Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development


Piaget’s theory argues that we have to conquer four stages of cognitive development. First, the sensori-motor stage. Second, the pre-operational stage. Third the concrete operational stage and fourth the formal operational stage. Only once we have gone through all the stages, at what age can vary, we are able to reach full human intelligence. One, the sensori-motor stage, ages birth to two. In the sensori-motor stage, we develop through experiences and movement our five senses. Our brain wants to see, hear, smell, taste and touch as much as possible. First we start with simple reflexes and soon after we develop our first habits. From four months old, we become aware of things beyond our own body and then as we get older we learn to do things intentionally. A key milestone is the development of working memory or in Piaget terms ‘Our realization of object permanence’. Before that, our mom can show and then hide a teddy and we would think is gone. After we understand that objects continue to exist even when we can’t see them. We start becoming curious about everything. We want to smell flowers, taste food, listen to sounds and talk to strangers. To explore more, we move, we learn to sit, crawl, stand, wal,k and even to run. This increased physical mobility consequently leads to increased cognitive development, but we remain egocentric – meaning we can perceive the world only from our own point of view. Two: The pre-operational stage, Ages 2 to 7. Our thinking is mainly categorized for symbolic functions and intuitive thoughts. We have lots of fantasies and believe objects are alive. As we are not able to apply specific cognitive operations, Piaget calls this stage ‘pre-operational’. We learn to speak and understand that words, images, and gestures are symbols for something else. When we draw our family, we are not concerned about drawing each person to scale but rather with their symbolic meanings. We love to play pretend, which allows us to experience something new and learn a lot. At around age 4, most of us become very curious and ask many questions. We want to know everything. We can call it the birth of primitive reasoning. Piaget calls it ‘the intuitive age’ because while we realize that we have a vast amount of knowledge, we have no idea how we acquired it. Our thinking in this stage is still pretty egocentric. We think others see the world like we do and still don’t understand that they see it differently. Three: The concrete operational stage -age is 7 to 11. We finally discover logic and we develop concrete cognitive operations, such as sorting objects in a certain order. One example of this is inductive reasoning, which means that if we see someone eating a cookie we can draw a conclusion and then make a generalization and we now get the concept of conservation. We understand that if we pour orange juice from a normal glass to a taller one the amount stays the same. Our younger sister will pick the taller glass thinking she gets more. By the same logic, we only now can understand that if 3 plus 5 equals 8, then 8 minus 3 must equal 5. Our brain learns to rearrange our thoughts to classify and build concrete operational mental structures. For example, we now know that we can reverse an action by doing the opposite. Excited by our new mental abilities, we apply them in conversations, activities, when we learn to write, and in school. As a result, we get to know ourselves better. We begin to understand that our thoughts and feelings are unique and not necessarily those of others. That means that we learn to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Four: The formal operational stage – Age 12 plus. Once we become teenagers, we become formally operational. We now have the ability to think more rationally about abstract concepts and hypothetical events. Our advanced cognitive abilities allow us to understand abstract concepts such as success and failure, love and hate. We form a deeper understanding of our own identity and our morality. We now also think that we understand why people behave the way they behave and as a result can become more compassionate. Our brain can now do deductive reasoning, which means we can compare two statements and reach a logical generalization. Our new mental skills allow us to plan our life systematically and prioritize and we can make assumptions about events that have no necessary relation to reality. We can now also philosophize and just think about thinking itself. Our new sense for our identity now also creates egocentric thoughts and some start to see an imaginary audience watching them all the time. Piaget believed in lifelong learning, but insisted that the formal operational stage is the final stage of our cognitive development. Jean Piaget’s first interests were animals and he published his first scientific paper on albino sparrows in 1907, when he was just 11 years old. In 1920, he began working with standardized intelligence tests. He realized that younger children consistently make types of mistakes that older children do not. He concluded that they must think differently and spent the rest of his life studying the intellectual development of children.

