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Understanding Cognitive Development

Understanding Cognitive Development

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March 2015 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Understanding Cognitive Development provides a fresh, evidence-based research perspective on the story of children’s cognitive development in the first ten years of human life.

Starting with a brief survey of the key theoretical positions that have come to define developmental psychology, the textbook then focuses on the different cognitive abilities as they emerge throughout early development. Uniquely, it examines these in terms of their interdependence; that is how skills such as perception, memory, language and reasoning relate to one another. This holistic treatment allows students to see the many important intersections in this critical phase of human life development.

This textbook employs a novel design that will be of immense help to both students and instructors and is intended to be read at two levels: at the first level, it provides a fully referenced explanatory account of experimental research on cognitive development with complete attention to the needs of students who have never been exposed to experimental methodology nor studies in cognitive development before.

At the second level, and mapped directly onto numbered sub-sections within the text, the author uses illustrative panels designed along the lines of PowerPoint presentations to summarise studies and key findings, employing lots of pictorial material together with bullet-points to give vividness and texture to the material covered. These panels are replicated on the accompanying companion website in PowerPoint for lecturers and students to make further use of in teaching and revision.  Revision points are provided at the end of every chapter.

Rich in academic coverage, including a widespread database of the most important empirical research in the field, this textbook will be essential reading for students of cognitive development and developmental psychology across psychology and education.

Introduction: Studying how the mind grows
Sensory development and visual perception during early infancy
Perceptual development during the first year: the multisensory infant
Sensorimotor development in infancy: gaining control in a physical environment
Sensorimotor development in infancy: the elements of social interaction
The emergence of speech
The acquisition of word meanings and the dawn of phrase speech
The emergence of sentence structure
Learning grammar
Perceptual development after infancy
Perceptual development and recognition memory
Memory for scenes, routes and events
Understanding and reasoning about categories
Understanding and reasoning about time and space
Representing other minds and the development of symbolic thought
Symbolic reasoning and logicomathematical thinking


Companion website
The companion website for Understanding Cognitive Development provides both videos containing examples of the behaviours outlined in the panels featured in the book, and Powerpoint slides containing panels and illustrative material from the book which can be easily pasted into teaching slides.

This textbook is a pleasure to read. It covers all you need to know about cognitive development. It tells you about recent research of such important mental functions as perception, language, memory, social communication and symbolic thought - from birth to ten years. The beauty of the book is that it is designed to act as a faithful companion to teachers and students striving to explain, understand, report and revise. By providing a clear structure and a coherent theoretical background McGonigle-Chalmers makes the fine-grained detail of experiments exceptionally intelligible.

Uta Frith

Maggie McGonigle-Chalmers has written a compelling introduction to cognitive development. It will appeal to students and teachers alike – for its incisive writing, its judicious choice of empirical findings, its thoughtful organization, and its wealth of visual materials.

Paul L. Harris
Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education, Harvard University

McGonigle-Chalmers book is a thorough and well written text that comprehensively discusses every aspect of cognitive development from birth to adulthood. It follows Piagets theory throughout, adding boxes containing learning landmarks that guide the reader as to what they will be understanding by the end of the chapter. It is a valuable resource that covers one major theory of cognitive development in depth that allows the reader to fully understand the concepts discussed. This text is good for those students that want to fully understand every aspect of this theory in full. It is actually pleasantly easy to read despite its depth and the expertise contained within so will suit students of all abilities.

Mrs lesley parsons
Education , Petroc
May 28, 2016

Interesting, well written, updated, with current research findings. The topics are presented in a clear and logical structure.

Dr Marianna Papadopoulou
Education & Community Studies, Greenwich University
March 10, 2015

The book is clearly written, easy to read and provides a good balance of information for understanding the importance of normal cognitive development. Plenty of scope for reflections in each chapter. The book deserves to be read thoroughly to fully appreciate the enormous development children's cognition goes through from birth to 10 years of age.

Ms Jan Seabourne
Education and Training , Dyslexia Action
June 29, 2015

A good book for students studying early childhood studies and/or other permutations of human development. The inclusion of a companion website with its links to video clips and PowerPoint slides make this a very useful resource

Mrs Tracey Herbert
University Centre, Petroc
August 1, 2015

forms a good foundation for understanding cognitive psychology

Mr Benjamin Mavesere
Theory of Education, Mkoba Teachers' College
August 17, 2015

Although interesting, this book did not fit the needs of the unit.

Mrs Kathryn Nethercott
Department of Education, Bedfordshire University
June 17, 2015

Essential reading for students of the subject - provides important general information as well as effective learning opportunities

Miss Marie Sayers
Teacher Education, Greenwich Community College
May 14, 2015

This book is essential for the level 3 EYE course as it has all the relevant information related to observing children in an early years setting. The book is designed at a good level and links made to EYFS very well.

Mrs Kerry Clayton
Childcare, The Maltings College
May 14, 2015

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