Stages in Cognitive Development
Piaget identified four stages in cognitive development:
1. Sensorimotor Stage (Infancy): In this period, intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because its based on physical interactions /experiences. Children acquire object permanence at about 7 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.
2. Pre-operational Stage (Toddler and Early Childhood): In this period, intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imagination are developed, but thinking is done in a nonlogical, non-reversible manner. Egocentric thinking predominates.
3. Concrete Operational Stage (Elementary and Early Adolescence): In this period, intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Operational thinking develops and egocentric thought diminishes.
4. 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.