Cognitive Development

  • Created by: Chamy
  • Created on: 14-05-13 23:45

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development- age related changes eg how children think and behave differently as they get older

Key Concepts

Development is built on thought processes or schemas. Schemas are what every child uses as it interacts with its new, outside world. All the ideas, memories and information about a particular object or thing that a child comes into contact with are sorted into two patterns in the brain.

These are like mental blueprints that link things and behaviours. They form the building blocks of thinking and children pick these up and recognise them from birth.

Children start to realise that certain actions go best with certain objects.

Piaget found that the development of a child's ability to think went through the same stages in a fixed or invariant order, like an alphabet or counting from one to ten. These stages could more or less be tied to the ages of children. This pattern was also universal to all children, everywhere.

Invariant Stages- The same stages in a fixed order, that the child's ability to think goes through.

Universal Stages- The pattern or order of the development of thinking that is the same for all children everywhere.

Interestingly, even though different children may experience different cultures, upbringing and education- he found that it had no effect on cognitive development.

The stages of cognitive development are:

The sensori-motor stage- from birth to two years old

The pre-operational stage- from 2-7 years old

The concrete operational stage- from 7-11 years old

The formal operational stage- from about 11 years old and onwards

Core theory- Piaget

Piaget noticed that children of the same age often got the same things wrong. He established that they were thinking alike- but that this changed with age. Piaget observed his children at home and kept detailed diaries of things that they said and did as they matured.He also invented a number of tasks to experiment on other children's thinking at different ages and stages.

Finally, Piaget observed how children solved problems in their natural settings, such as their cribs, sandboxes and playgrounds. He watched them solve problems and asked them to explain the reasoning behind their decisions. From all of this evidence, Piaget went on to collate a general stage theory of cognitive development.

  • Stage theory
  • Development follows an invariant order or pattern,
  • The behaviour in question gets better by the stage.
  • The pattern is true for everyone- it is universal.

Infants are not just passive observers, but are actively involved in making sense of what they see, hear, feel and discover. Piaget went on to propose that most children develop their thinking in clear stages. He came up with the four stages of cognitive development.

The sensori-motor stage (0-2)

Thoughts and behaviour are generally the same. Babies spend time examining their surroundings and placing objects into schemas in their minds, through actions that often cause mayhem for the parents. The baby learns to make sense of the information coming in through…




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