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Children's Thinking

Children's Thinking
Cognitive Development and Individual Differences

Sixth Edition

January 2017 | 720 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The Sixth Edition of the topically organized Children’s Thinking presents a current, comprehensive, and dynamic examination of cognitive development. The book covers individual children and their developmental journeys while also following the general paths of overall cognitive development in children. This unique and effective approach gives readers a holistic view of children’s cognitive development, acknowledging that while no two children are exactly alike, they tend to follow similar developmental patterns. Supported by the latest research studies and data, the Sixth Edition provides valuable insights for readers to better understand and work with children.


Chapter 1. Introduction to Cognitive Development
Basic Concepts in Cognitive Development

Six Truths of Cognitive Development

Goals of Cognitive Developmentalists

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 2. Biological Bases of Cognitive Development
Evolution and Cognitive Development

Models of Gene-Environment Interaction

Development of the Brain

Developmental Biology and Cognitive Development

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 3. Social Construction of Mind: Sociocultural Perspectives on Cognitive Development
Role of Culture in Cognitive Development

Cognitive Artifacts That Support and Extend Thinking: Tools of Intellectual Adaptation

Social Origins of Early Cognitive Competencies

Sociocultural Theory and Cognitive Development

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 4. Infant Perception and Cognition
Basic Perceptual Abilities of Young Infants

Methodologies Used to Assess Infant Perception

Development of Visual Perception

Auditory Development

Combining Senses

Perceptual Narrowing

How Do We Know What Babies Know? The Violation-of-Expectation Method

Core Knowledge

What Is Infant Cognition Made Of?

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 5. Thinking in Symbols: Development of Representation
Learning to Use Symbols

Piaget’s Theory

Everyday Expressions of the Symbolic Function

Causal Representation

Fuzzy-Trace Theory

The Symbolic Species

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 6. Development of Folk Knowledge
Theory Theories of Cognitive Development

Folk Psychology: Developing a Theory of Mind

Folk Biology: Understanding the Biological World

Folk Physics: Understanding the Physical World

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 7. Learning to Think on Their Own: Executive Function, Strategies, and Problem Solving
Assumptions of Information-Processing Approaches

Development of Basic-Level Processes: Executive Function

Development of Strategies

Learning to Solve Problems

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 8. Memory Development
Representation of Knowledge

Memory Development in Infancy

Infantile Amnesia

Implicit Memory

Development of Event Memory

Children as Eyewitnesses

Remembering to Remember

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 9. Language Development
What Is Language?

Describing Children’s Language Development

Some Theoretical Perspectives of Language Development

Bilingualism and Second-Language Learning

Sex Differences in Language Acquisition

Language and Thought

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 10. Social Cognition
Social Learning

Social Information Processing

Development of a Concept of Self

Cognitive Bases of Gender Identity

How Special Is Social Cognition?

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 11. Schooling and Cognitive Development
Development of Reading Skills

Children’s Number and Arithmetic Concepts

Schooling and Cognitive Development

Evolutionary Educational Psychology

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 12. Approaches to the Study of Intelligence
Psychometric Approach to the Study of Intelligence

Information-Processing Approaches to the Study of Intelligence

Sternberg’s Theory of Successful Intelligence

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings

Chapter 13. Origins, Modification, and Stability of Intellectual Differences
Transactional Approach to the Study of Intelligence

Behavioral Genetics and the Heritability of Intelligence

Experience and Intelligence

Stability of Intelligence

Key Terms and Concepts

Suggested Readings



Instructor's Resource Website

Calling all instructors!

It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site at for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources for the Sixth Edition of Children’s Thinking by David F. Bjorklund and Kayla B. Causey. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title!


Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:


  • Microsoft® Word® test bank with multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.

I enjoyed the flow of the chapters and the emphasis on evolutionary theory on cognitive development. It is a unique approach to the topic. I also enjoy the resources included.

Professor Seth David Corley
Psychology Dept, Texas Tech University
August 29, 2021
Key features


  • Integration of contemporary themes in cognitive development include the neoconstructivist approach, the Goldilocks effect, Bayesian probabilistic reasoning, “hot” and “cold” executive functioning, perceptual narrowing, and causal representation.
  • Expanded discussion of sociocultural perspectives in key areas includes gender cognition, language, and the effects of media on the development of attention.
  • More research from developmental cognitive neuroscience expands on a trend begun in earlier editions.
  • An evolutionary psychology perspective outlined in Chapter 2 is more prominent in appropriate chapters throughout the book.
  • Section Reviews throughout chapters have replaced end-of-chapter summaries to help readers review and retain the material more concisely.
  • Ask Yourself… questions consecutively numbered within a chapter after each Section Review engage students in reflection and critical thinking.
  • Topical organization emphasizes and integrates the three overarching perspectives that guide today’s researchers and practitioners of developmental psychology.   

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

Chapter 8

For instructors

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