Development in the Cognitive Sense
Infancy and Childhood
Jean Piaget's Theory on Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget, "the theorist" on cognitive development is known for his studies and findings of children and their developmental growth into adulthood. He studied children, including his own, which caused his belief that cognitive development is a means for a person to adapt to their environment. He believed that children naturally succumbed to the habit of learning new things, and with progression, children graduate through 4 stages of cognitive development.
Sensory - Motor Skills
Concrete - Operational Stage
Sensory - Motor Skills
- Age 0-2 years
- Develops Object Permanence (concept that things continue to exist even when they are out of sight)
- Uses Mental Representations (images or symbols to remember objects, people, or events)
- Age 2-7 years
- Uses words or symbols for representation of events and to describe, remember, and reason about experiences.
- Representational Thought (fantasy play = a cardboard box is a castle; symbolic gestures = slashing air with an imaginary sword)
- Egocentricism (Inability to see things from another point of view)
Formal - Operational Stage
- Adolescence through Adulthood
- Abstract Thought (Ability to hypothesize, mentally test, accept / reject according to the outcome of the mental experiment)
The cognitive development process per Piaget's theory is extremely fascinating to me because of its accuracy. A real life experience in proving the developmental theory for me is watching the growth of a child with an adult mind. I am the eldest of 4 children, and although I saw each of my three younger sisters grow, there were many things that went unrecognized to me as a "process." As an adult, and being very active in the lives of two toddlers who are now both in the Preoperational stage of development is increasingly astonishing. I do however wonder if there are adults, not considered to have any developmental issues, that has reverted back to any stage at any point in their lives. Looking at some decisions of many adults, are there levels of development that they may have not completed or skipped in it's entirety? If the answer is yes, does this cause mental or personality disorders in adult life? Does this step back cause diseases like Alzheimer disease or Dementia? It's all fascinating and even with all the studies, and explanations, there are an infinite amount of questions to fully understand the development of the human mind.
Maisto, A. & Morris, C. (2014). Understand Psychology (TENTH Ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.