Cognitive Development Revised 5
Jean Piaget’s Biography
Jean Piaget is the father of Cognitive development theory, born on August 9, 1896, in Switzerland and later died on 16 September 1980. In the family of Arthur Piaget, his father, and Rebecca Jackson, he was the eldest child. At the age of eleven, while still studying in high school he wrote several articles about cognitive development. Eventually, these writings marked the beginning g of his scientific career (Neisser, 2014).
While in University, Piaget studied Natural Sciences and obtained a Ph.D. in Scientific field. Piaget after that published two philosophical essays based on “adolescence work”. It is at the University that his interest in psychoanalysis became stronger as he made advancement in cognitive development study. He later left for France where he studied Alfred Binet experiment. He created an institution for carrying out a test for intelligence measurement, therefore, standardized the test of cognitive development and did several experimental research on the growth of mind (Smith, 2000).
In 1923, he married Valentine Chatenay and had three children, Jacqueline, Laurent, and Lucienne. Piaget spent his time studying cognitive development of infants. Therefore, this became the foundation for his work in studying cognitive development of children (Neisser, 2014). He did various studies on psychological development with an ambition of knowing knowledge growth among infants. He discovered that growth of knowledge is progressive logical fixed structure, a process of incorporating inclusion of less dominant logic means into higher logic means up to adulthood.
Piaget was considered as an influential psychologist, based on cognitive development in the twentieth century. He initiated the ideology of cognitive development, an aspect that has been used by many psychologists in studying intellectual growth. He did not only study the behavior of human being alone but made an extra mile in studying the behaviors of primates. His work studying behaviors materialized well. He won several Prizes in 1972 for his great work in the European society, social science and culture (Berk, 2014).Also, he received degrees attributed to his psychological studies from prestigious Universities like Manchester, Cambridge for his immense contribution in the field of psychology. The aim of this theory is to explain mechanisms and processes by which an infant develops cognitively and can apply reasoning in its life.
Piaget psychology gets based on the study of children rather than all learners. The study focuses on development and addresses learning information or specific behaviors. It, therefore, proposes a discrete stage of development which depicts qualitative differences as opposed to a gradual increase in complexity of actions or ideas (Berk, 2014).
It is the first of the four stages used by Piaget in defining cognitive development. The first two years of an infant‘s life is the Sensorimotor stage. An infant’s trials mark this period in discovering its body and the environment at the same time. Consequently, a child starts to develop both physical and cognitive development. Physical skills include crawling, grasping and pulling, and physical growth takes place at this stage. As an infant develops cognitive skills, it starts thinking about behaviors and responds to stimuli like noises, emotions, and movement. (McLeod 2010) For instance, a child might smile after perceiving something to be funny or entertaining. Laughing or smiling is reactions attributed to the cognitive developments.
Birth -1month: A reflex is an involuntary reaction that occurs automatically without the infants thought (Berk, 2014). For instance, a child might be startled by sound or thud and finally make a quick body movement. These characteristics in an infant last for six weeks. This stage helps an infant ability to react to discomforting aspects such as noises.
Circular reaction: A primary circular reaction occurs at one to four months of an infant growth. These characteristics include an infant’s actions by bringing its thumb to the mouth and suck it. A child begins to an associate the back and forth movement of the hands to the mouth or face. Therefore, the infant realizes its ability to repeat the actions several times. Secondary circular motions start at the fourth month of age to around eight months of age. The baby comes to realize that objects that fall out of view are no longer there (Smith, 2000).
B) Primary circular reactions: According to Neisser (2014) infants in this age repeats pleasurable actions centered on its body. For instance, a child wiggles its fingers or suck their thumbs.
i) 1-4 months: Piaget asserted that children at this stage learned to coordinate sensations. Here the infant tries to repeat recent actions and enhance its skills. The infant has a capability in minor rational responses to the environment, thus the coining of the term “circular” by Piaget. This aspect is as a result of their repetitive in nature. Circular are unlike reflexes and get repeated done by an infant because of the pleasure derived in the processes of the actions. The continuous actions of such processes lead to an integral accommodation as new activities become integrated by the dormant and ongoing mechanisms (Smith, 2000). It is, therefore, clear that an infant at this stage knows the origin of intent and capacity to repeat acts. It is the stage of drawing memory.
