What is Cognitive Development?
Cognitive development is a part of Psychology which deals with the processes involving a child’s thinking. It studies how children process and gain information at a particular age and how learning mechanisms change and evolve over time.
Much of the theories involving cognitive development are attributed to Jean Piaget. Piaget theorized on how children used their minds for learning and acquiring new skills. He also noted that as the child ages, the way of thinking also changes. Part of his theory indicated that children will use information from their surroundings to check on their original idea or knowledge on certain things. This may then lead to a change in perception and a particular child may also move on to learn new things and experiences.
Piaget’s theory on cognitive development involves four stages. The first stage comprises the Sensori-motor stage wherein infants age 0-2 interact with adults by moving. After this stage, the child is supposed to express ideas and little knowledge through the use of words and gestures. During this second stage, a child is said to start imagining things which are not yet logical. By the third stage of cognitive development, a child will start to have some logic in his/her thought processes. In the last stage or the Formal Operational Stage, children will be able to test their ideas and learn that their actions generate a certain response.
Many experts and psychologists dispute some of Piaget’s theories. But recent findings and theories are based on Piaget’s initial findings. The study of cognitive development is considered very complex and various new ideas and theories are continuously proposed for review.
Cognitive development theories are also used to help children with problems in learning, like those who are classified with some form of mental retardation. The learning processes of these children are delayed, and their management and therapies are based on the supposed learning stages of normal cognitive development.