Cognitive development - Psychology

Cognitive Development

The central neoplasm of early childhood LS Vygotsky calls "the emergence of consciousness in the proper sense of the word", i.e. the emergence of the semantic and systemic structure of consciousness. Recall that under the systemic structure of consciousness LS Vygotsky understands the peculiar relationship to each other of individual functions that form a certain system. For early childhood, in his opinion, such a relationship of individual functions is characteristic, in which affectively colored perception becomes dominant, is in the center of the structure around which all other functions of consciousness work.

According to Vygotsky, all mental functions at this age develop "around perception, through perception and through perception."

Meanwhile, the perception itself is far from perfect: the child, perceiving an object, often distinguishes in him some one property, which then is oriented when recognizing the subject. This feature of perception is manifested, for example, in the indifference of the child to the spatial position of the perceived object or its image. Perception can be very inaccurate or its accuracy is limited by a small distance.


Children can not simultaneously perceive the object as a whole and its individual parts. Therefore, for example, they can lose mother in the store, unable to distinguish the face of the mother from a large number of persons (either attentively studying one person or beginning to randomly wander around the whole mass of people without noticing the details).

In some cases, as noted by VS Mukhin, a child may not notice any of the properties of an object at all, if their account is required for the performance of a complex, new action for the child. For example, having mastered the perception of color under the conditions of the action on the model, the child can not take color into account when a constructive task is proposed (the adult puts a red cube on the blue in front of the child and asks to do also).

The child's perception is affectively colored and closely related to practical actions: observable objects "attract" child, causing an emotional reaction and a desire to get them, something to do with them. With a variety of properties of objects (shape, size, color, etc.) the child gets acquainted in the process of practical actions: grasping, manipulating, correlating and instrumental actions. From the correlation, comparison of the properties of objects with the help of external orienting actions, the child gradually passes to the visual correlation of the properties of objects, i.e. passes, as VS Mukhina points out, to visual orientation. For example, selects the desired object by eye and performs the action right at the right time, without preliminary testing, or can make a visual choice on the model, when from two objects differing in size, shape or color, they can pick up exactly the same object as the adult shows. A three-year-old child learns the idea of ​​five or six forms (a circle, an oval, a square, a triangle, etc.) and eight primary colors, but the children learn their names with great difficulty and only with stubborn training by adults. The main difficulty of children of this age is the inability to separate the property from the object itself.

The memory of a child of early childhood has two specific characteristics. It is a) involuntary (the child is not yet able to control his memory: he does not remember himself, and "he is remembered", he does not remember himself, and "he is remembered") and b) directly (the child is not able to use any auxiliary tools for memorization). The predominant types of memory are motor and emotional.

During this period, the processes of preservation, recognition and playback are improved, the amount of memory is increased.

Attention basically has an involuntary character. Children from one to two years of age have different stability of involuntary attention depending on the characteristics of the stimulus: the more complex the stimulus or activity, the more focused the child's attention. At the same time, at this age, children have an arbitrary form of attention, which is observed in the visual search directed by the adult's verbal instruction (according to Rybalko's data, if this form is not available in 12 months, then in 23 months, it is inherent in 90% of children).

The child's thinking in this age period is visual-efficient. Since the child is dominated by perception, his thinking is limited by the visual situation and develops from practical activities, i.e. he solves all the problems facing him with the help of practical actions. The child acts with objects, manipulates them and thus grasps the connections between them.

From one year to two years of life there is a process of active experimentation by trial and error, the use by the child of various variations of an action. An important characteristic of the thinking activity of a child of this age period is the ability to broadly transfer the found method of solving the problem to new conditions. It is in this age period that there appears symbolic thinking (the sixth stage in the development of sensorimotor intelligence according to J. Piaget).


In the 18-24 months there is the ability to suddenly solve practical problems by the internal coordination of sensorimotor circuits, transfer, internalization of actions into the internal plan, as evidenced by the facts of delayed imitation of actions after the disappearance of the model from zero perception and symbolic games (for example, a child can pretending to be asleep at the sight of a pillow). As VS Mukhina writes, the sign function of consciousness: the child can act "as if", only denoting the action and substituting real objects with substitutes or imaginary symbols. For example, use a stick as a spoon or a cube as a cup; he no longer performs the action itself, but only stands for it, acts not with real objects, but with their substitutes.

