The purpose of this study is to analyse, in a practical way, the theories and concepts of cognitive development, across different age-related stages. Using Piaget’s theory of development, the cognitive ability of two subjects, aged 4 and 18 years, are examined against the milestones of the respective preoperational and formal operational development stages. Cognitive ability is determined by focusing on the subject’s capability and rationale to group 20 different objects. Based on the research outcomes, comparisons will be made to Piaget’s theory and the expected learning ability at their age-related development stage.
Jean Piaget was considered a pioneer in cognitive research. Piaget developed his theory of cognitive development based on the sequence of changes that occur to the cognition of a person as they mature. Piaget believed that older children not only know quantitatively more than younger ones, but actually think in qualitatively different ways. Children and adults are thought to possess an inbuilt ability to experiences organise their knowledge and into schemes (Lambert, 2007). Jean Piaget defined schemes as both internalised behavioural patterns and mental understanding (Piaget, 1963, as cited in Berk, 2009). People are thought to actively seek knowledge and information from the surrounding environment and absorb or process this information using schemes. New knowledge is built on existing knowledge and as a person becomes older these schemes become increasingly more complex. This knowledge adds to a person’s intelligence providing them with an adaptation to succeed or survive in the world (Piaget, 1963, as cited in Berk, 2009).
Through this reasoning, Piaget determined that learning occurred across four distinct, sequential age-related stages: a sensory motor period (0–2 years), pre-operational stage (2–7 years), concrete operational stage (7–11 years) and the formal operational stage (11years–adulthood).
This case study focuses on only two of the four stages relative to the age of the subjects. These stages are described below.
Pre-operational stage (2 – 7 yrs). 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 non-logical, non-reversible manner. Egocentric thinking predominates.
Formal operational stage (11yrs to adulthood). During this stage, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts. Skills such as logical thought, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also emerge during this stage, (Piaget, 1963).
This study will aim show that as age increase a person’s thought processes change from concrete to abstract, the level of egocentrism and centration generally decreases, children develop more eye for detail, their information processing capacities increase, and their problem solving becomes more and more advanced (Schaffer, 2003).
The purpose of a case study is to...