Cognitive Development during Middle Childhood

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Concrete-Operational Period

The concrete operational period is the third stage in the theory of cognitive development. This period covers the time of middle childhood—it starts around age 7 and continues until about age 11 and is characterized by the development of logic. Although a child’s thinking is relatively steady, they become more advanced with their thinking ability during this stage.

Even though this stage is important, it is a transition between earlier stages and the next stage where children will learn to thinking theoretically. While kids at this age become more logical about certain things, they still struggle with philosophical ideas. It was determined by Piaget that children in the concrete operational stage excelled in using inductive logic. Inductive logic is a logic of evidential support. An example of inductive logic would be noticing that every time you are around a cat, you have itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a swollen throat. You might then reason from that experience that you are allergic to cats.

Formal-Operational Period

The formal operational stage is the fourth and final stage of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. It commences at the age of 12 all the way until adulthood. At this stage in development, children have become more intellectually advanced. Kids can think about hypothetical concepts and are able to execute problem solving. Example: From Neil J. Salkind, Ph.D., author of An Introduction to Theories of Human Development: 'The formal operational thinker has the ability to consider many different solutions to a problem before acting. This greatly increases efficiency, because the individual can avoid potentially unsuccessful attempts at solving a problem. The formal operational person considers past experiences, present demands, and future consequences in attempting to maximize the success of his or her adaptation to the world.'

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

This theory suggests that traditional psychometric views of intelligence are too limited. Gardner first outlined his theory in his 1983 book 'Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,' where he suggested that all people have different kinds of 'intelligences.' Gardner proposed that there are eight intelligences and has suggested the possible addition of a ninth known as 'existentialist intelligence.'

The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

The triarchic theory of intelligence consists of three aspects of intelligence: Analytic skills, such as the ability to think abstractly and evaluate information; Creativity, the ability to invent novel solutions or ideas; and Practical skills, which enable one to cope with concrete situations. Sternberg believed that intelligent tests often wrongly ignored creativity and practical skills. 

Factors that Influence Intelligence


· Twin studies suggest that identical twins IQ's are more similar than those of fraternal twins. In other words, because identical twins are identical genetically, they should have virtually identical test scores, which would be a correlation of 1.

· Siblings reared together in the same home have IQ's that are more similar than those of adopted children raised together in the same environment.


· Children do have greater IQ scores when the family environment is intellectually stimulating—when parents talk more frequently to the children; when they provide their children with cognitive challenging materials such as puzzles and books.

· Intervention programs that prepare economically disadvantaged children for school. When children grow up in never-ending poverty, the cycle is predictable and tragic: Youngsters have few of the intellectual skills needed to succeed in school, so they fail; lacking an education, they find minimal jobs, and this practically guarantees that their children, too, will grow up in poverty.

I honestly believe that both genetics and environmental factors have a great impact on intelligence. It is my opinion that they are both necessary in the development of young children. If genetics were the primary factor of intelligence, then environmental factors would become irrelevant. Yes, we inherit intelligence from genetics, but the environmental aspect is needed to complete cognitive development.

Pros and Cons of the integrated classroom.

· Pros- Your child will be taught the same curriculum as their peers and have the same academic advantages offered to them, which they may not be given in a special education classroom. Integrated classrooms teach children with autism how to learn in a standard classroom environment, often with the help of a behavioral aide so that they do not fall behind with the workload. Learning in this environment from an early age means that students will adapt well to higher education classrooms, so they can go on to pursue a university/college degree.

· Cons- Special needs students may have a difficult time keeping up with the curriculum, or alternatively, become bored with the curriculum if they are not being challenge adequately. This can cause your child to become frustrated and possibly disruptive in the class, which can slow the pace of the curriculum for the entire class. Integrated classrooms may also mean a larger class size where the teacher may not have the time available to offer your child the individualized attention they may need to succeed. Additionally, regular education teachers may not be fully equipped or properly trained to handle a child with autism’s specific needs, which can hinder your child’s education.

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Cognitive Development During Middle Childhood. (2021, Apr 09). Retrieved November 30, 2023 , from

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