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Piagets Cognitive Development

Piagets Cognitive Development

Child starts receiving sensations from his environment then starts to perceive their meanings also. As the child grows physically, the development of intelligence also takes place. Along with intelligence other mental faculties such as memory, imagination, thinking, reasoning, etc. also start developing. The child is able to recognize and understand his environment.

Mental attributes which is the sum total of our thinking, reasoning, imagination and memory is called cognitive ability. Cognitive ability is the mental ability to think and act rationally. It helps the child to understand his environment. The child starts recognizing various objects, their shape, colour, texture, size and then starts perceiving their meanings and usage also. They are able to find differences and similarities on the basis of their qualities and disqualities. They leave an impression on the mind of the child. This image or impression is called ‘concept.’

When a person forms an idea about an object’s shape, colour , texture, usage, its similarity, difference and relationship with other things with the help of his perception and past experience is called forming of concept.

Cognitive development is dependent on signs and concepts. If the concepts are formed properly then the cognitive development will be good. If the concepts are not formed properly due to any reason then their cognitive development also remains weak or poor.

Process of Cognition- Piaget assumes that for cognition, motor behavior is the basis for cognitive activity. There are general reflexes present in all children at the time of birth called’ schema’. All infants use them to adjust and adapt to the new environment. They are the product of maturation and learning and are continuously changing and getting complex day to day. Piaget emphasises on two main processes- assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the incoming information the infant receives from the environment. Accommodation is the process of incorporating incoming information into already existing schemes and changing them into new concepts in new situations.

Stages of cognitive Development-

  1. Sensory motor stage- In this stage the child tries to achieve balance between his sense organs and motor activities. This stage is divided into six stages.

Stage 1: 0-1 month. The infant does many natural reflex activities like crying, holding of hand, sucking, closing of eyes in the presence of strong light. Through the infant is unaware of his environment, is able to understand these reflex activities to some extent.

Stage 2: 1-4 months.  During this stage, the sense organs start receiving stimuli from the environment. The infant starts learning differentiation. He repeats natural activities, e.g., closing and opening of his fists is done by the infant voluntarily. Certain activities at this stage are directed like while throwing arms and legs, he is able to take his fist into his mouth. When this activity gives pleasure, he repeats it again and again.

Stage 3: 4-8 months. The stage is related mainly to infant himself. He repeats the activities e.g. rattling of the toy, rubs utensils on the floor, feels happy to listen to sounds and get pleasure. Drops thing to be picked up by others and repeat it again and again.

Stage 4:8-12 months. Baby starts crawling and exploring his environment. He tries to understand and analyse his environment. The activities of the child are now focused directly. During this stage, the baby takes help of his past experiences. If a toy is hidden at another place, instead of the first place he will look for it in the previous place only.

Stage 5: 12-18 months. In this stage, the child uses his already learned skills in new situations. He becomes more active and curious. He is ready for toilet training guidance. His activities are goals oriented.

Stage 6: 18-24 months. This is the last stage of sensory motor stage. The child starts recognizing ‘signs’. He become more alert and the mental process develops at a fast speed.


2. Pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years). Child starts to understand the meaning of symbols. He is self-centered during this stage. Power differentiation and analysis also starts developing at this stage.

3. The concrete operational stage (7 to 11 years). At this stage, the child becomes quite intelligent and worldly wise. He comes out of his imaginary world and is more realistic now.

4. The formal operational stage (11 to 16 years). During this stage, intelligence, understanding and other mental capabilities are almost developed. Child is able to analyse the situations. He understands symbols, riddles, similes, poems and their meanings.




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