Exploring Cognitive Development Theory and Its impact on learning growth

Cognitive Development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology related on child’s development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of the developed adult brain and cognitive psychology.

Qualitative differences between how a child and adult work their waking experience are appreciated. It is defined as the emergence of the ability to consciously recognize, understand and effectively understand their understanding in adult terms. It is how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of their world through the relations of genetic and learning factors.

Importance of cognitive development

It is important to note that Piaget did not view children’s intellectual development as a quantitative process. That is, kids do not just add more information and knowledge to their existing knowledge as they get older.

Instead, Piaget suggested that there is a qualitative change in how children think as they gradually process through these four stages.

At age 7, children do not just have more information about the world than they did at age 2; there is a basic change in what they have thoughts about the world. Piaget discusses several factors that influence how children learn and grow.Piaget’s 4 Stages of Cognitive Development Explained:

  1. Sensorimotor stage: Birth to 2 years

    Major characteristics and developmental changes during this stage:
    Know the world through movements and emotions
    Learn about the world through basic actions such as sucking, grasping, looking and listening.
    Learn that things continue to exist even when they cannot be seen
    Feel that they are separate beings from the surrounding objects and people

  2. Preoperational stage: Ages 2 to 7

    Major characteristics and developmental changes during this stage:
    Begin to think symbolically and learn to use words and pictures to represent objects
    Tend to be egoistic and try to see things from the perspective of others
    Getting better with language and thinking, but still tend to think in very concrete terms

  3. Concrete operational stage: Ages 7 to 11

    Major characteristics and developmental changes during this stage:
    Begin to think logically about concrete things
    Begin to understand the concept of conservation; that the amount of liquid in a short wide cup is equal to that in a tall, skinny glass, for example
    Thinking becomes more logical and organised, but still very concrete
    Begin using inductive logic, or reasoning from specific information to a general principle

  4. Formal operational stage: Ages 12 and up

    Major characteristics and developmental changes during this time:
    Begin to think abstractly and reason about hypothetical problems
    Begins to think more about moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political issues that require theoretical and abstract reasoning.
    Begins to use deductive logic, or reasoning from a general principle to specific information
    Piaget believed that children take an active role in the learning process, acting much like little scientists as they perform experiments, make observations, and learn about the world.

History of Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development:

Piaget was born in Switzerland in the late 1800s and was a brilliant student. He published his first scientific paper when he was just 11-year-old. His early exposure to the intellectual development of children came when he worked as an assistant to Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon as they worked to standardise their famous IQ test. Much of Piaget’s interest in the cognitive development of children was inspired by his observations of his own nephew and daughter. These observations reinforced his budding hypothesis that children’s minds were not merely smaller versions of adult minds.

Piaget proposed that intelligence grows and develops through a series of stages. Older children do not just think more quickly than younger children. Instead, there are both qualitative and quantitative differences between the thinking of young children versus older children.


In conclusion, the impact of cognitive characteristics on learning styles, motivation, and STEM education has been widely documented. Research into cognitive development has shown us that minds don’t just form according to a uniform blueprint or innate intellect, but through a combination of influencing factors. Piaget 4 stages of cognitive development were explained. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development helped add to our understanding of children’s intellectual growth. Children are not only receivers of knowledge but they are constantly investigating and experimenting as they build their understanding of how the world works. If we want our kids to have a strong command of language, we could concentrate on phonemic awareness early on. The process of mental growth and development is responsible for the development of an individual’s all cognitive.

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