Analysis of The Four Stages of Cognitive Development by Kendra Cherry

In the article, “The Four Stages of Cognitive Development” published in March 2020, Kendra Cherry demonstrates Piaget’s Theory on development and presents the four stages of cognitive development. Piaget’s theory proposes that children advance through four stages: the Sensorimotor stage, the Preoperational stage, the Concrete Operational stage, and the Formal Operational stage (Cherry, 2020). Cherry gives a great and concise synopsis of each stage while also providing the history of the development of these stages.

The Sensorimotor stage occurs between birth and two years of age, and this is when children acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and by manipulating objects around them (Cherry).

This does coincide with the PSYC 100 content as stated in the readings, “children’s thinking is largely realized through their perceptions of the world and their physical interactions with it” (PSYC 100).

Although, it is not mentioned in Cherry’s article, one of Piaget’s most famous problems, the object permanence task, shows that children are not uninterested in objects that “disappear” from them, but they do not understand the existence of other objects when out of sight (PSYC 100).

This problem has helped Piaget confirm that within this stage, children are still learning that objects have entities of their own. It is also mentioned in Kendra Cherry’s article that Piaget has split this stage into four substages. Cherry explains, that throughout the four substages, children learn how to control their motor functions, like crawling, while also learning a lot about language from the people surrounding them.

The Preoperational stage occurs between the ages of two to seven years.

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This is the stage where language really starts to emerge. According to Piaget, the preoperational stage involves problem solving in one dimension, and children’s thinking is still dominated by perception (PSYC 100). At this stage, children start learning through playing pretend, although, there are still difficulties in “taking the point of view from other people” (Cherry, 2020). As mentioned in the lectures, children become more capable of symbolic functioning (PSYC 100).

The Concrete Operational stage occurs between the ages of seven to eleven years. According to Piaget, children in this stage can think more logically, however, there are still troubles thinking in a “systematic scientific way” (PSYC 100). It is mentioned by Kendra Cherry that this stage involves children starting to think logically as they start to consider the thoughts and feelings of other people (Cherry, 2020). According to Cherry, children in this stage begin to understand that “their thoughts are unique” and that others may not share the same thoughts and opinions (Cherry, 2020).

The final stage of Piaget’s theory of development is the Formal Operational stage that occurs at twelve years of age and up. According to Piaget, this stage is where children mature into adults and can solve complex problems (PSYC 100). The young adults have an increase in logic, and they start to think abstractly (Cherry). Although not mentioned in Kendra Cherry’s, “The Four Stages of Cognitive Development”, our PSYC 100 content makes a point that Piaget has emphasized that exposure to formal education is vital for this stage to occur (PSYC 100).

In Kendra Cherry’s, “The Four Stages of Cognitive Development”, there is a lot of information that agrees with the content in the PSYC 100 lectures and readings however, there are key details that Cherry has missed that should be mentioned in the article. For instance, it is noted in lecture that cognitive development may not go through discontinuous stages as Piaget believes they do. There are many studies that display cognitive development as continuous or moving gradually like “a maple tree growing steadily in height and cross section” (PSYC 100).

This information would be useful to readers to consider other studies other than Piaget’s work to fully grasp the idea of cognitive development. This is not to say that Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is wrong, it is noted that “it depends on how you look at it and how often you look” (PSYC 100). Vygotsky was someone who focused on social interaction whereas, Piaget focused on physical interactions with the world (PSYC 100). As both theories’ foundations are rooted in different topics, it is consistent with the idea that these theories would differ.

Furthermore, Cherry should have added more examples of Piaget’s experiments and work to support her analysis of the four stages. There are many examples of Piaget’s famous problems, for example, Piaget’s permanence task that supports the logic of the sensorimotor stage or Piaget’s conservation problems that supports the preoperational stage.

Overall, this article was very informative and provided accurate information on what the four stages of cognitive development involve. Almost all the information in this article supports the content provided in the PSYC 100 lectures and readings. It should be noted in the article that there are many theories of cognitive development that may not coincide with Piaget’s theory, however, this theory is still largely influential in the debate and research that is still ongoing today.

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Analysis of The Four Stages of Cognitive Development by Kendra Cherry. (2023, Jan 09). Retrieved from

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