Cognitive Changes in Childhood and Adolescence

Topic: Cognitive Psychology
Words: 412 Pages: 1


Growing up is a long process of changing perceptions of self, friends, reality, and society. They were noted by Piaget, who distinguished four stages of cognitive transformations. The concrete and formal stages are the most important because they affect the underlying changes, which include personal fables, idealism, and criticism, erroneous decisions. Not every aspect is equally important because as science has evolved, there has been more room for research.

Piaget’s description of the Concrete Operational Stage

The most significant aspects of Piaget’s description of the concrete operant child are retention, classification, and reversibility. They allow making rules concerning the physical objects of the environment. The transitivity and seriality stages are less likely to elicit agreement because they do not require teacher involvement (Bornert-Ringleb & Wilbert, 2018). The strategies children employ in these aspects show impressive results that do not meet the general criteria of Piaget’s theory. The deductive and problem-solving aspects at the formal-operational stage are worth the most attention. These are critically necessary for adolescence for independence and thinking. They mediate a child’s overall formation, while hypothetical-deductive reasoning is worth taking cautiously (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). Children question what, if, and how, but this begins in early childhood and should be addressed throughout adulthood.

Adolescent Cognitive Changes

The changes that occur during adolescence come with developmental risks, but there are also many positives. For example, through personal fables, the child can recognize personal uniqueness and appreciate value as an individual. Idealism and criticism are complex changes, but they are necessary for a healthy self-image (Berk, 2021). Adolescents make poor decisions, but they should understand the value of their actions and consequences. In personal experience, wrong decisions have happened for every child (Berk, 2021). For example, for me, it was the decision not to wish a friend a happy birthday due to a little argument: it led to more fighting, which I regretted for a long time. I advise teens to be honest with them and weigh each thought, trying to consider it from all angles.


Concrete and formal operant stages are vital for the child. The concrete stage reveals features of physical conformity of the world to the child’s expectations through classification, preservation, and reversibility, with transitivity being less critical. In the formal stage, deductive and problem-solving aspects should be paid attention to. Hypothetical-deductive processes are critical, but they are not a feature of the stage. Finally, the cognitive changes occurring in adolescents are equally important, despite the risks.


Berk, L. E. (2021). Infants, children, and adolescents. (9th eds.). Pearson.

Bornert-Ringleb, M., & Wilbert, J. (2018). The association of strategy use and concrete-operational thinking in primary school. Frontiers in Education. Web.

Lally, M., & Valentine-French, S. (2019). Lifespan development: A psychological perspective. Creative Commons.

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