Visual-figurative thinking (solving problems in the mind, as a result of internal actions with specimens of objects) is limited to a small range of the simplest tasks and only begins to be formed in this period. The functional generalizations that form in children have the form of images and are used in the process of visual-shaped solution of problems.

Based on the development of perception and thinking at an early age, there are elementary forms of imagination , such as anticipating and recreating, a representation of what the adult talks about or what is depicted in the figure.

In the development of cognitive processes in this age period, speech and practical activities of the child play an important role. The interaction of the child with the adult serves as a source of the formation of the child's language ability, his ability to speak and communicate through words.

Early childhood is a sensitive period for learning speech. Development of speech proceeds along two lines: the understanding of adult speech is improved and the child's own active speech is formed.

The main trends in the development of speech of an early child (LF Obukhova, EF Rybalko, R. Kyle, etc.):

1. Passive speech in development is ahead of the active: the child understands much more words than he can pronounce himself. First he understands the words-instructions, then the words-names, later comes the understanding of instructions and instructions, finally, the understanding of stories, and the stories related to the things surrounding the child and phenomena are more easily understood.

2. The phonemic rumor is ahead of the development of articulation: the child first learns to correctly hear the speech, and then correctly speak. The variety of forms of phonetic distortion (the loss of individual sounds, the substitution of one sound for others, the rearrangement of sounds in the word, the addition of superfluous sound, etc.) that occur throughout the early childhood testify to the great complexity of the process of forming the phonetic structure of the language.

3. The active speech of a child is actively developing. The child's autonomous speech quickly transforms and disappears. Unusual words in terms of sound and meaning are replaced by the words adult speech. By the age of three, the active dictionary reaches 1 - 1,5 thousand words. First, when children discover that a word can symbolize an object or an action, their vocabulary replenishes slowly: at 15 months they can learn two or three words a week. However, at the age of 18 months, many children have an lexical explosion during which they learn new words, especially the names of objects, much faster than before (9-10 or more words per week).


4. From the moment when the child reveals that each object has its own name, it reveals a pronounced initiative in the development of the vocabulary. There are questions: "What is this?", "Who is this?".

5. There appear sentences firstly consisting of two or three words, the so-called telegraphic speech. Most often, such sentences consist of the subject and his actions ("Mom comes"), or actions and objects ("Give a candy!", "I want a car!"), or actions and places of action ("Papa there").

6. On the border of the second and third years of life, the child intuitively reveals that the words in the sentence are interrelated, i.e. begins to absorb the grammatical structure of speech.


The famous Soviet teacher AN Gvozdev (1892-1959) identified two main periods:

first (1 year 3 months - 1 year 10 months) is characterized by the absence of grammatical structures and the use of individual words in unchanged form;

second (1 year 10 months - 3 years) is characterized by the beginning of an intensive formation of the grammatical structure of sentences, when words become dependent components of a sentence.

7. By the end of early childhood, the child possesses almost all the syntactic constructions that are in the language. In the speech of the child there are almost all parts of speech, different types of sentences.

8. At an early age the meanings of children's words develop. There is a transition from the multivaluedness of children's words to the first functional generalizations. Liberation of the word from the object as a result of transferring to other objects and images (ie, the naming of different objects by the same word, for example, "clock" - this is the wall clock, and mother's hand watch, and the alarm clock, and the clock depicted on picture) creates the possibility of designation and generalization: the word begins to act as the carrier of the subject content. If at first the child groups the objects according to the brightest external features, most often the color one, then he begins to isolate the most common and permanent attributes of the objects to be compared and denote them in one word.


In the process of transition from polysemy to functional generalizations, children can make two types of errors:

a) narrowing the value of (for example, for a child, the word "truck" can mean only its small red truck);

b) value extension ( truck - these are all vehicles), which is more common.

The ways and pace of speech development in children in early childhood are so diverse that it is wrong to talk about the existence of a single rigid program of mastering speech. According to psychologists, when a child under two years old has only two or three words in an active dictionary, this is not a cause for concern if he understands the speech of adults, listens to them with interest and learns the names of many things.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)