Cognitive Development (COGNITIVE DEV )

Publisher: Jean Piaget Society, Elsevier


Cognitive Development contains the very best empirical and theoretical work on the development of perception, memory, language, concepts, thinking, problem solving, metacognition, and social cognition. Criteria for acceptance of articles will be: significance of the work to issues of current interest, substance of the argument, and clarity of expression. For purposes of publication in Cognitive Development, moral and social development will be considered part of cognitive development when they are related to the development of knowledge or thought processes. The Publisher and new Editor are resolute in their determination to maintain and enhance the reputation of Cognitive Development as a leading journal in the field, publishing papers of high quality in an expeditious manner (and in due course embracing the new electronic technologies). They remain committed to serving the best interest of the community of researchers, readers, and subscribers who have helped make the journal the success it is, and to increasing the value of Cognitive Development to those who work in the field in the future.

Impact factor 1.73

  • 5-year impact
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  • Immediacy index
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  • Website
    Cognitive Development website
  • Other titles
    Cognitive development
  • ISSN
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  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Pre-print allowed on any website or open access repository
    • Voluntary deposit by author of authors post-print allowed on authors' personal website, or institutions open scholarly website including Institutional Repository, without embargo, where there is not a policy or mandate
    • Deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate only allowed where separate agreement between repository and the publisher exists.
    • Permitted deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate, may be required to comply with embargo periods of 12 months to 48 months .
    • Set statement to accompany deposit
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to journal home page or articles' DOI
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • NIH Authors articles will be submitted to PubMed Central after 12 months
    • Publisher last contacted on 18/10/2013
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • Deena Skolnick Weisberg, Hande Ilgaz, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Golinkoff, Ageliki Nicolopoulou, David K. Dickinson
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    ABSTRACT: Research has shown that storybooks and play sessions help preschool children learn vocabulary, thereby benefiting their language and school readiness skills. But the kind of content that leads to optimal vocabulary learning – realistic or fantastical – remains largely unexplored. We investigate this issue as part of a large-scale study of vocabulary learning in low-income classrooms. Preschoolers (N = 154) learned 20 new words over the course of a two-week intervention. These words were taught using either realistic (e.g., farms) or fantastical (e.g., dragons) storybooks and toys. Children learned the new words in both conditions, and their comprehension knowledge did not differ across conditions. However, children who engaged in stories and play with a fantastical theme showed significantly greater gains in their production knowledge. Reasons for and implications of this result are discussed.
    Cognitive Development 09/2015; 35.
  • Geetha B. Ramani, Meredith L. Rowe, Sarah H. Eason, Kathryn A. Leech
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    ABSTRACT: Children from low-income backgrounds are at risk for lower mathematical achievement. However, early numerical knowledge amongst children from lower-income families varies widely. Understanding sources of this variation could identify areas to intervene to reduce SES-related differences in math skills. Two sources of this variation were examined in Head Start families: (1) caregivers’ and children's talk related to math during a dyadic interaction, and (2) caregiver reports of number-related experiences at home. Frequency of engaging in number-related activities at home predicted children's foundational number skills, such as counting. However, caregivers’ talk during the interaction about more advanced number concepts for preschoolers, such as cardinality and ordinal relations, predicted children's advanced number skills that build on these concepts, such as numerical magnitude understanding. Findings suggest that the quantity and quality of number-related experiences that occur in the home can contribute to the variability found in low-income preschoolers’ numerical knowledge.
    Cognitive Development 09/2015; 35.
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    ABSTRACT: Do children use the Gricean maxim of informativeness (“Make your contribution as informative as is required”) to guide judgments about the reality status of novel entities? In three studies, 9-year-olds watched video clips of two adults discussing novel entities. In Studies 1 and 2, children were less likely to believe in entities introduced with only explicit belief statements (e.g., “I believe in cusk”) than those introduced with other information (e.g., “We saw some cusk in the trees”) or both explicit belief statements and other information. In Study 3, children were more likely to believe in entities about which speakers made an explicit belief statement and appeared to be providing additional information (even though that information was unintelligible) than those about which they only made an explicit belief statement. Consistent with the maxim of informativeness, 9-year-olds expect speakers to introduce novel entities by providing more information about them than a mere statement of belief.
    Cognitive Development 03/2015; 33.
