What is Cognitive Development? Stages and influencing factors

Cognitive development refers to the development of individuals’ ability to interact with the world and is a lifelong process. The individual interacts with many factors such as age, experience, environmental factors, genetics and other factors.

Cognitive development is better understood thanks to the studies of psychologists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, and its importance manifests itself in many areas of life.

What is Cognitive Development?

Cognitive development is the development of individuals’ ability to interact with the world using cognitive processes such as thinking, perception, understanding, learning, problem solving, creativity, and memory. This process is a lifelong process of individuals from birth, and childhood is considered a critical period, especially in terms of cognitive development.

Cognitive development interacts with many factors such as the individual’s age, experience, environmental factors, genetics and other factors. Therefore, each individual’s cognitive development is unique and can develop at different rates.

Cognitive development is better understood thanks to the research of psychologists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner. Piaget suggested that there are four stages of cognitive development and that these stages are arranged by age. Vygotsky argued that social interactions play an important role in cognitive development. Bruner, on the other hand, emphasized that cognitive development is active and learner-centered and that learning occurs primarily through experience.

The importance of cognitive development manifests itself in different ways in all areas of life. Many areas, such as success in school, job performance, social skills, and emotional health, are related to cognitive development. Therefore, supporting and stimulating children’s cognitive development is crucial to their future success.

Cognitive development stages

Cognitive development

Cognitive development refers to the development of thinking, understanding and learning abilities of individuals going through different stages of their lives. Identifying and understanding these stages helps to understand children’s cognitive development and can help educators approach their needs in a more appropriate way.

Jean Piaget conducted one of the most influential studies to identify the stages of cognitive development. Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development:

Sensorimotor period (birth-2 years)

During this period, children use their sensory and motor skills to explore the world. During this period, basic concepts such as continuity, presence and absence of objects are taught.

Operational period (2-7 years)

During this period, children develop symbolic thoughts and develop language skills. They develop abstract concepts about the number, shape and size of objects.

Concrete operational period (7-11 years)

During this period, children develop more complex processing skills to solve concrete and real-world problems. For example, they develop mathematical concepts about the quantities and lengths of objects.

Abstract Operational Period (11 years and older)

During this period, children use logic and thinking skills to understand abstract and hypothetical concepts. During this period, it becomes easier to understand abstract concepts such as science, philosophy, and mathematics.

However, Piaget’s stages have also been criticized. Some researchers have argued that children’s cognitive development is more continuous, the stages are not certain, and that children may be in different stages at different times.

What you need to know about cognitive development

Cognitive development

The brain acts as the center of the nervous system. This organ, which has a perfect mystery, can help you reach any peak or it can be your worst enemy. Do you know that you can control your brain, which is always ready according to your wishes and desires, whenever you want?

An. For your brain, there is no difference between reality and imagination. The brain reacts to every thought and cannot tell the truth from a dream. That’s why your dreams seem so realistic.

2. Although mental work tires the brain, it can never exhaust it. The feeling of brain fatigue is usually caused by emotions. This is due to the fact that the components of the blood flowing during the active work of the brain remain unchanged.

3. Our brain works largely automatically. More than half of today’s thoughts are yesterday’s thoughts. Therefore, it is very difficult to change the perception of pessimistic people about the world.

4. The brain is always watching and recording the thoughts you have formed. This is the greatest evidence of the reflection of the dreams and wishes you imagine in your brain on your lifestyle.

5. Our brains, like our muscles, need training. For this reason, reading, exercising, traveling, eating healthy, exercising, dancing, and even playing Tetris will be beneficial interactions for your brain.

6. Your brain needs regular rest. Helping your brain to relax from time to time will allow your future life to be more positive and successful.

7. The brain can never stop thinking about something. The brain, which continues to work even during sleep, is always ready to produce new things and take action.

Factors that influence cognitive development

Cognitive development

Cognitive development is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Children’s cognitive development is influenced by many factors such as their family, teachers, friends and the environment in which they live. These are the factors that influence cognitive development:

Genetic factors

Cognitive development is also influenced by genetic factors. The intelligence level and cognitive skills of children depend on the genetic traits they inherit from their parents.

Family Factors

Children’s cognitive development is also influenced by the family environment. Children show healthier cognitive development when they grow up in a positive environment with the love, attention and support they receive from their family.

Teacher and school environment

The school environment is also important for children’s cognitive development. Qualified teachers can support children’s cognitive development.

Power supply

Healthy nutrition plays an important role in the cognitive development of children. Children who do not have an adequate and balanced diet may experience delays in their cognitive development.


Sleep is essential for cognitive development. Children who don’t get enough sleep may have trouble developing cognitive skills such as learning and memory.

Technology Use

Technology use can negatively affect children’s cognitive development. Excessive use of technology can have negative effects on children’s language and social skills.

Environmental factors

The environment in which children grow up also influences their cognitive development. Factors such as the environment in which children live, language and culture have a major influence on their cognitive development.

Why is cognitive development important?

Cognitive development makes it easier for people to achieve success in many areas of their lives and to solve the difficulties they face in everyday life. Proper cognitive development helps people develop social skills as well as academic skills such as language, math, reading and writing.

What factors influence cognitive development?

Cognitive development is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. While genetic factors determine people’s level of intelligence and cognitive abilities, environmental factors such as family, school, diet, sleep, technology use and environmental factors also influence cognitive development.

At what age does cognitive development take place the fastest?

Cognitive development begins at birth and continues throughout life. However, the period when it occurs most rapidly is in the first five years after birth. During this period, the brain grows and develops rapidly, language skills develop, and social bonds are formed.

Is cognitive development irreversible?

Cognitive development is not irreversible. People can develop their cognitive skills throughout their lives. Learning, reading, writing, thinking, problem solving and other cognitive skills can be developed and improved as age progresses.

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