Primary reactions begin the chance event in which an infant repeats with the increasing coordination of different schemes such as hearing and looking. At this stage, the coordinated activities are weak and not fully developed and vary according to the infant’s gradation within the limitations of sensorimotor development (McLeod, 2010).
ii) Repeating chance behavior: An infant develops particular behavior that attributes to acquiring of pleasure. Repeating makes the infant able to associate those factors that lead to an acquisition of pleasure or happiness as opposed to those leads to pain and discomfort. A child starts to gain voluntary control of its actions through primary circular reaction. Therefore, repeats chance behaviors that get attributed to practices mainly motivated by basic needs. Hence, this leads to motor movements such as sucking off the thumbs or fist. On the other hand, the response among infants varies about an environment. For, opening of the mouth to the spoon is different at the time of sucking nipples. Also, it starts to anticipate for future events (Lewis, C., & Mitchell, P, 2014).
C) Secondary circular reactions
Secondary circular reactions are extended to an external world, and the infant makes an effort to repeat acting on different objects in the environment (Lewis & Mitchell 2014). The means-end behavior of this stage incorporates a single action rather than an elaborate sequential organization of means-end activities that characterizes the tertiary circular reaction.
i) 4-8 MONTHS: At this stage, an infant becomes more interested in the external environment than its body. Subsequently, it is marked by deliberate repeated, for example grabbing of toys and later putting them in the mouth. Actions done here are intended to achieve goals in the secondary circular motion (Lewis, C., & Mitchell, P, 2014). Thus, allowing the infant to make extended ranges of possible actions hence promoting schemes. Piaget called this stage, recognitory assimilation because a child discerns on the application of a scheme of its actions. For instance, the infant uses sucking scheme to a nipple for breastfeeding or non-nutritive items like toys for comfort, solace or assist in sleeping.
ii) Improved control over behavior: At this stage, an infant repeats newly discovered actions such as sucking the toes that initially was unrealistic. It, therefore, helps an infant in controlling certain behaviors. The infant can also sit up and reach certain objects or manipulate them (Berk, 2014). These motor activities strengthen secondary circular reaction, a situation where a baby tries to repeat certain interesting actions that eventually develop to a new schema. An infant starts to be responsive in an improved manner to individual behavioral acts.
D) Secondary circular reactions
i) 8-12 months: An infant combines the schemes into new and more complex action. The actions are in sequential and lead to inventions of new schemes that are not random. On the contrary, the infant engages in intentionally directed goal and deliberately use the schemes in solving different problems. Therefore, Piaget considered this period a means-end action sequences, being the foundation of problem-solving. Thus, the infants start to develop object permanence but still challenged by the errors incurred (Hopkins, 2011).
ii) Intentional or goal-directed behavior: It gets characterized by infant’s ability to combine different schemes into new ones, or complex sequence of actions. It is the deliberate behavior or ability to find hidden objects in their first locations, where an object is hidden (Hopkins, 2011). The event gets marked by improved anticipation of events and imitations individual actions it performs. An infant develops images or mental pictures of people or objects and becomes enabled to trace these mental aspirations even without their presence. Retrieving of hidden object proves that an infant can master object permanence, involving trial and error.
iii) Object permanence: It is a situation in which a child has knowledge that objects still maintains a presence even though they are out of sight or cannot be heard or smelled. This aspect requires an ability to form a mental representation, a schema of the object (Hopkins, 2011). For instance, if a toy is placed under a blanket, an infant will achieve object permanence and tend to seek it even it is removed. The attainment of object permanence results into a transition to the next level of development.
