Piaget’s stages of Cognitive Development
What do children know, and when?
- Start describing cogD as Piaget saw it.
- The four stages
o Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years)
o Preoperational (2-7 years)
o Concrete operations (7-11 years)
o Formal operations (11+ years)
o Qualitative differences between stages
Kids have big “aha” moments; they learn new basic truths about adapting to the
world around them
The approach to though changes to their environment
Piaget says they can only develop in his stages; they CANNOT skip any stages
o Invariant order
All the cogD unfolds in an almost “innate” way; your mind cannot grasp the second
concept without understanding the first one
Every kids in every culture will develop in this stage
o Ages are approximate
One of the things that DOES change in kids will the age they develop theses stages
Certain experiences required for unfolding of cognitive skills
Piaget says children construct their understanding through experiences and
they are required for kids to develop cognitively
- Sensorimotor stage (0-2 yeas)
o How did Piaget study infant intelligence?
Sat around and watched kids playing.
Made experiments; often by blocking goals
o Eg: cutting of the view of the baby’s toy and see what the baby does. At
different stages of a baby’s age, they react differently (exp testing for
Small sample size
o He used his 3 kids
o His kids => could be smarter than the regular average kid
o Him and his wife were testers => bias involved
o Development of problem solving skils
Six substages describe how infants go from being “reflexive” to “reflective” thinkers
Substage 1: Reflex Activity (birth to 1 month)
o Hardest stage for Piaget
o Do babies have thoughts? Where does adult thinking start?
o What are they born knowing?
Piaget says they are born with a whole bunch of reflexes
o “Mindless: exercising of reflexes
Babies know to feel around for a nipple to suck, using their
They know to grasp a finger really tight However, babies aren’t perfect when feeding; it takes them a
little while to get good at it (shows cognition at early life)
Substage 2: Primary Circular Reactions (1-4 months)
o Babies discover that certain actions they do will make them feel better
Eg: they flail around their hands and somehow it accidentally
touches their lips and they like that feeling so now they want to
do it again!
o Use of reflex-based schemes to replicate interesting body-related
o Sometimes babies discover something and they just keep doing it (eg:
Doing it in itself is active; it’s no longer a passive thing. They’re
acting as if they WANT to suck the thumb
o Piaget says at about 4 months old, they discover objects (eg: the mobile
over their crib)
Substage 3: Secondary Circular Reactions (4-8 months)
o Infants are discovering, by chance, they like obj