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Cognitive Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months

Overview

Cognitive development is the process by which the brain forms the abilities to learn and remember.

This development follows a typical pattern in the first 12 months of life.

  • Between 1 and 2 months of age, infants become interested in new objects. They will turn their gaze toward them. They also gaze longer at more complex objects. They seem to thrive on novelty, as though trying to learn as much about the world as they can.
  • At around 3 months of age, infants are able to anticipate coming events. For example, they may pull up their knees when placed on a changing table. Or they may smile with gleeful anticipation when put in a front pack for an outing.
  • At around 4 months, babies develop keener vision. Babies' brains now are able to combine what the babies see with what they taste, hear, and feel (sensory integration). Infants wiggle their fingers, feel their fingers move, and see their fingers move. This adds to an infant's sense of being an individual.
  • Between 6 and 9 months of age, babies can easily recognize the look, sound, and touch of familiar people. They also can recall the memory of an object or a person, like a parent, when that person or object isn't there. This cognitive skill is called object permanence.
  • Around 9 to 12 months of age, babies observe others' behavior. During this time, they also start a discovery phase. They are good at searching drawers, cabinets, and other areas of interest. Your baby has more personality, becomes curious, and shows varied emotions.

Credits

Current as of: August 3, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics