8 Cognitive Development in Childhood

A Contemporary Perspective

Developmental Psychology


  1. David Henry Feldman

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop206008

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Feldman, D. H. 2012. Cognitive Development in Childhood. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 6:III:8.

Author Information

  1. Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Medford, Massachusetts, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


In more than half a century of history, the field of cognitive development has been marked by several revolutionary influences that helped establish it as a distinct specialty. The cognitive revolution, the revolution in language acquisition, and the Piagetian revolution were the most powerful early influences. As the field evolved, Neo-Piagetians and sociocultural perspectives balanced the focus on individual development with contextual and educational contributions. Toward the end of the last century, efforts at integration of individual and context, biology and culture, and universal and nonuniversal development were the focus of the field. Vygotsky's sociocultural framework with its emphasis on guidance and participation was particularly influential. In recent decades, emerging trends in comparative studies with primates, dynamic systems frameworks that are grounded in biology, and brain research have invigorated and extended the field of cognitive development in children into new areas.


  • Piaget;
  • Vygotsky;
  • nonuniversal domains;
  • dynamic systems;
  • brain research