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Intellectual Development
Dr.Balan Stephen

Biology and experience blend to produce learned behaviour.
Jean Piaget described four major stages leading to the capacity for adult thought.
Each stage is a prerequisite for the following one
But the rate at which different children move through different stages varies with their native endowment and environmental circumstances.

The four stages
1.    sensorimotor stage ( birth to 2 years)
2.    stage of preoperational thought ( 2 to 7 years)
3.    stage of concrete operations (7 to 11 years)
4.    Stage of formal operations (11 years through the end of adolescence).

Sensory Motor Stage ( Birth to 2 years)
Infants learn through sensory observations
They gain control of their motor functions through activity, exploration and manipulation of the environment.

Piaget divided this stage into six sub stages.
The critical achievement of this period is the development of object permanence or the schema of permanentobject.This phrase relates to a child's ability to understand that objects have an existence independent of the child's involvement with them. Infants learn to differentiate themselves from the world and are able to maintain a mental image of an object, even when it is not present and visible.
When an object is dropped in front of infants, they look down to the ground to search for the object. That is they behave for the first time as though the object has a reality outside them.

At about 18 months, infants begin to develop mental symbols and to use words, a process known as symbolization.Infants are able to create a visual image of a ball or a mental symbol of the word ball to stand for, or signify the real object.

The six sub stages are
Birth to 2 months
Uses inborn motor and sensory reflexes such as sucking, grasping, looking to interact and accommodate to the external world.
2 to 5 months
Primary circular reaction- - coordinates activities of own body and five senses 9e.g. Sucking thumb).
Reality remains subjective.
Does not seek stimuli outside of its visual field.Displays curiosity.
5 to 9 months
Secondary circular reaction.
Seeks out new stimuli in the environment.
Starts both to anticipate consequences of own behaviour and to act purposefully to change the environment
Beginning of intentional behaviour.
9 months to 1 year
Use of familiar means to obtain ends.
Shows preliminary signs of object permanence.
Has a vague concept that objects exists apart from itself.
Imitates novel behaviour.
1 year to 18 months
Tertiary circular reaction
Seeks out new experience.
Produces novel behaviours.
18 months to 2 years
Symbolic thought; sees symbolic representations of events and objects.
Shows signs of reasoning. E.g. uses one toy to reach for and to get another.
Attains insight and object permanence.

Stage of Preoperational Thought (2 - 7 years)
Children use symbols and language more extensively than in the sensorimotor stage.
Thinking and reasoning are intuitive.
Children learn without the use of reasoning.
They are unable to think logically or deductively, and their concepts are primitive.
They can name objects, but not classes of objects.Events are not linked by logic.
Children in this developmental stage are egocentric.
They see themselves as the centre of universe.
They have limited point of view.
Unable to take the role or understand the role of others.
Deferred imitation, symbolic play, graphic imagery (drawing), mental imagery, and language development.

Stage of Concrete Operations (7 - 11 years)
Children act on the concrete, real, and perceivable world of objects and events.  
Egocentric thought is replaced by operational thought, which deals with an array of information outside the child.
Can see things from someone else's perspective.
Syllogistic reasoning, in which a logical conclusion is formed from two premises. For example, all horses are mammals (premise); all mammals are warm blooded (premise); all horses are warm blooded. (Conclusion).
Conservation of quantity, weight, volume, length, and time based on reversibility by inversion or reciprocity; operations; class inclusion and seriation.

Stage of Formal  Operation(11 Yars through the end of Adolescence)
Develops the ability to think abstractly, to reason deductively, and to define concepts.
Acquires skills for dealing with permutation and combination.
Can grasp the concept of probabilities.
Hypothetico deductive thinking starts: The highest organization of cognition enables persons to make a hypothesis or propositions and to test it against reality.
Deductive reasoning moves from the general to the particular and is a more complicated process than inductive reasoning which moves from the particular to the general.

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