Cognitive Development theory elaborates on the nature and development of human intelligence. The theory was first developed by Jean Piaget. Primarily, it is known as theory of the stages of development. However, it basically deals with the nature of knowledge itself, along with the ability of humans to acquire it by a gradual process, construct it and use it accordingly. The main thrust of the theory focuses on how the individuals develop their cognitive abilities, right from the time of their birth till the time they reach maturity. This article explains the important aspects of cognitive development theory. Follow the article to understand this interesting theory.
Stages Of Cognitive Development
Piaget, in his theory of development, has listed four stages of cognitive development. These stages are:
The sensorimotor stage extends from birth to the age of two. In this stage, children learn to coordinate the visual and tactile information received by them through the surroundings and the world around. They do this by using their emerging motor skills. This is the time when children become aware of the world that exists outside their own self and try to develop their ability to act on it.
Thesensorimotor stage is followed by the preoperational stage, which begins at the age of two and continues till the age of six. Piaget describes this stage as egocentric, when children see the world only from their perspective and refuse to accept others’ perspective. During this stage, they find it difficult to agree with others, unless they are saying the same thing as them. Looking things from one’s own perspective and refusing to see the other aspect is branded as egocentricity by Piaget.
Concrete operations is the third stage in the cognitive development of an individual. It lasts from six years of age to twelve years. During this stage, children learn to be more flexible in the way they think and perceive things. Their ability to perform concrete mental operations is better than before. For instance, they are able to simultaneously consider multiple pieces of information. A typical task involves pouring water from a short, fat glass into a tall and skinny glass. Children must be able to understand the change. The volume of water doesn’t change, irrespective of the vessel containing it. Just the level of water may change, according to the shape and size of the vessel. After reaching the concrete operations stage, the child should be able to understand aspects like the circumference of the glass and the height of the liquid in that glass.
Formal Operations Stage
This is the fourth and final stage in the cognitive development of any individual. It extends from 12 years through the adolescence years. In this stage, a person learns to think in a more flexible way and is able to see the world in a more abstract way. This is the time when people can think about hypothetical problems and also come up with hypothetical solutions on the same. For instance, one will be able to express an opinion on how the society would maintain peace in the absence of laws.