Stage Theories of Development

In Developmental Psychology, stages are a series of abrupt changes from one period to another. Through these stages all children must pass in the same order. Some of the most famous developmental stage theories are:   Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Kohlberg’s Stages of moral development and Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
Piaget justified four stages of cognitive development. He theorized that people pass from one stage to another only when they are confronted with the correct type of stimulation to initiate a change. According to Piaget, the four stages of cognitive development are the sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years), the preoperational stage (2 - 7 years), the concrete operational stage (7 - 12 years) and formal operational stage (12 – adulthood).
During the sensorimotor stage the infant begins to develop motor skills and has the ability to conceive of things existing outside of its immediate vicinity (object permanence). The infant experiences the world in sensory information and motor activities.
In the next stage, the preoperational stage, children begin to use language and other representational systems. The chief marker of this stage is egocentric thought, as Piaget called it.   Preoperational children can conceive of things that are not present, but they cannot conceive of others perceiving what they can not.
During the concrete operational stage, children begin to develop clearer methods of thinking and they start to overcome the egocentrism of the preoperational stage. They begin to better understand spatial relationships and matters of time, but they are largely bound by the concrete world and have trouble conceiving abstract thought.
At the formal operational stage, people develop the ability to think logically and systematically and to understand abstractions and the concepts of casuality of choice. They see that outcomes can proceed from different actions and that they are...