Human Development for Helping Pros

Realms of Cognition in Middle Childhood


During the middle years of childhood children go through many social and mental changes. They are learning how to behave in public. They are learning how to pay attention in school. They are learning how to navigate friendships. They are learning how to so many new things during this challenging developmental age. Because of the amount of obstacles they face, it makes sense that they learn these different tasks over a long time span and in various ways. These years are full of highs and lows for children. Because of these ups and downs, a helping professional is absolutely beneficial. A well educated helping professional will help these children build all the necessary skills with an empathetic and enthusiastic energy.

Concrete Operations

Piaget characterized cognitive change in middle childhood as a stage of concrete operations. This theory is molded around the question of "How do children reconcile what they are told with what they perceive?" Children are not simply born with knowledge, knowledge is acquired throughout life in the different ways children interpret things. The concrete operational stage occurs in children ages six to twelve. At this age, children tend to be illogical and answer questions focusing on only one thing at a time. It is also true that children at this age are mostly limited to these concrete operations. Children want the contents of the issue at hand to be concrete and apply to their lives in an obvious manner.
Another failure children encounter at this age is egocentrism. Children cannot place themselves in others shoes or see from another perspective, which hinders their ability to problem solve.
Some children possess an advantage over other students as they have a more vast domain knowledge. Children with this advantage are capable of thinking more logically and outside of the box than others.

Informational Processing

As children get older they can organize, understand, and remember thoughts more clearly. Children are able to work with more than one piece of information at a time. This is all because the older the child is, the more developed their processing strategies are. These processing strategies have a lot to do with what children are paying attention to, how many facts they are storing, how they encode information, what similarities this information has to other areas of their lives, and what the mechanics of their thinking is most focused on. The improvement of informational processing continues to develop with age. By the time children are seven, they are averaging 90% accuracy in the "silly questions" test.

Memory Terminology

  • Sensory Memory brief retention of an experience
  • Long-Term Memory almost unlimited storage of knowledge
  • Working Memory combination of long-term memory and current incoming data
  • Rehearsal repeating information to ourselves
  • Storage the act of acquiring knowledge
  • Retrieval remembering
  • Recognition immediately available information
  • Recall when the intended remembered information is not immediately present
  • Semantic Declarative Knowledge factual information
  • Episodic Declarative Knowledge events that have been experienced

Applying Development to Society

Social relationships are crucial to children's overall life. Perspective taking is key to social relationships, as this is the ability to understand the thoughts of a friend. Piaget states that the ability to understand more than one point of view is best enhanced by interactions with others. When children are sent to school, they are forced to interact with others in a give and take atmosphere. Unfortunately this is not always a development and many children, as well as adults, are subject to egocentric thinking. Piaget, along with many helping professionals, believe that egocentrism is "central problem in the history of human affairs" (Looft, p. 73).

Around the age of eight, or during preadolescence, children form closer bonds with members of the same sex through interpersonal intimacy. Ideally, through this process, children loose much of their egocentrism as they strive to understand their close friend.

Stages of Friendship Development


The development of all these stages, from brain development to the stages of friendship, promote the development of social interaction between people. It is important for helping professionals to understand these processes in order to place themselves in their patients' shoes. This kind of an understanding allows professionals to best assess the issues that underlie possible interpersonal problems.