Jean Piaget best described the stages from birth to two years in what he called the sensorimotor stage. It is a stage based on infants and toddlers cognitive development. An infant uses his or her senses and motor abilities to understand the world, beginning with reflexes and ending with complex combinations of sensorimotor skills (Boeree, G.C. (2009). During the first four months of life, according to Piaget, infants interact with the world through primary circular reactions.
The purpose of this paper is to use the habituation technique in young infants to evaluate one hypothesis derived from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. I will compare 5-months olds in a task that involves possible and impossible outcomes. Piaget’s theory specifies the cognitive competencies of children of this age. 1a. In their sensorimotor stage, from birth to age 2, children experience the world through their senses and actions (Myers, 2013).
By two years old, children begin testing and exploring this idea. Three year olds understand visual perception and the concept of hiding objects. By the time a child is four, they understand that people can have incorrect thoughts about the world. In opposition to the traditional understanding that babies and young children learn and think differently than adults, Gopnik suggests that babies and young children use the same learning methods as scientists. They “observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments” (Gopnik, 237) to learn about people, objects, and their surroundings.
The second stage in the process is the Preoperational stage. This lasts from age 2 until age 7. This is a very important stage in the child’s development as it is where they develop their imagination and fantasy. Children engage in make believe and can understand and express relationships between the past and the future. They begin to use objects symbolically or even imagine objects that aren’t there at all.
She explains the typical behavior, starting from when they can imitate facial expressions at birth, and then proceeding to discovering and differentiating others’ and their own emotions. They go on to learning and perfecting the concept of hiding. Gopnik was able to experiment with kids in the different age groups and provides the results to back up her theories. Another significant point that was brought up was the comparison of the thought process between babies and scientists. Babies and scientists “think, observe, formulate theories, make predictions, and do experiments.
It will then briefly describe Piaget’s theory by providing an overview of the four stages of cognitive development which include sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational, before presenting two of the most common criticisms of his theory. Finally the essay will conclude with a brief summary of the points discussed. Prior to the development of his theory, Piaget worked for Albert Binet, a psychologist who was working to test the intelligence of both adults and children. During this time Piaget’s role was to conduct tests on children. His interest in children’s cognitive processes developed when he started to notice that children of similar ages made the same kinds of mistakes on test questions.
Both theorists said that a child’s cognitive development took places in stages but the way in which these theorists described the way children go through these stages was completely different. Piaget was the first theorist to say that children go through stages. He believed that there are four stages of cognitive development, these stages are: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational (Malim and Birch, 2005, p.462). During the first stage, sensorimotor, which Piaget believed happened when the child was between the ages of birth and two years, this is when the child only accepts things that are given to them. They learn about objects and develop their motor skills, they also learn about what happens when they do certain things, for example, if a child is lying in a cot with a mobile over their head they will learn that if they hit the mobile it will move so they will do it again and again.
If something doesn’t fit within an existing schema then the concept would be placed into it’s own separate schema. The first stage in a child’s development according his theory was the sensorimotor stage which takes place from approximately zero to two years of age. The sensorimotor stage is characterized by the concept of object permanence. In simpler terms object permanence refers to a child’s ability to understand that an object continues to exist even when it is out of there range of sight. Piaget believed the second stage of learning was the preoperational stage, which occurred from approximately two to seven years of age.
During this stage, children are unable to take another’s point of view or understand that symbols can represent other objects. They also don’t comprehend others’ mental states, perceptions or thoughts. Concrete Operational was the name of Piaget’s third stage of cognitive development. This stage usually began around age seven and lasted about four years. Children begin to think logically and understand conservation.
Piaget’s theory of intellectual development is broken down into four stages; Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete operational, and Formal operational (Nixon & Aldwinckle, 2002). The “Sensorimotor stage” is the period of infancy to early toddlerhood (usually from birth to two years of age)and is divided into six sub stages, where children move from reflex dominated responses, to the beginnings of symbolic thought, as language starts to be used to represent reality. Children in this stage obtain and use knowledge primarily through motor action and sensory information (Nixon & Aldwinckle, 2002). The “Preoperational stage” covers the period between two and seven years of age, and is divided into two sub stages (Nixon & Aldwinckle, 2002). During this stage of cognitive development, children begin to think independently of actions and hold representation.