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    ABSTRACT: The current experiment investigated whether 6-month-olds can predict the goal of others’ actions. Infants were familiarized to an actor repeatedly reaching for and grasping object-A as opposed to object-B. Object-B was either (1) visible to the actor; (2) hidden by an opaque screen from the actor (but not the infants); or (3) placed behind the screen by the actor herself, so that even though she could no longer see object-B, she was aware of its presence. The positions of the two objects were then reversed. During the test trial, we measured the infants’ eye fixations while the actor paused for 6 s. The infants generated predictive eye movements toward object-A only when the actor could see object-B (1) or was aware of its presence in the situation (3). Thus, 6-month-olds can predict, rather than only retrospectively respond to, the goal objects of others’ actions.
    Cognitive Development 03/2015; 33.
  • Rachel W. Magid, Mark Sheskin, Laura E. Schulz
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    ABSTRACT: A variety of theories have been put forth to explain the function of imagination, most notably that imagination engages and develops children's theory of mind and counterfactual reasoning. Here, we propose that a primary role for imagination is as a cognitive mechanism for efficiently generating new ideas without observing new evidence. Learners must generate hypotheses before they can assess the truth of these hypotheses. Given infinite possibilities, how do learners constrain the process of hypothesis generation? We suggest that learners represent abstract criteria for the solution to a problem and generate solutions that, if true, would solve the problem. As a preliminary test of this idea, we show that, in the absence of any fact of the matter (i.e., when neither prior knowledge nor statistical data distinguishes competing hypotheses), 4–6-year-olds (mean: 63 months) systematically converge on solutions to problems, consistent with an ability to imagine the abstract properties of causal problems and their solutions.
    Cognitive Development 01/2015;
  • Angeline S. Lillard, Jacqueline D. Woolley
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    ABSTRACT: In summarizing the nine articles comprising the Special Issue, Cognizing the Unreal, the editors make two major points. The first is that several articles show that children come to learn about what is real through their perceptions (particularly apparent in the articles by Markova & Legerstee, Goldstein & Bloom, Aguiar & Taylor, Gjersoe, Hall, & Hood, and Woolley & McInnis). Second, children's beliefs about what is real appear to be helped by their accessing underlying abstract structures and comparing these across domains, an idea supported by Shultman & Yoo, Corriveau & Harris, and Van Reet, Pinkham, & Lillard's articles, and given credence by Magid, Sheskin, & Shulz. This latter article proposes that the reason children pretend might be because it is a venue in which children learn to engage in cross-domain abstraction. The authors end with reflection on the cultural proclivity to give very young children fantasy. This proclivity might not serve children well, since (the articles suggest) it is through reality (both perceptions of and abstractions about reality) that children come to understand fantasy.
    Cognitive Development 01/2015;
  • Cognitive Development 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Given that children are told stories about real as well as pretend protagonists, how do they differentiate between them? Previous research indicates that children's understanding of historical versus fictional stories develops between ages 3 and 5 (Corriveau et al., 2009. Cognition, 112, 225; Woolley and Cox, 2007. Developmental Science, 10, 681). Across two experiments (N = 134), we asked if children's developing understanding of representation is related to their ability to differentiate between historical and fictional stories. Controlling for age and verbal ability, children's ability to correctly differentiate such stories is related to their developing understanding of false beliefs and false signs but not false photographs.
    Cognitive Development 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Children and adults are presented with a special case of the unreal on a daily basis: realistic acting. Although the realistic portrayal of characters is a widespread activity, psychologists know little about how children understand acting, especially the differences between actors and the characters they play. In two studies we tested whether children believe that actors actually possess the physical and emotional states they enact. We found that 3- and 4-year-old children (but not 5-year-old children) fail to appreciate that what happens to a character on screen does not also happen to the actor in real life. We also found that, unlike adults, children tend to favor a nonrealistic portrayal over a realistic one when asked which better depicts a characteristic. These studies can provide a new lens on children's knowledge about portrayals of mental and emotional states in pretend worlds, as well as on their ability to quarantine the world of the unreal.
