Piaget’s theory of cognitive development

According to Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children’s intellects evolve with age. A kid’s cognitive growth involves more than simply knowledge acquisition; the youngster also has to create or build a mental picture of the world.

Kids go through a number of phases as they grow cognitively, which are influenced by both natural abilities and external factors.

Four stages of development according to Piaget

  • Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years- Object permanence
  • Preoperational stage: 2 to 7 years-  Symbolic thought
  • Concrete operational stage: 7 to 11 years- Logical thought
  • Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up- Scientific reasoning

The order of the phases is constant (unchanging) and follows a universal pattern across all civilizations. Every child experiences the same phases in the same sequence (but not all at the same rate).

Theory of Cognitive Development by Jean Piaget

In the 1920s, Piaget worked at the Binet Institute, where his responsibility was to translate English intelligence assessment tasks into French. He was fascinated by the explanations kids provided for their incorrect responses to issues requiring logical thought. He thought that these wrong responses demonstrated significant disparities in how adults and children perceive the world.

With a fresh set of presumptions regarding young children’s intellect, Piaget struck off on his own:

  • The quality rather than the amount of a child’s intelligence is different from an adult’s. This implies that youngsters reason (think) and perceive the world differently from adults.
  • Children actively increase their global knowledge. They are not mindless animals who sit about waiting to be educated.
  • It was better to consider everything from a child’s perspective in order to comprehend their rationale.

Piaget was not interested in evaluating children’s I.Q. by how well they could read, calculate, or fix issues. He was more intrigued by how essential ideas like the notion of a number, chronology, size, causation, fairness, and so forth came into being.

Piaget used controlled monitoring and naturalistic observations of his own three infants to study children from infancy through adolescence. He derived these for his journal entries that tracked their growth. Additionally, he conducted clinical interviews and made observations of older kids who could grasp inquiries and carry on dialogues.

Stages of Cognitive Development by Piaget

According to Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive formation, kids go through four stages of knowledge acquisition that correspond to how sophisticated their thinking gets as they get older. Every kid goes through the phases in the same sequence, and biological development and the relationship to the environment are what define how children develop.

Every phase of development includes a particular semblance of knowledge, with the child’s reasoning being qualitatively distinct from all the others at every level.

Although no stage may be skipped, individual variances in a child’s rate of development mean that some youngsters may never reach the later phases.

Despite the fact that explanations of the phases sometimes contain an approximation of the age at which the average kid would achieve each development, Piaget did not assert that a particular stage was attained at a set period.

The Sensorimotor stage of cognitive development

The infant is in the present tense at this time. It lacks a feeling of item stability since it does not yet have a cognitive image of the world recorded in its brain. That something doesn’t exist if it is not visible. This explains why you can conceal a toy from a baby while it observes, but after it is out of view, the baby won’t look for it.

Object permanence, or understanding that an object continues to exist even if it is concealed, is the key accomplishment in this period. It necessitates the capacity to create a mental schema (i.e., a representation) of the item.

Characteristics of sensorimotor stage according to Jean Piaget

  • The baby picks up knowledge of the world through their perceptions and their behaviors (moving around and exploring their environment).
  • The sensorimotor stage is when a variety of cognitive skills are developed. These include imaginative activity, self-recognition, delayed mimicry, and item persistence.
  • They have to do with the development of the universal symbolic capacity, or the ability to mentally represent the environment.
  • At around eight months old, a child will comprehend the constancy of things, know they exist even though they are invisible, and hunt for them when they vanish.

By the time this phase is over, children will have demonstrated via play that they can utilize items to stand in for others. They begin to utilize language after they understand that words may be used to describe both things and emotions.

The Preoperational stage of cognitive development

Kids have made some headway in separating their thoughts from the physical realm by the age of two, but they have not yet achieved the latter stages’ rational (or “operational”) cognition. The kid’s cognition is still egocentric (focused on the child’s own perspective of the world) and intuitive (based on subjective judgments about events).

Characteristics of preoperational stage of development

  • Infants and young kids develop the capacity to mentally and linguistically describe the surroundings.
  • Young kids are now capable of thinking metaphorically about many concepts. This is the capacity to elevate a single entity, such as a word or an entity, above itself.
  • How well the universe seems to a youngster, as opposed to how it actually is, dominates their thinking. It is not yet able to think logically or solve problems.
  • At this age, infants also exhibit animism. This is the propensity for children to believe that inanimate objects (like toys) have lives and emotions just like those of people.

The concrete operational stage of cognitive development

Youngsters can think rationally much more effectively if they can use actual (tangible) items or drawings of them, which is why the phase is named concrete.

Since it heralds the onset of a logical or process of performing a task, Piaget saw the concrete stage as a crucial turning stage in the cognitive development of the child. This indicates that the youngster is capable of solving problems for themselves.

However, a youngster can only use operational thought in this situation if they are asked to make arguments about things that are actually there. While challenged to think critically about hypothetical or abstract issues, young children have a tendency to make mistakes or become too anxious.

Characteristics of concrete operational stage of cognitive development

  • Children start to reason rationally about actual experiences at this time.
  • Kids began to grasp the idea of conservation—that even though objects could vary in aspect, fundamental characteristics always remain the same.
  • Youngsters may mentally undo things at this point (e.g. picture a ball of plasticine returning to its original shape).
  • Children also start to think more about other people’s feelings and thoughts throughout this period as they grow less egotistical.

The formal operational stage of cognitive development

Starting around the age of 12, children can follow the structure of a logical argument without regard to its substance. Individuals learn to think abstractly throughout this period and learn to examine theories logically. In this period, scientific thought begins to take shape, and when a problem arises, abstract concepts and hypotheses are developed.

Characteristics of formal operational stage

  • Concrete operations are performed on objects, but on concepts, formal operations are performed. Physical and perceptual limitations are completely absent from formal operational cognition.
  • Adolescents can engage with complex notions in this period.
  • They do not need to think in terms of particular instances in order to follow the structure of an argument.
  • Teenagers are capable of handling hypothetical issues with a variety of answers. For example, what would happen if money disappeared in one hour? They might ponder a wide range of potential outcomes.