Infant cognitive development is the study of how psychological processes involved in thinking and knowing develop in young children. Information is acquired in a number of ways including through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and language, all of which require processing by our cognitive system. Scientific investigation in this field has its origin in the first half of the 20th century, an early and influential theory the development of the perception of the young child this field is Jean Piaget’s Theory of cognitive development. If one accepts that nothing is known until learned, and that everyone shares a basic common sense, it appears infants must—to some degree—make some specific ontological inferences about how the world works, and what kinds of things it contains.
Then, because we are also self-reflective creatures, we turn back on our commonsense assumptions and find them to be more puzzling and problematic than we had bargained for. The concepts we habitually employ raise the kinds of disturbing questions we call philosophical’. Through observations of children, Jean Piaget established a theory of cognitive development. According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development there are four stages of cognitive development.
Infant cognitive development occurs in the Sensorimotor stage which starts at birth and extends until the infant is about 2 years of age. The sensorimotor stage is made up of six sub-stages. Lev Vygotsky was also very influential in cognitive development theory. His theory included the Zone of proximal development. Vygotsky also believed that social and cultural factors contributed heavily to cognitive development.
Erik Erikson was a prominent developmental psychologist, who produced a psychoanalytical theory of psychosocial behaviour, showing 8 stages of development from infancy to adulthood. At each stage the individual is set with a potential conflict, and either success or failure at each point will go on to determine the outcome of the psychological state of the person. Development is typically considered to be something progressive, as we age we move from more simple to more complex structures or behaviours. This causes us to interpret early or immature forms of cognition as incomplete forms of the adult model. This does not always hold true.
Immature forms of development can serve some function of their own, as it adapts for the current environment of the infant. The development of memory in children becomes evident within the first 2 to 3 years of a child’s life as they show considerable advances in declarative memory. Research on the development of memory has indicated that declarative, or explicit memory, may exist in infants who are even younger than two years old. For example, newborns who are less than 3 days old demonstrate a preference for their mother’s own voice. The perception of causality was initially studied by Albert Michotte where he presented adults with animated images of moving balls.