Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Piaget identified four clearly delineated and structured stages of cognitive development:
- The sensory-motor stage of infancy, lasting until about age two, is devoted to learning through physical experience of the world. Memory begins developing at about seven months, and a rudimentary grasp of symbols (language) develops at the end of the stage.
2. In the preoperational stage of ages 2–7, children use symbols, but thinking remains preoperational, because children do not understand that a logical or mathematical operation can be reversed. Language matures, and memory and imagination develop, but thinking is nonlogical and egocentric.
3. In the concrete operational stage of ages six or seven through eleven, children begin to use logical thinking, including understanding principles such as cause and effect. Operational thinking develops, mental actions become reversible, and egocentric thinking diminishes.
4. The formal operational stage of adolescence and adulthood (ages 12 and up) includes abstract thinking, in which thought operations do not necessarily relate to concrete concepts and phenomena. There is a logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. There also is a resumption of egocentric thought early in this stage.
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. (2016). In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 893-894). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.library.capella.edu/apps/doc/CX3631000591/GVRL?u=minn04804&sid=GVRL&xid=c5530bfc