Cognitive development in the child: Piaget’s theories in a book

Cognitive development, according to Piaget, occurs through pre-established stages and exchanges with the environment

It cognitive development it refers to the natural evolution of intellectual abilities over the span of life. What changes and improves them is the continuous interaction with the external environment.

The different aspects | Cognitive development in the child: Piaget’s theories in a book

Development occurs under various aspects, besides the cognitive one. There is development physicist, personal, social, morale.

However, any form has a different speed of development from one person to another. We could take the classic and simple example of a classroom, in which there will be students with different learning speeds.

Development is also ordered. In fact, children learn gradually, first the additions, then the multiplications and so on.

Piaget’s theory | Cognitive development in the child: Piaget’s theories in a book

According to Piaget, changes in thinking are influenced by four factors: biological maturity, activities in the environment, consequent social experiences, maintaining balance.

Everyone, each species, therefore, inherits two basic functions fundamental for development in the environment and, consequently, cognitive: organization e adaptation.

The organization it allows you to act and think about objects or events. Depending on the situation, I think and act by changing behavior and actions.

The adaptation it helps to change and modify organization, behavior and thinking, therefore it leads to learning. All this happens through assimilation (insertion of new information) e accommodation (modification and creation of new information).

Using examples it is much easier to understand: I meet a tiger for the first time (assimilation) and, not knowing the type of animal, I mistake it for a cat. I understand and learn, having seen her, that that animal is not a cat (much smaller) but a tiger. I will begin to recognize it as such (accommodation).

Cognitive development in the child: Piaget's theories in a book

Five stages | Cognitive development in the child: Piaget’s theories in a book

According to Piaget cognitive development runs through five progressive stages with increasing age:

1. Sensory-motor phase (from birth to two years): defined in this way because the child uses the senses and objects to observe and experience the environment.

The child passes byinstinct e i reflexes (I take the game without knowing what it is, pull my hair, explore) alla repetition of such behaviors to understand the consequences on your body (primary circular reactions) and others (secondary circular reactions).

It develops the permanence of the object, the child understands the presence of the object in the environment, whether at that moment they see and perceive it or not. From the eighth month it includes the interactions with the environment and from the eighteen months the consequences of its actions on the environment.

2. Pre-conceptual phase (from two to four years old): thought is attention seeker. They think everyone feels their emotions and has the same perspectives (“The doll is mine”).

3. Intuitive Thinking Phase (from four to seven years old): thinking non And reversible, that is, the child fails to direct the action performed towards a purpose, but intuitive.

4. Phase of concrete operations (from seven to eleven): think logically, knows how to reverse the thinking from general to particular.

5. Phase of formal operations (from eleven to fourteen): think so hypothetical and so deductive. Considers diverse perspectives and develops the judgment skills ed identity.


Born in Geneva in 1896 and died in 1980, he was one of the greatest psychologists, biologists and pedagogists, founder ofgenetic epistemology. He also devoted a lot to developmental psychology.

Cognitive development in the child: Piaget's theories in a book

The child’s mental development and other psychology studies

This is just one of the many books in which Piaget confronts and explains his theories, differentiating cognitive development from birth to adolescence.

It was published in Italy by Einaudi, in 1967.