According to the Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, the Sensorimotor stage occupies the period from birth to about 18 to 24 months.
For a better definition, Piaget divided cognitive development into 4 stages – making sensorimotor stage, the first stage of cognitive development.
Sensorimotor stage covers the first two years of an infant life.
Piaget named this the sensorimotor stage because, the early manifestations / signs of intelligence appear from sensory perception and motor activities.
During this stage – infants are busy finding the relationships between their bodies and the environment.
Piaget further divided it into a number of substages. During the first month or so, the newborn infant exercises his sensorimotor schemas, by sucking, wiggling, gazing, breathing, waving hands and legs and much more.
Recent studies show that infants have well developed sensory abilities, which help them learn things about themselves and the environment.
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Still at Piaget’s substages of sensorimotor stage. Now, in the second phase – Infants begin to combine their schemas i.e. they combine and perform certain tasks simultaneously.
In this substage which lasts up to 4 months, simultaneously, Infants suck, grasp and turn head to follow moving objects.
Infants only react to stimuli at the first and second substages. Now at the third substage – infant begins to initiate involvement.
In this substage, infants develop notion of displacement and event: this enable them to realize that an object can be moved by kicking.
The forth stage runs from about eight or nine months of age to eleven to twelve months, the infants coordinate the secondary schemas developed in the third substage.
The infants begin to develop the concept of ‘Object Permanence’ i.e. the ability to know that an object continues to exist it’s not in view – when the object is hidden.
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With this, the infants develop another concept named ‘directed groping’ – this enables the child to use new means to achieve same result e.g pulling or kicking object with the aid of stick.
In this substage of the sensorimotor stage, objects and environment are explored and used. This makes the child able to locomote, and face other substages and stages in cognitive development.