Piaget Cognitive Development Theory Definition & Stages

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 00:54 -- Umar Farooq

What is Cognition?

It is the process by which knowledge and understanding is developed in the mind.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive means connected with mental process of understanding. So cognitive development refers especially to the mental development of child. With the passage of time the experiences of child are changed and increased this is called the process of cognitive development.

Cognitive Process

According to cognitive theory children are innately born with the imagination that who are they? Or what they ought to be? With the help of these imaginations, the children start the process of learning through experiences which is known as cognitive process.

Basic Components of Piaget Cognitive Development

Adaptation and cognitive development continues as the child gets mature. New elements in the environment are deal with in old ways, and over time old elements can be deal with in new ways plagued called these growing abilities psychological structure and it are composed of two types.

  1. Schema. The infant develops a sucking scheme, for example, and employing that scheme on other objects in the environment can thereby learn.
  2. Operation. A second type of psychological structure is operation. Whereas the schema is a behavioral adaptation develops through maturation as the child becomes increasingly able to think in a more complicated way.

Definition and Main Emphasize of the Piaget Cognitive Theory

Jean Piaget Swiss child psychologist concluded that the best thinking process of adults was to begin with infants and trace the development.

Accoring Piaget theory humans like other organisms, adapt to their environment. This means that they orient their thinking and actions to the things and problems in the environment thus the child must cope with the environment outside the womb which is a totally changed environment. The child knows how to suck, grasp and make noise so this adaptation is the first step to cognitive development.

Furthermore, with the help of psychological structure (schema, operation) through the process of cognition, the child extends his mental horizons and according to learning theorist. The socialization process goes hand in hand with the cognitive development of the child.

Criticism on the Social Learning Theories

Theorists have criticized the model of social learning theories. In their view we should know about the internal changes in children in order to know about their socialization process.

Piaget Theory of Cognitive Development Chart

Stages of Cognitive Development

As children reach new level of understanding, the cognitive development occurs in definite stages. There are 4 stages as follow.

Sensory Motor Stage

It starts from birth to two years. The world is experienced through senses in terms of physical contact. The world is explored through touching, looking, sucking and listening. By the age of four months the child realizes his own body as something separate from the large environment. In this stage children do not have the capacity to use symbols and they can not engage in thoughts.

Pre Operational Stage

It starts from the age of two years to seven tears age. In the second stage the child uses language and symbols for the first time. They can experience the world mentally and that is they can concern of something with out having direct sensory contact with it. During this stage children still have a very egocentric view of the world at anything from the perspective of someone else. This is a fundamental skill to be derived from socialization.

Concrete Operational

This stage is from 7 to 11 years of the age. Concrete operational stage is characterized by the use of logical to understand objects and went but not on abstract terms. The child makes improvement t understand and manipulate the environment. Logical thinking and cognitive things in terms of cause and effect start. This is also important that the child looses its previous egocentric outlook and can imaginatively put itself on position of another person. Thus they conceive a situation from another point of view.

Formal Operational

This is from 12 years and above. It is characterized by highly abstract thinking and the ability to imagine alternative to reality. In this stage the children are enabled to think of themselves and the world in a highly abstract terms rather than only on term of concrete situations.


The age given to each stage are far from absolute, individual might move from one stage to another before or after the years specified so the children go through these stages on order. These stages are part of the child’s biological maturity.

  1. The process of socialization continues on the above 4 stages and the cognitive growth of a child plays an important role in the process. With the help a child solves the problems of his socialization and maintains equilibrium with the social world.
  2. According to the cognitive theorists the socialization of moral values of a child is also completed in the above mentioned stages of cognitive development.