Piaget’s cognitive development theory

Schemas in Piaget’s theory

A schema summarizes the mental and physical processes necessary for comprehension and knowledge. Schemas are categories of knowledge that aid in our interpretation and comprehension of reality. According to Piaget, a schema encompasses both a category of understanding and the way that it is acquired. As events unfold, this fresh knowledge is applied to alter, supplement, or add to pre existing schemas.

For instance, a young toddler could have a schema about a certain kind of animal, like a dog. A youngster could think that all dogs are small, fuzzy, and four-legged if their only exposure to them has been with small dogs. Let’s say the youngster comes upon a large dog. The young child will incorporate this new knowledge and update their pre-existing schema to reflect their new findings.

Assimilation in Piaget’s theory

Assimilation is the process of incorporating new knowledge into our preexisting beliefs. Since humans frequently alter events and knowledge to suit our prior views, the procedure is partly subjective. Assimilation of the animal into the child’s dog schema occurs in the aforementioned example when the toddler sees a dog and calls it a “dog.”

Accommodation in Piaget theory

Another aspect of adaptation is accommodation, which is the act of revising or modifying our preexisting schemas in light of new knowledge. Modifying pre existing schemas, or concepts, in response to fresh knowledge or fresh encounters is known as accommodation. This method may also result in the creation of new schemas.

Equilibration in cognitive development

All youngsters, according to Piaget, attempt to create a balance between processes of assimilation and seclusion. This is done through a process he dubbed equilibration. It’s crucial to strike a balance as children advance through the phases of cognitive development between assimilation—applying prior knowledge—and adaptation—adjusting behavior (accommodation). Equilibration explains how kids might go from one mental process to the next.

Stages of cognitive development according to Jean Piaget

Adolescents go through a sequence of four crucial phases of cognitive development, as per scientist Jean Piaget. Children’s perspectives on the world change at each phase. Piaget thought that kids were like “little scientists,” eagerly seeking to understand and interpret the world.

Piaget created a conceptual framework of intellectual development based on his experiences with his children, which comprised four different stages:

  • The sensorimotor stage, from birth to age 2 
  •  The preoperational stage, from age 2 to about age 7 
  •  The concrete operational stage, from age 7 to age 11  
  • The formal operational stage, which begins in adolescence and spans into adulthood.

Characteristics of cognitive development in adolescence

According to Piaget’s view, the newborn spends the first two years of life attempting to understand the world, from conception until about age two. Several important considerations for the sensorimotor stage include:

  1. A child’s understanding of the world is solely based on their sensory impressions and motor skills throughout the sensorimotor stage.
  2. Behaviors are restricted to easy motor reactions brought on by sensory inputs.
  3. Children use their innate talents and abilities to understand more about their surroundings, including seeing, sucking, grabbing, and hearing.
  4. Among the most significant developments in the sensorimotor phase of development. A child’s notion of attachment theory is their belief that things persist even when they are not visible or audible.
  5. Take a peek-a-boo game, for instance. A really young newborn will act astonished or frightened whenever the thing reappears because they will think that the other person or object has genuinely disappeared. Older children who comprehend object permanence will grasp that a person or item exists even when it is hidden from view.

Sensorimotor stage substages

The acquisition of a new ability is a hallmark of the six distinct substages that make up the sensorimotor stage.

  • Reflexes (0–1 month): Throughout this sub – stage, an infant only uses instinctive behaviors like sucking and starting to interpret their surroundings.
  • (1-4 months) Primary Circular Reactions: This substage incorporates novel concepts and sensory coordination. For example, a youngster could accidentally bite his or her thumb before repeating the activity on purpose. The newborn enjoys performing these activities, therefore they are continued.
  • Secondary Circular Reactions (4–8 months): Throughout this substage, the infant sharpens their attention on the outside world and starts to purposefully repeat activities in an effort to elicit a response from others. A youngster could actively pick up a toy just to put it in his or her mouth, for illustration.
  • Coordination of Reactions (8–12 months): The kid starts to clearly display deliberate activities throughout this substage. Additionally, the youngster may mix and match schemas to get the expected results. Children start to explore their surroundings, and they frequently imitate the actions they see other people doing. During this stage, toddlers also start to grasp what objects are, and they start to distinguish some items as having particular qualities.
  • Tertiary Circular Reactions (12–18 months): In the fifth substage, children start a phase of trial-and-error experimenting. A kid could, for instance, experiment with various noises or behaviors to catch a caregiver’s interest.
  • Early Representational Thought (18–24 months): During the last sensorimotor substage, kids start to create signs to reflect things that happen in the world. Children at this age start to transition from a primarily physical perspective of the world to one that involves cerebral processes as well. According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the preoperational stage is the second stage. This period lasts until around the age of seven and starts around the time that youngsters begin to talk. Children start playing with symbols and learning how to manipulate them at this time. But Piaget pointed out that they have not yet grasped concrete reasoning.