100 thoughts on “Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development”

  1. I would like to cite this video on my research paper, aside from the name of the publisher, is there a way I can learn the name/s of the author/s?? I'm using APA format. Or is it best to just name the author as Sprouts?

  2. This is the best designed information video I have ever seen. The animations and explanations are on point! Thank you

  3. Taking Daddy's hammer without permission can be reversed.
    Telling your little sister that she's stupid cannot.
    Saying the words, "I'm sorry" doesn't really reverse it either.
    And yet, we make and accept apologies as if they really do correct a wrong.
    I can see now that the proper category for this behavior is "superstition".

  4. Great video but what is the link between someone eating a cookie and inductive reasoning? What conclusion? (3:36)

  5. Ummm…Stage 3…the concrete operational stage. Unfortunately, I find that too many ADULTS have yet to learn that others have differing views and perspectives from themselves! Many adults have yet to learn how to put themselves into other people's shoes! And that is the truth…jus sayin

  6. Thank's for a great video, perfect before exams!

    Would be great if you could make a video of Vygotsky's theory as well! 🙂

  7. It seems to me from anecdotal examples dealing with small children raised in 1st and 3rd world countries, that these stages can be sped somewhat by varied experiences and practice, starting from concrete and graduating to more abstract. For example, before doing addition, subtraction and division on paper, the child should start using concrete objects. Only when a child understands the process using concrete objects; next he will calculate on paper using images of and only then he should learn symbols, i.e. numbers. A child who has has a lot of concrete experiences will graduate to the next level faster… Modern kids have less concrete experiences of nature and free exploration which maybe to a point can be compensated by the use of multimedia and use of computer technology.

  8. For developing cognitive skill the trainee use the sense of sight by
    (a) 20 % -25%
    (b) 50 % -60 %
    (C) 70%-75%
    (d) above 80 % answer me plz

  9. The mnemonic “Some People Can’t Focus” always helped me remember this: Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete, Formal

  10. Hi, thank you very much for this amazing short, highlight lecture. I wondered if you have Freud’s psychosexual theory and Sullivan’s interpersonal theory? Really need that for my psycho class. Thanks.

  11. I’ve heard this at least 20 times or more and because I am a visual learner so many light bulbs poppin on💡Thanks!

  12. This still does not explain why people call me naive, simpleton, stupid, too innocent, to simple, dumb etc etc.

  13. Stages are correct but what to learn at what stage is generally incorrect and is shown incorrectly in this video too.

  14. Need to learn this for my teachers degree in art. Thank you very much 🙂 the cognitive development of a child is in correlation with it's artistic development. Super interesting!

  15. I have to write if I agree to disagree with the theory.

    I'm not sure I agree.

    I have no idea how to even start an essay

  16. Thanks for this valuable and helpful theory, thanks for excellent drawings and animations. I can improve my listening skill via that a lot!!!
    I highly appreciate all the things your channel had created.
    Thanks for all ^^

  17. Thank you so much 👍👍🥰but please add Russian subtitles 👍🙏🙏🙏sorry for my broken English

  18. Piaget described the overall development of a child's development of a child's interaction with the environment… Do you agree/disagree with examples substantiate your answer?????? Your views please!!!

  19. He is completely wrong.
    We do not have to do any of that. That is done as a process of evolution. We have to do exactly what Plato told you, and exactly what the Bible tells you. Learn, think, and teach, binary information processing because it is the foundation of maintaining, promoting, and protecting the biosphere.

    The human race is still proto-linguistic.
    You cannot even read yet. Adam and Eve, a conjugate binary pair, i.e. complete binary induction and deduction.

    If you had read the Bible, it repeats, man is too illiterate to read it until then.

    And this is not a theory at all. Only the illiterate spout nonsensical theories.

  20. At 18 yrs old, my mother left the household, at 19, my father passed, in my 20s, my brother died, in my 30s, my mother passed, in my 40s, my sister died…………..🤕 !

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