ImageCognitivism is the study in psychology that focuses on mental processes, including how people perceive, think, remember, learn, solve problems, and direct their attention to one stimulus rather than another. Psychologists working from a cognitive perspective, then, seek to understand cognition. Rooted in Gestalt psychology and the work of Jean Piaget, cognitivism has been prominent in psychology since the 1960s; it contrasts with behaviorism, where psychologists concentrate their studies on observable behavior. Contemporary research often links cognitivism to the view that people process information as computers do, according to specific rules; in this way, it is related to studies in artificial intelligence. In addition, cognitivism has influenced education, as studies of how people learn potentially sheds light on how to teach most effectively.

            As an psychology of learning which point out human cognition or intelligence as a special gift to form hypotheses and develop intellectually (Cognitivism), it is also known as cognitive development. The underlying concepts of cognitivism involve how to think and gain knowledge. Cognitivism involves examining learning, memory, problem solving skills, and intelligence. Cognitive theorists may want to understand how problem solving changes throughout childhood, how cultural differences affect the way to view on own academic achievements, language development, and much more.

         Image   Revolution of cognitive in psychology is to response to Behaviorism. Behaviorism was dominantly in schools at that time. This school was influ­enced by Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, and other physiologists. They proposed that psychology could only become an objective science if it is based on observable behavior in test subjects. Since mental events are not publicly observable, behaviourist psychologists avoided description of mental processes or the mind in their literature.

Cognitive Psychology focuses on the study of how people think, understand, and know. They underline on learning how people realize and indicate the outside world within them and how to think about influence the behavior.

            The interesting of cognitive psychologists as central issues includes the internal mechanism of human opinion and the understanding processes. Cognitive psychologists have tried to find out the answers to mental structures, such as what is supplied and how it is supplied, and to mental processes concerning how to operate the combination and information recovery. The theoretical assumptions in cognitive psychology gives instructional systems in the efficient processing design strategies for the learners to acquire knowledge, for example: mnemonic methods to reduce the workload of the short-term memory, rehearsal strategies to maintain information, and the metaphors used and analogies to relate meaning from new information to prior knowledge.


            Many ideas and hypothesis of cognitivism can be found back to the early decades of the twentieth century. Of all theories, Jean Piaget’s theories from Switzerland are the ones that have provided psychology with much developmental changes in cognitive abilities.

            Cognitive structuralism was founded by Jean Piaget(1896-1980) and other cognitive psychologists. Where social constructivism was founded by Vygotsky(1896-1934). There are several opinions related to cognitive structuralism according to psychologists

            Jean Piaget was one of the most influential cognitive psychologists. He was a student of biology and zoology and he learnt that survival needs adaptation. So, he analysed the development of human cognition, or intelligence, as the continual struggle of a very complex organism trying to adapt in a very complex environment. Agreement to Piaget´s theory, human development can be outlined in terms of functions and cognitive structures. The functions are inborn biological processes that are identical for everyone, and stay unchanged the whole time of our lives. The purpose of these functions is to construct internal cognitive structures. The structures change repeatedly as the child grows.

            Piaget stressed on two main functions. The first is organisation (or equilibrium). Organisation mentions the fact that all cognitive structures are connected and any new knowledge must be fitted into the existing system. It is the need to combine the new information, rather than adding them on, that strength of cognitive structure to become more elaborate.

  • The first stage is the sensorimotor, (0-2year). Until about four months of age, the babies or children can’t differentiate themselves from the environment. Step by step, they learn to differentiate people from objects by their perception. Sensorimotor is learnt the children by touching object, manipulating them and exploring the environment physically. By the end of this stage the children understand that its environment has differentiated.
  • The next stage is called the pre-operational (2years-7years). This is the stage when the children gain a mastery of a language and become able to use words to represent objects and images in a symbolic fashion. Piaget labelled this stage pre-operational because children are not yet able to use their developing mental capabilities systematically. At this stage children are egocentric, which means that the children have the movement to understand the world exclusively with its own position. The children have not understood yet, for an example, that others see things and objects from a different perspective from their own. During this phase of development the children have no general understanding of categories of thought that adults take for granted, ideas such as fundamental, speed, weight or number.
  • The third stage is the concrete operational period (7years-11years). During this period, children are mastery of abstract or logical concept. They can handle ideas such as causality without much difficulty, and they are fit to bring the mathematical operations of multiplying, dividing and subtracting. By this stage children are much less egocentric.
  • The fourth stage is called the formal operational period (11+). During teens, the developing children become able to understand abstract and hypothetical concepts highly. When faced with a problem, children at this stage should be able to review all possible ways to solve the problem and go finishing them in order to reach a solution theoretically.

            According to Piaget, the first three stages of development are general, but not all adults come to the formal operational stage. The development of formal operational concept replaces in part on the process of schooling.

            Another psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, had another view on cognitive development. He believed that learning was delivered from generation to generation. That it was a result of guided social interactions in which children did with their peers and a mentor to solve problems. And cognitive development could only be understood if children took cultural and social context into account. He believed that children were unable to think until they knew and understood a language. Vygotsky came up with the Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD, which he labeled the difference between the developmental level of a child and it’s could reach with the right amount of guidance. He called this guidance Scaffolding. And he believed that teachers should bring up learning, independence, and growth among students.



  In a classroom environment, there are many variables that influence and contribute to learning. When creating and implementing a learning environment, it is very important that the teachers not only create a setting that promotes learning, but also take the time to understand each child.

  Classrooms are widely various and complex behavior or characteristics each student. Students learn and accept the knowledge differently each other at various developmental levels. Teachers who properly manage their classrooms and set up the expectations will be able to add in different teaching philosophies and to create an excellent learning environment for each student. It is important that teachers create a learning environment that support students to do their best and makes learning interesting. This creates a motivational climate within the classroom.

  There are two factors that are critical to motivate students, value and effort. In Classroom Management, Students must understand the work that they are performing is worthwhile. Value measures the importance of a student’s work to himself and others. Effort is the quantity of time and energy of the students to put into their work. Understanding the value of academic tasks and the effort needed to complete those tasks. It can motivate students to perform better in the classroom environment of classroom management.

Examples of Cognitive Games in the Classroom

    Cognitive games are designed to help stimulate, influence cognitive learning, reflexes, learn different patterns of association, promote critical thinking to the brain. Those are helpful when used to learn a foreign language and memorize new material. Various learning techniques are used in the classroom because there are various learning styles. Examples of cognitive games include:

  • Educational Websites and Computer Games
  • Flash Cards
  • Board Games
  • Puzzles




Berryman, S. E. 2012. Designing Effective Learning Environments: Cognitive Apprenticeship Models. Available at: psychology /cognitivism/index.htm. [online at 10/18/2012]

Suharno. 2012. Cognitivism and Its Implication in the Second Language Learning. Available at [online at 10/18/2012] 412 readings/cognitive theory and design solutions.pdf’s_Constructivism

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