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Stages of Intellectual Development

Your research paper may foloow the following outline: Psychiatrists recognize that intellectual development is a process that individuals undergo throughout their lifetime. Therefore, many thinkers have developed systems of various stages of intellectual development. The most famous and recognizable are the theories of Jean Piaget.

Stages of Intellectual Development

He divided cognitive development into Piaget's four stages.

  1. Sensorimotor
  2. Pre-operational
  3. Concrete Operational
  4. Formal Operational

The first stage of development, sensorimotor, takes place between birth and the age of two. In this stage, the individual sorts out information based on association of the senses (hearing or touch) and the physical reaction the infant can control. Jean Piaget held that the attainment of object permanence was the end result of the sensorimotor stage.

Intellectual Development and Piaget

Piaget’s second stage is the pre-operational stage, which occurs between the ages of two and six. During this stage, humans are still entirely egocentric, in that they cannot see things from different perspectives nor can they distinguish between reality and magic.

The third stage is the concrete operational stage, occupying development between the ages of 6 or 7 and 12. Here, people begin to understand alternative perspectives and begin to use logic in order to solve problems. Inductive reasoning is also developed in this stage.

Not everyone reaches the intellectual level of Piaget’s final stage. This fourth and final stage is known as formal operational, and those individuals who are able to obtain this level of higher thinking. This stage of development occurs in adolescence, or people over 12. Abstract and logical thinking become second nature and people are able to use deductive reasoning.

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