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Cognitive Development: Scholarly Sources Analysis

Article 1

The research by Dehaene et al. (2010) focuses on the correlation between cortical development and education. The study hypothesized that literacy positively contributes to the level of cortical organization. The researchers employed fMRI to establish the responses of the brain to various stimuli among adults who had different degrees of literacy. The fMRI showed that adults with better literacy show better neural responses to the stimuli, both visual and spoken, regardless of when the literacy skills were acquired. On the other hand, it was suggested that literacy lowers neural activation in response to checkers and face images.

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No limitations of the study are mentioned. The probability that the neural responses to face perception decrease as a result of acquiring literacy is proposed to be investigated in subsequent studies. The research contributes to the field of developmental psychology by showing that education attained both at an early age and during adulthood can be beneficial for the cortical organization.

Article 2

The study by Munakata, Casey, and Diamond (2004) is a review of works on developmental cognitive neuroscience that were written from 1985 to 2003 (mostly 1992-2003). As a review, the article does not contain any explicit hypothesis, although it claims that developmental cognitive neuroscience is capable of shedding light on various aspects of human cognitive development, tying and/or deriving this data from the existent knowledge on brain physiology.

The authors state that the investigation of typical and non-typical child development allows developmental cognitive neuroscientists to uncover much information which can, for instance, be used in diagnosing or curing developmental disorders (such as phenylketonuria or schizophrenia); that utilization of fMRI allows for an understanding of neural changes which occur in the process of learning, and, therefore, for enhancing this process, as well as for the facilitation of the usage of the existing knowledge.

The article explicitly provides some general questions that are to be investigated in future studies in this field. These include the need to find out what areas of neuroscientific study can explain the dependence between behavior, on the one hand, and genome, neuro factors, and the environmental factors, on the other; the possibility of implementation of neuroscience in teaching and learning, as well as in treating brain development disorders, etc.

The study provides a review of the existing knowledge in the field and explicitly formulates some questions to be investigated in the future, effectively summarizing the current state of the field.

Article 3

The article by Bobby Ojose (2008) ties the findings of Jean Piaget in the field of cognitive development to the theory and practice of mathematical education. The study hypothesizes that the development of children is stable and gradual, occurring through several specific stages, each of which forms the basis for the next one; no stage can be skipped. The method employed in the article is an analysis of Piaget’s four stages of development (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational), which allows the author to conclude which tools of the mathematical education can be employed at which stage, and what the students can be taught depending on their current stage of development.

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The restrictions of the study originate from the limitations of Piaget’s theory. For instance, it is not always possible to exactly tell which stage of development a child currently undergoes, because e.g. the duration of the stages varies depending on the environment. Therefore, it is necessary for a teacher to carefully observe their students be able to unerringly identify the current stage and teach them accordingly.

The research proposes no recommendations for future studies. The article does not introduce new theoretical material into the field of developmental psychology, instead offering practical contribution by showing a way to apply the existing findings in the education of children.

Article 4

The article by Okamoto, Curtis, Jabagchourian, and Weckbacher (2006) comprises two studies that utilize a neo-Piagetian theory and take as a hypothesis that the mental development of gifted children does not differ immensely from that of non-gifted children of the same age. Another statement adopted is that the capacity of working memory is the main factor that limits children’s development.

The first study involved working with schoolchildren, who were given various tasks to measure their working memory; constraints were imposed to prevent children from creating efficient methods of solving the tasks. In the second study, schoolchildren and kindergarten children were asked questions to explore their counting and quantity comparison methods.

The researchers were able to find out that mathematically gifted young children understood important aspects of numerical calculations better than their age peers, whereas their working memory did not differ from that of their age peers. It is found likely that the advanced performance of gifted children was the result of the way they utilize their working memory.

The study is limited by the small size of the sample. It is recommended to study the brain organization of gifted children, as well as the way they develop strategies, to be able to effectively implement the results of the study.

The study provides a significant contribution to the field of developmental psychology, allowing us to understand that giftedness, at least in many cases, comes from the way children use their current brain capacities, rather than from the existence of enhanced capacities. These findings might help develop effective strategies for teaching children.

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Article 5

The study “Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood” by Jean Piaget was originally published in 1972. The underlying hypothesis of the research as a whole is that during childhood and adolescence, the development of intellectual structures is gradual, and can be divided into separate stages that remain stable even if the development occurs more slowly or more quickly than usual. The article does not include any explicit methodological discussions; it appears to be a set of reflections on previously gathered and processed data; the data was “taken from the better schools in Geneva”.

The author describes the patterns of thought that can be utilized by children of various stages of development. That is, children under 7-8 years of age develop the symbolic function but are strictly limited in its use; those of 7-8 to 11-12 years old, develop the logic of reversible operations. Finally, at the age of 11-12 to 14-15, the “more complete logic” becomes possible for the child.

As for the limitations of the study, the author points out that there are still several unanswered questions regarding the passage from being an adolescent to being an adult. The researcher recommends to find out if there exist cognitive structures that would be common for all the individuals at the age of 15-20 and to differentiate them.

This study contributes to the study of developmental psychology significantly, providing formalized data on how a child’s cognitive structures and methods develop with age.


Dehaene, S., Pegado, F., Braga, L. W., Ventura, P., Nunes Filho, G., Jobert, A.,…Cohen, L. (2010). How learning to read changes the cortical networks for vision and language. Science, 330(6009), 1359–1364. Web.

Munakata, Y., Casey, B. J., & Diamond, A. (2004). Developmental cognitive neuroscience: progress and potential. TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences, 8(3), 122-128. Web.

Ojose, B. (2008). Applying Piaget’s theory of cognitive development to mathematics instruction. Mathematics Educator, 18(1), 26-30. Web.

Okamoto, Y., Curtis, R., Jabagchourian, J. J., & Weckbacher, L. M. (2006). Mathematical precocity in young children: a neo-Piagetian perspective. High Ability Studies, 17(2), 183-202. Web.

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Piaget, J. (1972). Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood. Human Development, 15, 1-12. Web.

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