Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Piaget’s Sensorimotor Period

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2578



The sensorimotor period refers to the earliest stage (birth to 2 years) in Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. This stage is characterized as the period of a child’s life when learning occurs through a child’s sensory and motor interactions with the physical environment. These interactions are known as circular reactions and are a means of building schemes in which infants try to repeat a chance event caused by their own motor activity [1]. Piaget separated his sensorimotor period into six sensorimotor substages: reflexive schemes, primary circular reactions, secondary circular reactions, coordination of secondary circular reactions, tertiary circular reactions, and mental representations [1, 2, 3, 4].


Reflexive schemes is the substage that occurs from birth to 1 month of age and is a period of development in which newborns automatically respond to particular forms of stimulation [1, 4]....

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    Berk, L. E. (2004). Development throughout the lifespan (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
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    Flavell, J. H., Miller, P. H., & Miller, S. A. (1993). Cognitive development (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
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    Meadows, S. (1993). The child as thinker: The development and acquisition of cognition in childhood. New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.Google Scholar
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    Piaget, J. (1963). The origins of intelligence in children (M. Cook, Trans.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (Original work published 1952).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Psychology ProgramArgosy University/AtlantaAtlantaUSA