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Piaget's stages of cognitive development

​Learn about the stages and developmental milestones in Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Created by Carole Yue.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Robert Grish
    If you can put English subtitles in the video, I can create them in Ukrainian or Russian. The same applies to the translation of texts for psychology course or all courses related to these.
    (23 votes)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user patoof
    Is Piaget's stages of cognitive development completely correct?
    Have any problems been found?
    (9 votes)
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    • leaf yellow style avatar for user adamzalaquett
      No developmental psychology theory is ever completely correct there will always be exceptions, this is just what Piaget proposed. There are may other theories that relate to cognitive development, but there are none that are correct in all cases.
      (21 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user HowardAChang
    Isn't the part on object permanence wrong? The speaker says that children DON'T have object permanence from 0-2 years, but in reality this is the age range at which children DO develop object permanence.
    (7 votes)
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  • old spice man green style avatar for user xavier.krazyboy
    Why are the stages so important
    (5 votes)
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  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user A_mad_impulse
    Should remind people that this is Piaget's view and no longer thought of as accurate.
    Object Permanence develops earlier.
    Theory of Mind develops 3-5... etc
    (6 votes)
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  • piceratops seed style avatar for user Ridhwan
    Can I do this part without learning about different parts of the brain at a cellular level and all the chemical jargon but having a basic understanding?
    (4 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user ekburger.PE
      Definitely. A lot of people want to separate the "thinking" (mental, psychological side - whatever you prefer to call it) from the "biological" (chemicals, hormones etc.), but really they are both just two sides of the exact same coin. But you can get a great understanding without actually knowing the names of different hormones, different parts of the brain and so on. However, the more you delve into the subject you'll probably absorb some of that stuff anyway. For example you wouldn't expect a 5 year old child to have tons of empathy developed or a 3 year old to be able to make accurate drawings. The brain simply hasn't evolved that far yet (which would be the biological aspect of it). The areas are by nature intertwined, but I would say you could definitely get a good grasp on the subjects discussed here without having to memorize facts about the brain or something like that. For those interested they can check out books like "The Male Brain" and "The Female Brain" (Louann Brizendine) which shows the relation between behaviours (from birth throghout childhood into adulthood) and the brains development and the different hormones that trigger behaviour in a very clear way.
      (2 votes)
  • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user Milain Lambers
    Since Carole says "It's not really hard and fast rules" () about at which age a stage starts, would it be possible that a child develops these stages in a different order or parallel to eachother? For instance, could the development of the 'Formal operational' stage start before a child has a (fully) gone through 'the Concrete operational' stage?
    (3 votes)
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    • starky ultimate style avatar for user Soph
      I think that could happen, kind of like how in Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development a child may not "complete" one of the Stages, which would then lead to problems later in life. For example, not completing the Anal stage could lead to control issues. However, a child wouldn't be able to skip one of Piaget's stages, since learning and development are on a steady course, so to speak.
      (2 votes)
  • male robot hal style avatar for user Evan L.
    Does anyone know at what age the earliest or latest possible stages happen? Just curious....
    (2 votes)
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    • starky sapling style avatar for user Toby Johnson
      Piaget has generalised based on his findings in terms of the age brackets, but like said on the video, these age brackets aren't actually as discrete as they are proposed to be in Piaget's theory. But still, there isn't a definitive answer for "what's the youngest age that you have to be to enter formal operations?", that's kind of like asking "what's the youngest age that you have to be to learn how to ride a bike?".
      (3 votes)
  • duskpin tree style avatar for user madison doney
    now why does the human brain rely on the human body and what do the kids put stuff in there mouth and why are kids so small why are they not big?
    (1 vote)
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  • mr pants purple style avatar for user Shabely
    Does this have anything to do with psychology? I want to be a child psychologist so I'm going to have to start learning. Thanks!
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

- [Instructor] A long time ago, people used to think that children were just miniature versions of adults, and that they thought in pretty much the same way. But then this guy Piaget came along and he figured out that children actually reason quite differently. In fact, he believed that children are actively constructing their understanding of the world as they grow, so that as their bodies grow, their minds grow as well. He thought that this happened generally in different stages. So, I want to tell you about Piaget's four stages of cognitive development. First, we start out with zero to two years. At this point, children are said to be in the sensorimotor stage. This word kind of makes sense. Sensori just comes from the senses. So he said children gather information about their world with their eyes, so through sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. So that's why whenever you see a baby zero to two years, they're always touching stuff and putting it in their mouth. Then the motor part is that they are very active. As they discover how to use their senses, they also discover how to move their bodies around. This helps them explore the world and learn what they're capable of. The main task or awareness that develops during this time is object permanence. This just means that infants don't recognize that objects still exist even though they can't see them. For example, if you give an infant a toy or something, say you have a nice ball for them, and you take it away, they won't look for it because they don't understand that it still exists. The next stage occurs from about age two to right around six or seven years. The reason I'm being a little wishy-washy on the years is because these are really just general guidelines. It's not really hard and fast rules of when these stages happen. The next stage is the preoperational stage. The operational part just means mental operation, so imagining things or mentally reversing actions, things like that. The thing to notice about this phase is that this is really when children start to develop and engage in pretend play, and they'll begin to be able to use symbols to represent things. What you might notice is that around age two is also when children learn to talk. As they learn that words symbolize objects, that starts to help them into the preoperational stage, and understand the idea of symbols. Children of this age are very egocentric. That's not a bad thing. They're not just arrogant and bragging all the time. They just don't understand that other people have a different point of view than they do. If you're ever watching TV with a child, like a five-year-old, they might sit down right in front of you and not understand that you can't see through them, because they can see. Also, sometimes kids will try to hide from you at this stage by covering their eyes. The whole, I can't see you, you can't see me idea. Then once they get to about age seven to about age 11 years old, then they are in the concrete operational stage. Again, remember operational means mental operations, and now they can do concrete operations. So this is where children learn the idea of conservation. If you know a little kid and want to see what stage of development they're in, then you can do this little test. It's pretty fun. It's easy. You take two identical glasses and pour the same amount of water in them, and show them to the child and say, "Which one has more?" And kids will tell you they all have the same amount. Then, right in front of the child, so that she sees you, you take one of those glasses and pour it into a short, fat glass. Then you take the other one and pour it into a tall, skinny glass. Then right away, ask the child again, "Which one has more?" Up until concrete operational, the child's going to say the tall, skinny glass has more because the water's higher. But once they reach the concrete operational stage, and understand that the amount of water doesn't change just because the glasses are different sizes, then they'll tell you that they both still have the same amount of water, even though they look different. So that's a fun little test. At this stage, children can also begin to reason about mathematics. They'll be able to understand that 8 + 4 = 12, and then that must mean that 12 - 4 = 8. Moving on up, children from about age 12 and up are in what Piaget called the formal operational stage. That's when children are able to reason about abstract concepts and think about consequences of potential actions. They're able to reason out what might occur. Also, Piaget thought that this is where really sophisticated moral reasoning began to take place. At this point, children are reasoning more like adults, and they continue to develop that over time. Later developmentalists have come along and figured out that these stages aren't quite so discreet as Piaget may have originally thought. Children don't always develop these abilities within the certain age brackets, but they do tend to progress in a predictable fashion. Thanks to Piaget, now we know that children are more than just miniature adults. So, go find a child and see what stage they're in. Test Piaget's theory yourself.