Cognitive Development Glossary

1. Schemes: Groups of similar actions or thoughts that are used repeatedly in response to the environment. How what children learn and can do is organized. Initially schemes are behavioral in nature, but as children grow, they become more mental and eventually abstract. Piaget endorsed having children use new schemes over and over, in new and familiar settings, until they become a part of a person’s cognitive structures.

 2. Operations: Cognitive structures that govern logical reasoning.

 3. Assimilation: Entails responding to and possibly interpreting an object or vent in a way that’s consistent with an existing scheme.

 4. Accommodation: Sometimes, children cannot easily respond to a new object or event using existing schemes leading to accommodation: either the children will modify an existing scheme to account for the new object or event or they will form an entirely new scheme to deal with it.

 5. Equilibrium: When children can comfortably interpret and respond to new events using existing schemes. Equilibrium can be disrupted. When this happens, when they encounter situations for which their current knowledge and skills are inadequate, disequilibrium occurs, a mental discomfort that spurs them to try and make sense of what they observe. The process of moving from equilibrium to disequilibrium and back again to equilibrium is known as equilibration.

 6. Stages of cognitive development: Created by Piaget.

1. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth until Age 2): Defined by the development of voluntary behaviors and ability to think symbolic thoughts. They may make plans in their mind of what they want to do then test their plans.

 2. Preoperational Stage (Age 2 until Age 6 or 7): Defined by having the ability to represent objects and events mentally, giving a more extended view of the world.

 3. Concrete Operations Stage (Age 6 or 6 Until 11 or 12): Defined by thinking processes that begin to take form of logical operations that enable children to integrate various qualities and perspectives of an object or event. Conservation, the idea that when nothing is added or taken away the amount stays the same, is developed in this stage

 4. Formal Operations Stage (Age 11 or 12 through Adulthood): Defined  by  becoming capable of thinking and reasoning about things that have little or no basis in physical reality – abstract concepts, hypothetical ideas, contrary to fact statements, and so on.


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