The theory of Cognitive Development
What is Cognitive Development?
The theory of Cognitive Development explores how children develop in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of brain development. The theory is breaks childhood development into four stages: The sensorimotor period, the preoperational period, the concrete operational period, and the formal operational period.
Who Developed the Theory?
The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget created this theory in 1936, provoked by his fascination with intelligence tests given to children. When Piaget studied the wrong answers children gave on the logical thinking portions of intelligence tests, he was intrigued. He decided to pursue creating a systematic study of children's cognitive abilities, documenting how their abilities differed from those of adults. Piaget contributed majorly to the psychological study of children, because, up until this time, children were viewed as simply being incapable of thinking at the levels that adults do. Piaget discovered that children were not less smart than adults, but rather, they just thought in a "strikingly different" way.
How Has the Theory Developed Over Time?
Although Piaget made a major contribution to the world of psychology with his theory, many psychologists have attempted to disprove what Piaget stated in the theory. The first issue with his theory was that he greatly underestimated the capabilities of children. Research has proven that babies can achieve object permanence, the ability to recognize that an object is present even when not visible, is achieved much sooner than Piaget's theory suggests. Research has also proven that some children may simultaneously develop skills that are characteristics of more than one stage, debunking Piaget's theory that certain skills develop in concrete stages. Psychologists have also noted that Piaget did not take cultural influences into account when developing his theory. Overall, Piaget's theory has changed from a concrete rule of development over time into a basic starting point for attempting to understanding the intellectual development of children.