Cognitive development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology focusing on a child's development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of brain development and cognitive psychology compared to an adult's point of view. In other words, cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and understand. A large portion of research has gone into understanding how a child imagines the world. Jean Piaget was a major force in the discovering of this field study, forming his "theory of cognitive development". Piaget had four stages of cognitive development which consisted of the following : Sensorimotor, preoperational,concrete operational and formal operational. Many of his theoretical claims have since fallen out of favor. However, his description of the tendencies of cognitive development (e.g., that it moves from being dependent on actions and perception in infancy to understanding of the more observable aspects of reality in childhood to capturing the underlying abstract rules and principles in adolescence) is generally still accepted today. Besides, many of the phenomena that he discovered, such as object permanence in infancy and the conservations in school age children, attract the interest of current researchers. In recent years, alternative models have been advanced, including the neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development, which aim to integrate Piaget's ideas that stood the test of time with more recent theorizing and methods in developmental and cognitive science.
A major controversy in cognitive development has been "nature vs. nurture", or nativism versus empiricism. However, it is now recognized by most experts that this is a false dichotomy: there is overwhelming evidence from biological and behavioral sciences that from the earliest points in development, gene activity interacts with events and experiences in the environment. Another issue is how culture and social experience relate to developmental changes in thinking. Another question is phylogenic convergence or homology with non-human animals. Most aspects of learning and cognition are similar in humans and non-human animals. These issues propagate to nearly every aspect of cognitive development.
Famous quotes related to cognitive development:
“While each child is born with his or her own distinct genetic potential for physical, social, emotional and cognitive development, the possibilities for reaching that potential remain tied to early life experiences and the parent-child relationship within the family.”
—Bernice Weissbourd (20th century)