What are the Methods of Studying Cognitive Development?


Methods of studying cognitive development by Piaget, is a one-to-one verbal interactive, inquiry-oriented method. It is known as the clinical method.

Certain Mental:

operation task, in accordance with age and stage of development with supporting material, are prepared. To illustrate a typical Piaget task on probabilistic reasoning for a 14 year old student is as under:


Purpose of the Task:

Assessment of the child’s comprehension of probability. Materials: 95 one-inch wooden blocks of 4 different colours (35 red, 36 blue, 20 yellow and 4 green) a paper bag, a box.


First separate four colours. There after divide each colour group into half. Give one half to the child instructing him to put them in the paper bag or box.


Keep the other half in front of the child as a reference set. The teacher says to the student “I will put out two blocks out of the bag without looking at them. Could you guess the colour that will come out?” The procedure is continued till all the blocks are pulled out.

The teacher keeps asking the child. “Why do you think it will be red?” and so on. It is done for the assessment of the reasoning of the child. Note the justifications given and also note the strategy the child uses for predicting.

In between, the teacher uses counter suggestions such as, “transfer of tasks related to probabilistic reasoning are taken up in case the teacher thinks it certain the existence of cognition based on logic.

Criteria for Assessment,For the assessment of a specific level of reasoning, the student should be able to do the following-


1. To make the correct judgement.

2. To justify logically that judgement.

3. To resist successfully a counter-suggestion.

4. To provide a successful performance on a related task (Strauss 1972).


Factors Facilitating Cognitive Development

Factors facilitating cognitive are as under:

1. Internal readiness.

2. Environmental experiences.


3. Social experience.

4. Equilibration.

Piaget and other cognitivists such as wads worth, Flagella, Sullivan etc. put emphases on interactions and equilibration. The key to cognitive development as it relates to educational practice is the activity of the students, their actions on objects, events and other people.

Social interaction relates to cognition through interactive modes with people. Here a person learns about relationship, concepts e.g. competition, co-operation.

Cultural mores and practices, etc. Language in the medium of social experience. The language may be verbal non-verbal.

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