E) Tertiary circular reactions
In tertiary circular reactions, are schemes in which infants explore purposely new possibilities with different objects and eventually end exploring on the results. Piaget therefore, emphasized that this stage marks the beginning of curiosity among infants (Berk, 2014).
i) 12-18 months: Piaget considers this period, the tertiary circular reaction. As opposed to the previous days, here an infant repeats different actions with variances and emerges. It leads in enhancing capacity to the infant to experiment that leads to more comprehensions of object permanence. Ultimately, a child comes with an accurate display. Behaviors become more readily to get imitated due to the development of more flexible action patterns (Berk, 2014).
ii) Capacity to experiment: An infant develops repeated behaviors with variations. For instance, a situation in which an infant drops objects on the floor and realizes it being an interesting action (Berk, 2014). Finally, babies end up repeating the same act several times as it derives happiness. Through this, the infant develops more reflexive action patterns so as to discover more behaviors.
iii) Advanced understanding of Object permanence
Piaget observation stated that concept of object permanence among infants advances with age respectively. For instance, the infant will not keep on searching for a toy that is fully covered with something (Hopkins, 2011). However, the infant cannot follow displacement with are in series.
F) Mental representation
i) 18 months-2years: The infant develops an ability to create the mental representation (Hopkins, 2011). Consequently, the mind is capable enough to manipulate internal depictions of information. The infant begins to understand the world through mental operations as opposed to actions. It is brought about by advancement in the cognitive development as opposed to the previous stage. The infant consequently manipulates different actions as guided by memory setup.
ii) Deferred Imitation: Imitation is important aspects in which children learn new behaviors. In the process of continuous reproduction have an opportunity to reproduce observed actions. Therefore, the infant comes with a representation in mind that guides its behaviors when the situations get encountered again. Imitation, therefore, provides a child with insight the mind of the baby. The imitation paradigm requires continuous actions that get modeled. Thus, such deferred imitation procedures are aimed at tapping analytical memory abilities (Berk, 2014).
Piaget claimed that an infant can incorporate information in its mind and retrieve them later. However, detailed memory on many occasions becomes difficult to recover. According to researchers, deferred imitation comes from complex to easily understood memory representations thus making it easy to understand the cognitive development among infants. (Hopkins, 2011).
An imitation is a powerful tool for the infant in learning for instance, the child imitates the parents babbling some words. The infant can have a vast potential to learn from various experiences such as covert observation. According to educational researchers, provide insight into the cognitive motoric behaviors and cognitive development. The infant develops an ability to imitate an action from memory (Neisser, 2014). The infant frequently does not develop a capability to immediate reproduce the actions it has observed.
iii) Make-believe play: According to Piaget, make –belief play serves as an infant cognitive, social and emotional development. It enhances and causes infant’s development using objects like cartoons that bring enjoyment and comfort. Games enable and help a child to understand things based on reality. Also, it serves in digesting information and consolidating of knowledge. Therefore, there is no doubt in that make play enhances symbolizing and representing reality (Neisser, 2014). Many psychologists incur with Piaget in accepting the use of make-believe play in developing the cognitive the infants.
In conclusion, Piaget psychological observations supported and incorporated the importance of children education. Therefore, the work has inspired Psychologist researchers in both the theoretical and practical study of child’s psychology and education. Piaget cognitive study showed that an infant’s cognitive advancement increases as it develops its way of understanding the surrounding world (Berk, 2014). It is through cognitive development that a child develops skills in coping up with environmental actions. Consequently, older infants have more complex skills due to advancement in mental compared with the younger one.
Berk. L. E (2014). Development through the lifespan- sixth edition. Boston, MA; Pearson.
Hopkins. J.R (2011). Enduring influence of Jean Piaget. Retrieved from. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2011/december-11/jean-piaget.htmlLefmann. T and Combs-Orme. T, 2013. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.vlib.excelsior.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=cebdc7e1-158c-4980-ad7f-e8980c22cd92%40sessionmgr4004&vid=2&hid=4108Lewis, C., & Mitchell, P. (2014). Children’s early understanding of mind: Origins and development. Psychology Press.
McLeod. S (2010). Sensorimotor stage. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/sensorimotor.htmlNeisser, U. (2014). Cognitive Psychology: Classic Edition. Psychology Press.
Smith. L (2000). A Brief Biography of Jean Piaget. Retrieved from. http://www.piaget.org/aboutPiaget.htmlhttp://swppr.org/Textbook/Ch%204%20Piaget.pdf