This research looked at how the environment affects the cognitive development of a growing child. Human beings are born with blank brains such that they come to the environment without knowing anything in the world. The place in which an individual is brought up affects the way that person develops psychologically and mentally. The research, therefore, looked at the contribution that the environment plays in the cognitive development of a child or an individual. We shall establish the different ways in which the environment affects the development of brains and cognition in individuals (Bergen, 2001).
The research tried to establish the correlation between the environment and the cognitive development of human beings. The variables in consideration for the study were; the environment and the cognitive development of a child. When these variables are put into consideration, having the environment as the independent variable and the cognitive development of a child as the dependent variable, we shall be able to see how they relate with one another (Huitt, 2003).
The environment is the physical condition of a place. The environment in this case refers to the situations or the people surrounding a person. When a child is growing the situation at home and the relationship between the child and the adults is what can be termed as the environment of growth for such a child. When a child is growing, the development of the brain is ever being modified and affected by the environment in which the child is growing in. when the brain a child is maturing, the environment plays a major role and affects the future functioning and development of the child. An example is when a child is neglected or even abused by the caretakers; this has the ability to affect the functioning of the child’s brain in the end and it also affects the cognitive development of such a child. When a child is young the environment is likely to highly affect the cognitive development of that child regarding the kind of experiences that that particular child experiences. The environment also affects brain development in that, lack of environmental stimulation during the early stages of life when the brain is developing can lead to a permanent breakdown in the abilities of the brain. This means that the cognitive capacities of a child such as learning language, memory, and so on will not develop and will be paralyzed (Kail, 2006).
Assessment of a child’s cognitive development is a kind of study that looks at the development of a child in terms of its psychology and the way it can learn languages, remember items learned, and also focuses on the brain development of young children. Piaget who came up with the cognitive development theory came up with the idea that children are born with schemes that helps them to interact and adapt to the environment. Piaget goes on to state that throughout the stages of a human being’s growth and development a child starts by developing the cognitive skills as they adapt to the environment through the use of continuous accumulation and complexity of reflections of the past and what they learn as time passes. Through this process, a child can assimilate and conform to the environment (Huitt, 2003).
The hypothesis of the study was, there is a direct or positive relationship between the environment in which a child grows and the cognitive development of a child. This is established so as to show the correlation between the environment in which a child grows and the effect it has on the cognitive development of the child (Bergen, 2001).
By employing a cross-sectional study we examine the relationship between the environment in which a child grows in and the cognitive development of that child at different stages of life. According to Jean Piaget who came up with the theory of cognitive development, “human beings are born and start to accumulate reflexes that help them in adapting to the environment and as a result in gaining the cognitive skills at different stages of life they start to adapt and relate well to the environment. This begins during the time a child is sucking. The development of the cognitive part of a child comprises of the process in which a child is able to acquire language so as to be able to solve out problems and even remember the content learned (Kail, 2006).
The population of the study comprised of children who are growing from different ages and from different backgrounds. The sample of the study comprised of junior school students from all cultural backgrounds. The research was carried out through a cross sectional study of different groups of children in their different set of ages right from birth when a child is still sucking to children who have already acquired the cognitive skills of language acquisition, memory and learning skills.
The research findings established that, those who play a role in a child up bringing become the determinants of the brain growth of the child. It was also found out that children with parents who taught them how to pronounce words right from when they were young, learnt how to speak early enough and vice versa. The children who were exposed to torture and child abuse when they were still young had problems in their brain development as they showed slowness in the growth of their cognitive skills. From the research it is clear that, the environment in which a child grows, right from the first relationship with the mother through sucking to the time he or she starts to go to school to learn and interacting with other people determines the way the child’s cognition develops (Huitt, 2003).
The study minimized all kinds of biases that could have occurred by ensuring that the children that participated in the study, given that they were of different ages and that they also came from different cultural backgrounds. The study considered the different cultural ways of raising children, even in cases where children are used as a source of labor to where the children are never punished for wrongs done.
Bergen, D. & Coscia, J. (2001). Brain research and childhood education: Implications for educators. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.
Huitt, W. & Hummel, J. (2003). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development: Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.
Kail, R. (2006). Children and their development. USA: Prentice Hall.