    Cognitive Development 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: What role does children's understanding of physical possibility play in their acceptance of adults’ testimony about Santa? This question was addressed by comparing children's ability to differentiate events that do and do not violate physical laws to their skepticism toward Santa. Children aged 3–9 (n = 47) were asked (a) to generate information-seeking questions for Santa in a letter-writing task, (b) to explain how Santa accomplishes some of the feats he is purported to accomplish, and (c) to assess the possibility of various physically extraordinary events (unrelated to Santa), some possible and some impossible. Children who were better at differentiating possible events from impossible events had also begun to engage with the mythology surrounding Santa at a conceptual level, questioning the feasibility of Santa's extraordinary activities while also positing provisional explanations for those activities in the absence of a known answer. These findings suggest that children's acceptance of testimony about Santa – and possibly other forms of counterintuitive testimony – depends not only on the testimony they receive but also on the child's own understanding of physical possibility.
    Cognitive Development 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Virtual characters are programmed to simulate relationship partners, yet little is known about how children conceptualize the social affordances of these characters, despite their growing presence in children’s lives. In two studies (combined N = 49), we investigated the extent to which preschool children differentiated the social affordances of a virtual character that simulates social behaviors and a stuffed animal like the kinds children often use in pretend play. Children played a game in which they guessed whether a child in a video was referring to a stuffed dog or a virtual dog in a series of statements. The stuffed dog tended to be associated with items rated by adults as relevant to friendship, whereas the virtual dog tended to be associated with items rated as relevant to entertainment. These results suggest that despite their sophisticated programming, virtual characters might not be superior to simple stuffed animals as relationship partners.
    Cognitive Development 12/2014; in press.
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    ABSTRACT: Real/not-real judgments can refer to authenticity or ontological status.•‘Is X real?’ could mean ‘Is X the real one?’ or ‘Does X live in the real world?’.•Preschoolers can distinguish authentic versions of fictional characters from fakes.•They do not judge that fictional characters do not live in the real world.•They may interpret ontological status questions as authenticity questions.
    Cognitive Development 12/2014; 32.
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    ABSTRACT: This experiment was designed to clarify the referential status of infants’ newly learned words. We introduced 15- and 17-month-olds to a novel noun, presented in conjunction with pictures of two whisks that differed in color (one purple, one orange). We asked whether infants would extend this newly learned noun to other members of the same kind (other whisks), one differing only in color (a picture of a silver whisk) and another differing in both color and representational medium (a real three-dimensional silver whisk). Fifteen- and 17-month-olds’ interpretation of the novel noun was not tethered tightly to the perceptual features with which the word had previously been paired. Instead, their interpretation was sufficiently abstract to include a new member of the same object category, although it differed in color and representational medium (a real silver whisk). Thus, by 15 months, infants appreciate the referential status of words and extend their meaning flexibly from pictures to objects.
    Cognitive Development 10/2014; 32:1–11.
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    ABSTRACT: Reasoning with a peer to make a joint decision involves making a proposal (e.g., “Polar bears go here”) and justifying it with relevant facts (e.g., “This is ice”) based on common ground assumptions or warrants (e.g., polar bears need ice). Twenty-four dyads of 3- and 5-year-olds built a zoo with toy items that were either conventional (e.g., animals, cages) or unconventional (e.g., piano). For conventional items, both participants in both age groups used justifications that relied on implicit warrants (e.g., stating only the fact “This is ice”, assuming that both partners know that polar bears need ice). For unconventional items, they more often articulated the warrant explicitly, arguably to create the necessary common ground. Five-year-olds made warrants explicit more often, produced more justifications, and reached mutual agreement more often than did 3-year-olds. These results suggest that preschoolers can reason with one another appropriately, specifically in justifying their proposals based on appropriate common ground assumptions.
    Cognitive Development 10/2014; 32:74–85.
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    ABSTRACT: We examined five-year-olds’ ability to co-represent a partner's role during a shared activity. In adults, one indicator of such co-representation is the joint Simon effect, a spatial compatibility effect that is present when a two-choice reaction time task (a Simon task) is divided between two participants but is not present when an individual carries performs the task in isolation. We provide evidence for a joint Simon effect in five-year-old children, although its magnitude was unaffected by the priming of interdependence or independence in a preceding activity. Appearance of the joint Simon effect in young children suggests that when carrying out a joint task, young children can form integrated task representations involving both their own role and their partner's role, thus serving as a potential cognitive mechanism that may facilitate the emergence of early joint action abilities.
    Cognitive Development 10/2014; 32:38–45.