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Psychology. A Child’s Cognitive Development


Cognitive development is related a child’s development process. It focuses on the child’s memory, development, problem solving skill development, thoughts and language development and social and meta cognition. Cognitive development is mainly related to human’s brain growth. It can be discerned as the development of intellectual abilities in a child. Intellectual development has several stages. Jean Piaget, who is a biologist, conducted various studies related to the intellectual development in babies, children and adults. Based on these studies he generates a theory known as Piaget’s cognitive theory of development.

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All children do not have same ability to learn languages, think, and engage in other intellectual abilities. This ability varies from person to person. By practice and employing some other techniques one can, however, improve these skills.

According to Piaget’s cognitive development theory there are four stages for a human beings cognitive development. Those four stages are Sensorimotor stage, Pre-operational stage, Concrete operational stage and Formal operational stage (Funderstanding, Discussion). (Piaget: Definition, 2008).

  • Sensorimotor stage: – This stage divides aging into six sub stages. Children up to two years come under this stage. In this stage an infant’s awareness about the world is limited with in the sensitivity and motor activities.
  • Pre-operational stage:- Children between ages two to seven are included in this stage. During this stage children are stimulus-bound and egocentric. (The pre- operational stage (18 months 5 years), 2007).

Language development and conversation understanding usually starts from this stage.

  • Concrete operational stage: – Age between seven and eleven. During this stage, children gain more understanding related to the mental operations. They start to think and do things logically and keep an awareness about various actions.
  • Formal operational stage:- This stage extends from twelve years to adulthood. During this stage, people build up an ability think about theoretical concepts like deductive reasoning, structured planning etc.


  1. Mothers and fathers can talk more with their child and try to shows various things surrounding the child. It helps them to identify movements of the objects, their colors, etc. According to Piaget, 1st stage infant have limited sensitivity and motor activity. It can be improved by the efficient interaction of parents.
  2. To increase language and intellectual development, spending time with grandparents is a good method. Grandparents can tell interesting stories and explain various incidents. It will help children to learn language. It is related with Piaget’s second stage development. In this age children show more interest to listen to and spend more time with parents and grandparents.
  3. The theory of Piaget makes it clear that as children grow older, their level of understanding of the world increases. They will able to perform certain tasks only when they reach that age. This fact can be applied in the field of education since the awareness of their level may lead to teaching them language and logic accordingly.
  4. To improve the comprehension level of children, Elizabeth Hurlock, in her book ‘Development Psychology’ (Hurlock, 2007, p.119-120) presents a concrete idea which is speaking slowly and clearly to children using words that are quite understandable to them. This helps the children to master the skill of attentive listening which would increase their linguistic and comprehension abilities. Allowing them to watch and hear good programs in television and radio also improves their language.
  5. Again, Elizabeth Hurlock emphasizes the need of a peer group for improvement of children’s language and cognitive development. This enhances their learning to become independent, to adopt social behavior, to take responsibilities to compete and to co-operate.
  6. Allowing children to take part in constructive plays such as drawing, painting, construction using wood or clay etc is another method that enhances their intelligence. They learn to think creatively and to explore the world around through such games.
  7. Noam Chomsky is of the opinion that there is an innate language learning mechanism in children at birth. But for the full development of the language, children need to get better input. The problem often is that they receive grammatically incomplete language from adults which is only a small portion of the language. Hence providing them exposure to qualitative language will improve this ability.
  8. The Behaviorist theory of Skinner points to the fact that children imitate adults in their learning process. So when adults can present correct form of language, children learn it and positive reinforcements through praise and rewards will increase the quick acquisition of language.
  9. Rheta DeVries in the web article titled ‘Moral and Intellectual Development Through Play’, explains how group games can increase intellectual development. The author says,Group games promote children’s intellectual development by engaging them in opportunities to exercise reasoning and become more logical in thought.” (DeVries, (n.d.), p.2).
  10. Educational toys are also important tools to enhance the intellectual level of children. Puzzles, books and building materials can help children to use their problem-solving skills and their power of imagination. Older children can use more advanced apparatus such as microscope that can kindle their thinking capacity.

The application of above mentioned ideas put forward by experts in the field of child development can make great difference in the improvement of language and intellectual development of our children. Those people who are concerned with the improvement of children need to understand these practical applications which would ensure better status for the future citizen of the nation.


DeVries, R. (n.d.). Moral and intellectual development through play: How to promote children’s development through playing group games: Intellectual development.. Web.

Hurlock, E B. (2007). Development Psychology. 5th edition. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Ltd.

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Piaget: Definition. (2008). Understanding. Web.

The pre- operational stage (18 months 5 years). (2007). Web.

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