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Cognitive Development

  1. James P. Byrnes

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0193

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Byrnes, J. P. 2010. Cognitive Development. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Temple University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The term cognitive development refers to age changes in the ability to acquire, manipulate, or reason about information in particular contexts. When the intellectual capacities of at least two age groups are compared and the oldest group has not yet reached middle age, changes in performance are usually for the better, in the sense that they reflect improvements of one kind or another (e.g., those in the older group recall more information; those in the older group draw more appropriate inferences). It is not possible to summarize all of the details of what is known about cognitive development in a single brief article. Readers interested in more comprehensive treatments should consult sources such as Byrnes (2008), Bjorklund (2004), or Siegler and Alibali (2004). In the present overview, some general age trends in the structural and functional aspects of cognition are presented in order to provide a sense of the kinds of important and influential changes that occur.