Cognitive development

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In the meantime, check other articles in the category Learning_theories


Fischer's dynamic skills

According to Fischer, 2008:132), “Cognitive development moves through ten levels between 4 months of age and early adulthood. The levels from childhood to adulthood, which are most relevant for education, are summarized in [the table below].”

Developmental levels during the school years: optimal & functional (Fischer, 2008)
Level Optimal (years) Functional (years)
Rp1 Single Representations 2 2-5
Rp2 Representational Mappings 4 4-8
Rp3 Representational Systems 6 7-12
Rp4/Ab1 Single Abstractions 10 12-20
Ab2 Abstract Mappings 15 17 to 30
Ab3 Abstract Systems 20 23-40, or never for many domains
Ab4/P Single Principles 25 30-45, or never for many domains

Spurts and drops in performance that occur for optimal performance at specific ages

Cyclical spurts for cognitive development under optimal conditions (Fischer, 2008)

“Three adult levels (levels 10, 11, and 12) correspond to the abstract mappings (10), abstract systems (11), and single principles (12) levels of Fischer’s (1980 and 2006) dynamic skill scale” (Dawson and Heikkinen, 2009)

The Developmental spiral in 11 stages (Dawson & Heikkinen, 2009)

Fischers skill levels can be mapped to other work.

The relation between Fischer’s skill levels and the levels of other longitudinally validated systems. (Dawson & Heikkinen, 2009)


Wikipedia links


  • Theo Dawson and Katie Heikkinen (2009). Identifying within-level differences in leadership decision making, Integral Leadership Review, Volume IX, No. 5 - October 2009. HTML
  • Fischer, Kurt W. and Samuel P. Rose (1998). Growth Cycles of Brain and Mind, Educational Leadership (How the Brain Learns), Volume 56 | Number 3, Pages 56-60
  • Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R. (1997). Dynamic development of psychological structures in action and thought. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.) & W. Damon (Series Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol 1. Theoretical models of human development (5th ed., pp. 467–561). New York: Wiley.
  • S. Morra, C. Gobbo, Z. Marini, and R. Sheese, Cognitive Development: Neo-piagetian Perspectives. Psychology Press, 2007.
  • van Geert, P. (in press). A dynamic systems model of basic developmental mechanisms: Piaget, Vygotsky, and beyond. Psychological Review.--------

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