Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

Topics: Jean Piaget, Theory of cognitive development, Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development Pages: 6 (948 words) Published: August 19, 2014


The term cognitive development refers to the process of developing intelligence and higher level thinking that allows a person to acquire problem-solving skills from the age of infancy through adulthood. A Swiss philosopher by the name of Jean Piaget took an interest in in developmental psychology; specifically in children during infancy through pre-adolescence. This model developed by Piaget still has a modern-day relevancy. Contributions to Learning and Cognition

Piaget made a considerable contribution to psychology with his studies of cognition; his main focus was on understanding the difference between children and adults. “Applying Piaget's theory of cognitive development to the education of children is another contribution that enables the effective teaching of children” (Kuhn, 1979). Piaget had a theory that children and adults shared equal intelligence; children just thought differently, Piaget set out to study the different levels of cognition and developed this information into stages. Model(s) associated Piaget

Piaget’s model was designed to explore and explain how the human brain processed the world around it and its environment. He took information from stories of peoples past experiences and applied those views to his studies of children. With this Piaget created the Theory of Cognitive Development. This theory identified four different stages in development that covered primary cognition and its correlation to intellectual development. These four stages are broken down as follows:

Sensorimotor Stage
This stage summarizes life from the time of birth until two years. “The sensorimotor stage is characterized by the absence of language, and note that because it is not an operational stage, it is not characterized by thinking as Piaget viewed it” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2013). Piaget’s theory is that children have not yet developed language at this stage and that if objects were not directly in their view, than they did not form thoughts about them. During this stage the child is egocentric. “Interactions with the environment are strictly sensorimotor and deal only with the here and now” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2013). Basically at this stage the child believes itself to be the center of its environment, and if an object is out of sight, then it is out of mind. It is not until about the age of two that a child starts to comprehend permanence, and acknowledges that objects are still in existence even if they are not in view. Preoperational

This stage describes how a person views their world between the ages of two through about seven. During the first part of this stage a child has developed the beginnings of understanding its environment, their comprehension of language and using logic while thinking. They designate words as areas or categories such as all adult males are daddy, and all adult women are Mommy. They use association to make sense of their logic, an example would be that a dog walks on its legs, so any animal they see walking would be labeled a dog. During the second part of this stage the child develops the ability to problem-solve using intuition instead of logic. However, the concept time, substance and area still escapes them regardless of how it is presented. “Maturation provides the necessary sensory apparatus and brain structures, but it takes experience to develop the ability” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2013).

Concrete Operations
This stage covers the ages of seven through about twelve and is characterized by the onset of reasoning and logic.” During this stage, however, the thought processes are directed to real events the child observes” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2013). The child’s comprehension of time, substance and area has become functional, and they are able to perform complex operations. Formal Operations

The final stage of Piaget’s theory of cognition explains a child’s development from the age of around twelve through about fourteen. At this...
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