cognative development

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cognative devlopment

Age related changes

-how children think and behave as they get older

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Invariant stages

The same stages but in a fixed order, that the development of a childs ablity to think goes through.

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universal stages

The pattern or order of development of thinking that is the same for all children everywhere

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The stages of cognative devlopment

  • Sensori-motor stage: 0-2 years
  • Pre-operational stage: 2-7 years
  • Concrete operational stage: 7-11 years
  • Formal operational stage: 11+ years


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Alternative theory: VYGOTSKY

Vygotsky argued that children are born with considerable thinking ablities but their cognative development takes place within their culture.

A key point is that vygotsky thinks that the child picks up tools for thinking (writing,number systems and science ideas) and these are developed in their home. These are called cultural tools. He believe that culture teaches us how to think as well as what to think.

Piaget regarded children as 'scienctist' where as Vygotsky regarded them as an apprientice. Meaning the devloping child is helped forward in its thinking by other people. Basically we become ourselves through others.

Vygotsky emphaised the idea that everyone is born to reach our full potential for becoming a fully fledged think human and that people around us help us think that. Known as zone of prioximal devlopment. This is the gap between where a child is now and where they can potenitally get to with the help of others.

Overall Vygotsky is basically saying that everyone's cognitive development develops at their own individual pace and with the help of significant people around them.

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Core theory: piagets theory

Piagets theory was the result of his work in Paris (1920's). He noticed that children of the same age often got the wrong answer in the same way it was as if they were thinking the same but this changed with age. Piaget observed his own 3 children at home and while they played with friends, he kept saying detailed diaries of the things they said as they matured. He also observed how they solve problems and got them to explain their reasoning behind it.

Piaget concluded that children are scientists who begin to explore the world around them from the world around them from the moment they open their eyes. Infants are not just passive observers, but are actively involved in making sense of what they see, hear, feel and discover- just like scientists

From this he proposed the idea that most children develop their thinking in clear stages. He came up with 4 stages of development (S P C F)

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Criticisms of piagets theory

The cognative stages aren't as fixed as piget makes them seem- Children jump in to stages depending on the circumstances.

There is no guarantee that people develop through all the stages- Some researchers argue that only 50% of adults make the formal operational stage.

*Piaget ignored different kinds of thinking- Not all thinking is logic and problem solving. There is also the thinking of creativity in the arts.

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Sensori-motor stage (S P C F)

This the stage when thoughts and feelings are generally the same. Babies spend there time examining their surroundings and placing objects into schemas in their minds.

1-Body schema(s): The infant recognises that they exist physically. Eg- In a mirror.

2-Motor co-ordination: The infant learns to co-ordintae different body parts. Eg- hand to mouth for eating.

3-Object permanace: The infant knows that an object or person still exisits even though you can't see them. Eg- hIding their teddy bear they will still know it exists.

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Pre-operational stage (S P C F)

At this stage children start to be able to use symbols such as words or mental images to solve promblems. Real thinking is starting begin. However there are still some things the child does not get right or cannot do, such as:

Animism- Children treat inanimate objects as if they are alive. Eg-talking to their teddy bear.

Reversiblity- A child at this stage is unable to work backwards in their thinking. Eg- when a child is "do you have a sister", her reply is "yes, sally". However when the child is asked "does sally have a sister?", he reply is "no".

Egocentrism- This is where a child only see's things from their point of view and really struggles to appricate someone else's view point. Eg- A parents

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Concrete operational stage (S P C F)

At the concrete operational stage stage the growing child overcomes egocentrism, drops animism and can think backwards.

They develop new cognative skills:

*Linguistic humour- when a child undersatnds double meanings and enjoys word games. They will also start giggling and asking questions over and over again.

*Seriation-The child can put things in rank order.

*Conservation- When a child knows the properties of certain objects remain the same even if the objects appears to change

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Formal operational stage (S P C F)

At this stage they have a life long ablity to think about and sole sophisticated abstarct problems. They can think without prompts or objects-hypothetical thinking. This allows people to see the bigger picture . They also develop general principals that they can apply to other situations.

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Core study:piaget and conservation of number

Piaget used a cross-sectional study (he compared children of differnt ages). Children were shown one at a time, two identical parallel rows of counters. The resaecher then changed the layout of the counters while the child watched by stretching only 1 row out but not adding any counters. The children were then asked which of thr 2 rows had more counters.

Children in the pre-operational stage (2-7) tended to say that the stretched row had more counters because it was longer. This is maybe because they weren't able to concerve. However children in concrete operational stage (7-11) said that both rows had the same amount of coins.

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Core study limitations

Piaget was criticised for the way he questioned the children in the experiment. Asking the question more than once gives the child the impression the answer is wrong. Maybe influencing their answers

Piaget was criticised for the nature of the task. The task didn't have much meaning to children .

*Piaget used a relatively small sample of children. This may make it not representative for all children. Espically when he claimed that is stages of devlopment were universal. how could he know this without testing a wider variety of children?

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