What is cognitive development?


When talking about something being cognitive, it is associated with thoughts, intelligence and mental processes in their entirety, and although it is true that all this is what the cognitive area encompasses, it must be taken into account that when talking about cognitive development we delve more into what would be the step by step of mental processes , their normality and their abnormality, among other things that by knowing about them we will be knowing more about ourselves, the why and for what of the daily things that happen.


What is cognitive development?

It is nothing more than the study that focuses on intellectual processes and how they affect the behavior of a certain individual, Jean Piaget proposes the theory of psychogenetics or psychogenesis, that is, genetic psychology, this theory limited that each person individually starting from their genetic inheritance develops differently, therefore, their interaction with the environment and their learning from it is also based on this.



The cognitive development is a fundamental aspect of human development, it is susceptible to changes, mutations and conditions, which means they can be trained to achieve go further.


Cognitive development is the product of a child’s efforts to understand and act in his world. It begins with an innate ability to adapt to the environment . It consists of a series of stages that represent the universal patterns of development. At each stage the child’s mind develops a new way of operating.

Theories of cognitive development

There are two types of development theories that Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Vygotsky’s theory of sociocultural development .

Piaget’s theory

Before Piaget proposed any type of theory , children were seen almost as automatons, certifying that they only learned from the environment and from their close beings, Piaget did not deny that alternative, however, he proposed that children throughout their growth They behaved more like little scientists than like sponges, it is true that they adapt when they acquire knowledge, however, they not only adapt, they manipulate it based on their previous knowledge, to achieve in this way a meaning or explanation of the new information that possess, interacting with it and creating their own concept of it.

For Piaget, children even though their age is short, they organize and schematize information , therefore, he proposed the principles of cognitive development in the same way.

The principle of organization and adaptation, which are two basic principles that for Piaget are invariable and govern the intellectual development of the child, the organization that is an innate predisposition of all species and through the child grows and matures integrates everything. which are complex patterns and schemes and the adaptation principle explains that every living being is born with the ability to adapt to the situations or demands that the environment proposes.

And there is the principle of assimilation and that of accommodation, in the principle of assimilation the child in his adaptation process focuses on the new information and gradually attaches it to his schemes, assimilating the information and making it understandable for him, because In the accommodation principle, here the child will modify his cognition schemes , since this principle only happens when the received or incoming information disagrees with one of the previously established schemes.

Vygotsky theory

Vygotsky was one of the first to criticize Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, since for him learning from birth was mostly individual, on the other hand Vygotsky affirms that knowledge is formed through interaction with other people, not with the environment, putting as the main factor the influence of social events and the same people around them in the knowledge of the infant.

Therefore, for Vygotsky, the cognitive development in the child is based on the culture of the nation in which it is born, since this immediately influences the child, coupled with it through social activities and interaction with the child. acquires skills and tools that help him improve his abilities, therefore, cognitive development takes place when the child internalizes the result of the social interactions he has had throughout the day.

Areas of cognitive development

  • Affective
  • Social.
  • Language.
  • Motorboat.
  • Thought.

Stages according to Piaget

Sensory-motor stage

For Piaget this stage runs from birth until the infant can already pronounce an articulated language, this stage is based on acquiring information and knowledge through physical interaction , here the child plays with things in his immediate environment, experimenting with these to learn enough of them.

It must be taken into account that children of this age only have two clear basic concepts , the self and the environment or what is external to it, which makes them extremely egocentric , everything they do has an end and is to satisfy themselves and your needs.

Pre-operational stage

This appears approximately from two years to seven years, where the infant acquires the ability to understand others, put himself in their place, and play at being fictional characters being able to imitate them perfectly, egocentricity continues to be active, which limits to make the information they collect from abroad more formal; they may know the meaning of something, however, they are not able to give formal and logical answers .

Stage of concrete operations

This occurs between seven and twelve years of age, here the child begins to use logic and reaches concrete and valid conclusions quickly, self-centeredness is gradually being put aside.

Stage of formal operations

It is the last stage of development and appears from twelve years on, until adulthood, in this stage the ability to associate previously unknown concepts is acquired to reach a logical and concrete conclusion, that is, here the experience that has been taken with some information is reserved, but it will not always be necessary to give logical answers . It is the fragrant stage in which the doors of analytical hypotheses and deductive thinking open.

Importance of cognitive development

The importance of these theories of cognitive development lies in understanding that gives the public about this issue and findings contributed to a number of both psychological currents and sociological, thanks to this understanding about mental processes is broad and extensive, which It is not only a cultural aid, it is also a professional aid.

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