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Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

2. The Sensorimotor Stage

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About this Lecture


In this module, we discuss the first element of Piaget’s stage theory: the sensorimotor stage (0-2 years). We think about this stage of cognitive development as one that is characterised by the inability to form a concept of the world outside of one’s own sensations and perceptions and explore how this type of thinking can be tested in young children. In particular, we focus on the baby’s lack of ‘object permanence’ (i.e. the ability to keep an object in mind once it has been hidden from view) and how Piaget investigated the development of this cognitive skill through different search tasks, including the A-not-B task and the invisible displacement task.


In this course, Dr Richard O’Connor (University of Hull) discusses Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. We begin, in module one, by getting to grips with the key concepts of Piaget’s theory, including his proposed stages of cognitive development, before moving on to discuss each stage in turn. Module two looks at the sensorimotor stage, module three considers the pre-operational stage and module four examines the stages of concrete and formal operations. Finally, in module five, we think about the crucial influence Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has had and continues to have on later research in the field of developmental psychology.


Dr Richard O'Connor is a cognitive developmental psychologist with research interests in cognition from infancy through to adulthood.

Particular areas of interest include theory of mind, representation of objects and actions, and word learning.

Dr O'Connor joined the University of Hull in August 2016, after completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge and teaching positions at Royal Holloway and the University of Oxford.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Connor, R. (2019, September 27). Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development - The Sensorimotor Stage [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Connor, Richard. "Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development – The Sensorimotor Stage." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

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