What Is Cognitive Development

what is cognitive development 2

What is Cognitive Development?

Discussing a subject so mentioned in the area of Neuropsychology and What is Cognitive Development of Child is not something as simple as it seems. For us researchers, new discoveries are hastily arising and forcing us to update our knowledge about issues so important to understanding the human brain. For this reason, I will try to be brief and I will make great effort to leave the text clear and without much doubt to the reader.

Talking about cognitive development implies, first and foremost, talking about cognition. The definition of cognition to date is not as clear as it should, after all, “anything” that is related to the brain is called cognition. However, it is important to name the oxen before we talk about them.

A brief and objective definition of the term is:

“Cognition refers to a set of brain / mental skills needed to gain knowledge about the world. Such skills involve thinking, reasoning, abstraction, language, memory, attention, creativity, problem-solving ability, among other functions. ” This will let you in on the question what is cognitive development.

The concept of cognition, therefore, refers us to the cognitive processes that are developed from infancy to the final years of aging. It is important to note that development is directly related to learning, that is, one does not occur without the other. This process spirals upward giving us the notion of steady growth in development:

What Is Cognitive Development Child: perceptions, reactions, and competences

Child development and cognitive development

The development of a child can and should be measured and usually accompanied as one of the health prevention strategies, both in childhood and adolescence. We can verify it in several axes: motor, language, social, affective, adaptive and also cognitive. The divergence between them or delays observed in one or more of these axes should draw attention and direct the child to measures of early intervention.

what is cognitive development

The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly warned the international community to monitor early delays and disturbances in child development. WHO wants to know the accurate answer of what is cognitive development in the child? Such abnormalities are associated with a child’s elevated risk of developing psychiatric disorders, developmental disorders, and learning disabilities, and may eventually develop into contexts that may destabilize family relationships, reduce school engagement, and expose children to social risks, and individual failures in the most diverse moments of your life.

The early identification of signs that may suggest problems in the development of the child opens space for remedial interventions and corrections, which will induce the construction of skills that would not have crystallized without proper stimulation. In this context, cognitive development is important.

Cognition means processing information for the purpose of perceiving, integrating, understanding and responding appropriately to the stimuli of the environment, leading the individual to think and evaluate how to fulfill a task or a social activity. In order to process, it is necessary the involvement of several brain regions, which are the seat of certain functions that, together, express a specific ability. These regions must be intact, age-matched, and adequately interconnected so that there is a good response from the brain to environmental stimuli and, by extension, the realization of adaptive learning and evolution for new learning.

Thus, it is very important that the child is given the opportunity to develop all the important requirements for their cognition, preventing medical and environmental factors that alter the structure or brain functioning. Cognitive development depends on the involvement of several other functions and the good resourcefulness of other functions that support it such as language, motor coordination, and affective-emotional support. Living in a healthy environment from both a biological and an affective point of view is very important. Providing materials and spaces to make the child appropriate the stimuli that provide cognitive advances is paramount and this statement is quite near to what is cognitive development. Observing how the child reacts and how he or she has acquired abilities when being stimulated allows them to evaluate their abilities with vain and, at the same time, whether or not they may have some disorder that is preventing their full development.

In case of delays or signs of neurological damage or behavioral dysfunction, one can very soon intervene and observe the response. These measures allow overcoming obstacles before the child reaches the school where everything is expected to be in order in their cognitive development, where the maturation of their competences will be much more required.

Reading and writing, for example, are skills that begin to form in the brain early on as primordial cognitive prerequisites such as spatiality and phonological awareness are stimulated. During childhood, they need to be observed and promoted in the child and their maturation should reach what is expected for the child’s age before beginning their literacy.


Now, we can talk about what is cognitive development that can be understood as:

“A process by which individuals acquire knowledge about the world throughout life.”

Acquiring knowledge about the world throughout life is tantamount to saying that we are subject to adaptation to the environment practically all the time. So it is not wrong to say that under normal conditions, we are developing cognitively every day as long as we live.

Entering into more remote lands, Jean Piaget was one of the earliest scholars concerned with studying the stages of child cognitive development. His interest was focused on researching which skills were linked at each stage of development. To determine these phases, his studies lasted for decades and his research subjects were his own children.

In short, Piaget’s interest was focused on the study of how organisms adapt to the environment, this adaptation being dependent on a “mature brain.” That is, the brain needed to be ready, developed enough to respond to the demands of the medium intelligently.

Although Piaget was recognized for his work, he was also criticized for poorly elaborated interpretations of his theory. Today we have more recent theoretical conceptions that complement his ideas and others that have taken a more opposite position. In fact, one of them understands that cognitive development does not occur in progressive phases as if B could only be developed if A had already been.

This more recent approach, which may be termed the “Biological Revolution”, considers that we humans are born with more innate abilities than was initially believed. An example that can illustrate this idea is that of the famous musician Mozart, who at the age of four was able to master his first musical composition in 30 minutes. Of course, Mozart was a child prodigy who learned music compositions at a rapid pace. However, we cannot disregard these new conceptions, which today have been dedicated to the study of perception and motor skills in babies in an attempt to understand the functioning of the mind.

Well, without taking any defensive posture from one side or the other, the purpose of this post was to make it fertile ground for a fundamental question (at least for me): what would be the main question to be answered by the study of development cognitive?

I would venture to say that specializes in the area of child cognitive development are primarily concerned with how cognition-related processes are structuring themselves in specific stages of development. However, talking about each one will give a lot of cloth for manga. I am satisfied and resign myself to suggestions, ideas, contributions or even discussions!


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