A Report on Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is a field in neuroscience and psychology that focuses on a child’s development compared to an adult’s point of view in regards to information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and many other aspects of the human brain development and cognitive psychology. In other words, cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and learn.

Perhaps one of the most interesting stages of cognitive development is that of early childhood. Early childhood is not only an amazing psychical growth stage, but a remarkable time of mental development as well.

Cognitive abilities associated with memory, problem-solving, reasoning, and thinking continue to emerge throughout early childhood. As John Flavall, a noted cognitive researcher, has argued the brief span between young infancy and early childhood is marked by momentous transformations of the cognitive system unparalleled by any other period of life (Flavall, Miller, & Miller, 1993).

When it comes to childhood development, it is almost impossible not to discuss the workings of Jean Piaget’s theory on cognitive development.

Piaget, using his own children and personal observations, concluded that when infants and children are presented with new stimuli and pieces of information, what is learned is not just a reflection of what comes from the environment, yet learned through the process of adaption (Broderick & Blewitt, 2010).

One of the key concepts in Piaget’s theory is the use of schemas. According to Piaget, schemas are cognitive frameworks that help people organize and interpret information. As experiences happen, new information is used to modify, add to, or completely change previously existing schemas.

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Piaget referred to this as accommodation and assimilation (Ahern & Malerstein, 1979).

Piaget’s stages of cognitive development included four stages: the sensorimotor stage (birth and age two), the preoperational stages (ages two through six), the concrete operational stage (ages seven through eleven), and the formal operational stage (ages twelve through adulthood). During the sensorimotor stage, infants and children begin to develop their first understandings as they coordinate their reflexive motor responses to stimulation. In the preoperational stage, Piaget identified what he believed was important limitations in children’s representational thought, limitation that are overcome by the end of this stage. The limitations involved the child’s inability to identify logical relationships among certain facts and their inability to understand others’ perspectives (Ahern & Malerstein, 1979).

In addition to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development, which is closing related to Piaget’s yet with more of a focus on the role of culture and society’s role in children’s growth, as well as language development. Vygotsky’s theory suggests that often novice learners grasp a concept or perform a skill only when others provide scaffolding. When understanding and performing requires scaffolding, it is said to be in the child’s zone of proximal development (Gultekin, H. 2006).

Vygotsky emphasized language as a tool through which others convey formal knowledge. Language mediates leaning in children and is one of the primary means by which culture and society help children’s learning to advance, regardless of the circumstances in which one grows. Preschool children eventually come to use language as a way to mediate their own thinking. The private speech of a three year old eventually becomes the inner speech of an eight year old. Vygotsky stated that the internalization of speech is linked to attention control, autobiographical memory, and impulse control (Gultekin, H. 2006).

Today’s research on cognitive development has progressed much since the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, yet a lot of the research still emphasizes the works of Piaget and uses his theory to help test the cognitive development in early childhood. For example, when considering accommodation, we look back on Piaget’s suggests that children learn to accommodate current thinking when introduced to new concepts. For example, a young girl may have a schema about a type of animal, such as a cat. According to her schema, cats are furry and have four legs. When she first encounters a dog, she might initially believe that the animal is a cat. Once the she learns that this is actually a dog, she will revise her schema for cats and create a new category for dogs.

In conclusion, cognitive development can tell us much about how people learn and understand information, especially that of young children. Though there is a great deal of information already provided to us through both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories, there is still much to be learned.

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A Report on Cognitive Development. (2023, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-report-on-cognitive-development/

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