. Object Permanency occurs during the end of this stage and represents the child’s ability to maintain a mental image of the object (or person) without the actual perception.

Preoperational Stage (years 2 – 7)
The second stage begins after Object Permanency is achieved and occurs between the ages of two to seven years of age. During this stage, the...
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