Piaget’s Theory Of Cognitive Development is a very hot topic for B.Ed and CTET exams.
In this article, we will be discussing Piaget’s Theory Of Cognitive Development and the four important stages of development.
The questions from this topic are asked as what is Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development?
OR Explain the concept of Cognitive Development with special emphasis on Piaget’s Theory Of Cognitive Development.
Cognitive Development Theory
Cognitive Development is a continuously changing process of thoughts, learning, and perceptions as a child develop from infancy to adulthood.
As cognitive development takes place in a child, the child builds a prior experience using it to help him make sense of the world around him.
Cognitive development is a development process by which an infant becomes an intelligent person, acquires knowledge with growth, and improves his/her ability to think, learn, reason, and abstract.
It means ‘the development of intelligence consign thought and problem-solving ability that began in infancy, cognition means ‘mental process’.
Cognitive development is also called intellectual development.
Cognitive Development of a child means the development of a child’s mind as the ‘cognitive’ is related to mind.
The development of the mind changes with the change in the age group of a child. Hence to explain the child’s cognitive development, Piaget has given a theory of Cognitive Development.
Who Was Piaget?
Piaget was a Swiss biologist and later he turned into a psychologist as he had a great interest in child psychology.
He became one of the most influential people in the field of psychology development by the theories given by him.
Piaget experimented with the theory of cognitive development with his wife on his three children taking them as a laboratory experiment.
Hence, as a result, in the history of cognitive development, no one has given a thought to term his theory wrong.
Concept Of Cognitive Development
The concept of Piaget’s theory lies on the postulate that like other functions of the human bodies, cognitive development is divided into the following two aspects-
- Cognitive Structure
- Cognitive Functioning
a) Cognitive Structure:
As the child is born with the habits/structures like sucking, crying, etc. These structures in the development of a child turn into the Schema as- sucking schema.
For example, when we give the child a toy, he will put the toy into his mouth and will start sucking.
We call it sucking schema. The schema develops as the development of a child’s cognitive development.
b) Cognitive Functioning:
The cognitive structure is important for cognitive functioning as it tells how the child reacts in the physical environment having the cognitive structure.
Cognitive function is divided into three aspects as-
The development of a child’s schema or functioning of the child schema in contrast with the physical environment is known as assimilation.
In other words, it can be defined as using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation.
Example: The child looks at a TikToker and considers him as Bloody Mary who scares kids. The child shouts in fear “Ghost Ghost.”
This happens when the existing schema (knowledge) does not work and needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation.
In the previous example, the kid shouted looking at the TikToker which is not fair and needs to be changed.
Example: Now kid’s mother explained to him that everyone who uses makeup is not a ghost, the person he saw was only wearing female clothes with some makeup and cannot be termed as a ghost.
With this new knowledge, the boy was able to change his schema of “ghost” and make this idea fit better to a standard concept of “ghost”.
This balanced relation between assimilation and accommodation is termed as equilibrium.
Equilibrium between the given two aspects is very important for the cognitive functioning of the child.
It can be defined as the force that moves with development. Jean Piaget believed that cognitive development did not progress at a steady rate, but rather in leaps and bounds.
Equilibrium occurs when a child’s schemas can deal with the newest information that he has got through assimilation.
However, an unpleasant state of disequilibrium may occur when new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas.
Once the new information is acquired the process of assimilation with the new schema will continue until the next time we need to make an adjustment to it.
Stages Of Cognitive Development Theory
1) Sensory Motor Stage (0 to 2 years)
2) Pre-Operational Stage (2 to 7 years)
3) Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 11 Years)
4) Formal Operational Stage (11 to 14 Years)
Sensory Motor Stage
There is no language formation in this stage and the child uses trial and error methods on the objects given to him.
In the early stage of this, the child thinks that the object away from his sight does not exist anymore.
It can be also said that the main achievement during this stage is object permanence and knowing that an object still exists or not. Later in this stage child’s cognitive development advances and the child starts thinking that if any object is away from his sight, it does exist.
It requires the ability to form a mental representation or a schema of the object.
Pre-Operational Stage (2 to 7 years)
This stage During this stage, now young children start thinking about things symbolically.
This is the ability to make one thing, a word, or an object stand for something other than itself.
A child’s thinking is still egocentric, and the infant has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others.
This stage is further divided into two sub stages-
- Pre-conceptual Stage
- Intuitive Stage
Pre-Conceptual Stage (2 to 4 years)
During this stage, the child is egocentric and thinks like whatever is happening is happening for him only such as the sun and moons follow him and the rain comes to delight him.
He is totally unable to develop logic during this stage and follows his perception only.
For him, if a cow has 4 legs and 1 tail then all the animals with 4 legs and 1 tail are cows for him.
He is totally unable to identify the characters properly at this stage and he calls all the men with a beard as father and all the ladies with long hair as mother or mummy.
Intuitive Stage (4 to 7 years)
Now the child develops logic and can recognize things but still, he is unable to distinguish between things because he has not fully developed logical reasoning.
Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 11 years)
Piaget considered the concrete stage a major turning point in the child’s cognitive development because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought.
The child is no longer egocentric now and starts to develop the concept.
This means now the child can work things out internally in his head by using some logical reasoning as he develops his mental ability.
Children now can conserve numbers, mass, and weight.
Conservation is the understanding that something stays the same in quantity even though its appearance changes.
Formal Operational Stage (11 to 14 years)
This stage begins at approximately age eleven and lasts into adulthood.
During this time, children develop the ability to think about abstract concepts, and logically test hypotheses.
According to Piaget, it is the last stage in the journey of a child’s cognitive development.
During this stage, the child starts solving problems on his own and tries to find out the solutions logically.
Hence Piaget states that cognitive development of the child lasts at the age of 14.
There are some contradictions also against his concept but the influence of Piaget’s ideas on developmental psychology has been really enormous.
He changed people’s views on the child’s world and also changed their methods of studying children.
He was an inspiration to many psychologists who came after him and took up his ideas.
Piaget’s ideas have generated a huge amount of research which has increased our understanding of cognitive development.
His ideas have really been of practical use in understanding children’s psychology, particularly in the field of education.
We hope that this article on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has been helpful to you. We will regularly be posting more such articles. In case of any queries or suggestions you can directly contact us and we will definitely get back to you at the earliest.
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