Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Born: Aug 9, 1896
Birthplace: Neuchâtel, SwitzerlandJean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Died: September 17, 1980

Location of death: Geneva, Switzerland

Cause of death: unspecified
Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Psychologist

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Elaborated the stages of childhood

Cognitive development refers to how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of his or her world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors. Among the areas of cognitive development are information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory.

Cognitive Stages of Development
Sensorimotor (0-2 years) Development proceeds from reflex activity to representation and sensorimotor solutions to problems
Pre-operational (2-7 years) Problems solved through representation; language development; (2-4 years); thoughts and language both egocentric; cannot solve conservation problems.
Concrete Operation (7-11 years) Reversibility attained; can solve conservation problems; Logical operation developed and applied to concrete problems; cannot solve complex verbal problems.
Formal Operation (11 years-adulthood) Logically solves all types of problems; thinks scientifically; solves complex problems; cognitive structures mature.
  • Sensorimotor stage (infancy): In this period, which has six sub-stages, intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Knowledge of the world is limited, but developing, because it is based on physical interactions and experiences. Children acquire object permanence at about seven months of age (memory). Physical development (mobility) allows the child to begin developing new intellectual abilities. Some symbolic (language) abilities are developed at the end of this stage.
  • Pre-operational stage (toddlerhood and early childhood): In this period, which has two sub stages, intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imagination are developed, but thinking is done in a non-logical, non-reversible manner. Egocentric thinking predominates.
  • Concrete operational stage (elementary and early adolescence): In this stage, characterized by seven types of conservation (number, length, liquid, mass, weight, area, and volume), intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Operational thinking develops (mental actions that are reversible). Egocentric thought diminishes.
  • Formal operational stage (adolescence and adulthood): In this stage, intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. Early in the period there is a return to egocentric thought. Only 35 percent of high school graduates in industrialized countries obtain formal operations; many people do not think formally during adulthood.



Dizon,. General Psychology. Manila: Rex Bookstore, 2003
Uriarte, Gabriel G. General Psychology. Manila, 2007