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Frogs and Cognitive Development



"Dasa Avatar" an Abhinaya (story telling) dance in the Odissi style performed by Asako Takami at the Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco on February 21, 1998.


Frog and Cognitive Development

The development from tadpole to frog exemplifies the concepts of development and evolution. Even though the development from tadpole to frog is continuous, it is normal and helpful to distinguish at least two stages, i.e., tadpole and frog. One could, just as well, distinguish more stages, e.g., tadpoles with legs and frogs with tails. The basic utility of a stage "theory" of development is to identify qualitatively distinguishable milestones in development.



Stages of Cognitive Development

Human cognitive development, i.e., the development of knowledge structures, like frog development can be divided into stages despite being essentially continuous. Jean Piaget has identified the following sequence of stages in cognitive development: the sensori-motor stage, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage. The number and characterization of the stages can vary, just as the number and characterization of frog stages can vary. Piaget's basic point is that cognitive development is not simply a matter of accumulating knowledge or simply the exercise of pre-existing structures.



Next Stage of Cognitive Development

Piaget's description of cognitive development essentially stops with the attainment of formal operations. In a sense, this was inevitable, since he was seeking to determine the genesis of formal operations. We can still ponder whether the process of development that led to formal operations terminates for some reason at that stage, or whether it continues beyond formal operations. The answer proposed herein is "yes".



















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