What Is Cognitive Development?

Cognitive development is the development of thinking and reasoning ability. It is the construction of thought processes such as memory, decision-making and problem solving, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Cognitive development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology concerned with development of children in regard to information processing, perceptual skill, conceptual resources, language learning, and other elements of intelligence and cognitive psychology in comparison to adult’s perceptions.

Cognitive development refers to the way an individual thinks, perceives, and gains knowledge of his world as a result of the interaction of genetic and leaned factors. It involves four major stages: the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage.

The sensorimotor stage is a period between birth and two years. During this age, the child’s knowledge of the world is confined to his sensory perceptions and motor activities. The preoperational stage is a period between the ages of two and six, during which a child learns to use speech. The concrete operational stage runs between ages seven and eleven. During this phase, a child develops a better understanding of mental operations. The child begins to think logically about concrete events. The formal operational stage is a period between 12 years through adulthood, during which people gain the ability to think about abstract perceptions.