CogniFit's Science blog: Understanding The Stages Of Cognitive Development

Understanding The Stages Of Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is how people learn and process information from childhood to adulthood. Language skills, imagination, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, inhibition and memory development are involved in this process.

Children do not develop the same, even if they are from the same family.

If you take two children, side by side, they will not necessarily learn the same skills at the same time.

Some psychologists suggest that people develop intelligence by learning to adapt to their environments. Babies begin to understand how to adapt to their environments by developing skills that work with their adaptation needs.

Jean Piaget was a major contributor with his theories on cognitive development. He described four major developmental stages.

For the first two years of life, children are only aware of sensory experiences. They do not connect these experiences to things outside of themselves. They find how objects react by shaking items, placing items in their mouths, and throwing.

The age from two to seven years, Piaget called preoperational. This is when children think about things in symbolic terms. They like to pretend, talk, and are able to tell the difference between the past and the future.

From the ages of seven to twelve years, a child’s cognitive development brings on the ability to think more clearly and become aware of events outside of their lives. They are learning to tackle problems.

From the age of twelve and older, people are able to use their mind for abstract thinking. They are able to use their minds to formulate more difficult strategies. Children at this age should be able to deal with hypothetical ideas.

As the body changes, so does the mind. The presence of higher levels of understanding is partly indicated by increases in the ability of verbal problem solving. When a child is young, they are unable to process thought by verbal commands.

As children evolve into adolescence they develop a sense of identity. They learn who they are and what they want to do with their life. This is the stage where they establish their personal identity or a period of self-awareness.

In late adolescence, children should know who they are. They no longer have an identity crisis. They understand their values and philosophies in life. Moral values are formed.

Cognitive development in childhood is the time where personalities and lifelong thinking habits are formed. What a person adapts to in childhood lays the foundation of their remaining years of life.