Learning, Remembering and Conceptualizing

Definition for learning, remembering and conceptualizing are :

Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. Remembering is to Recall in memory. It refers to the mental process of retrieval of information from the past. Conceptualizing is the building of a mental picture or the construction of an idea or theory.

Infants and toddlers easily become distracted, fatigued, or bored during testing, so their scores often do not reflect their true abilities. And infant perceptual and motor items differ from the tasks given to older children, which increasingly emphasize verbal, conceptual, and problem solving skills.

Piaget’s Six Substages of the Sensorimotor Stage.

First substage of the sensorimotor period is

Substage 1: Simple reflexes,

Encompassing the first month of life. During this time, the various inborn reflexes, are at the center of a baby’s physical and cognitive life, determining the nature of his or her interactions with the world.

Substage 2: First habits and primary circular reactions

the second substage of the sensorimotor period, occurs from one to four months of age. In this period, infants begin to coordinate what were separate actions into single, integrated activities.

In Substage 3: Secondary circular reactions,

the infant’s actions are more purposeful. According to Piaget, this third stage of cognitive development in infancy occurs from four to eight months of age. Although, during this period, a child begins to act upon the outside world. However, babies’ vocalization increases substantially as infants come to notice that if they make noises, other people around them will respond with noises of their own.

Substage 4: Coordination of secondary circular reactions,

which lasts from around 8 months to 12 months. Before this stage, behavior involved direct action on objects. Although, infants begin to employ goal-directed behavior, in which several schemes are combined and coordinated to generate a single act to solve a problem.

Substage 5: Tertiary circular reactions

Is reached at around the age of 12 months and extends to 18 months. As the name of the stage indicates, during this period, infants develop tertiary circular reactions. Which are schemes regarding the deliberate variation of actions that bring desirable consequences. Rather than just repeating enjoyable activities, as they do with secondary circular reactions, infants appear to carry out miniature experiments to observe the consequences.

The final stage of the sensorimotor period is

Substage 6: Beginnings of thought

Which lasts from around 18 months to two years. The major achievement of Substage 6 is the capacity for mental representation, or symbolic thought. A mental representation is an internal image of a past event or object.

Memory during Infancy:

Infants have memory capabilities, defined as the process by which information is initially recorded, stored, and retrieved. As we’ve seen, infants can distinguish new stimuli from old, and this implies that some memory of the old must be present. Unless the infants had some memory of an original stimulus, it would be impossible for them to recognize that a new stimulus differed from the earlier one.

Even though, Infants’ capability to recognize new stimuli from old tells us little, about how age brings about changes in the capacities of memory and in its fundamental nature. Researchers generally believe that information is processed similarly throughout the life span, even though the kind of information being processed changes and different parts of the brain may be used. According to memory expert Carolyn Rovee-Collier, people, regardless of their age, gradually lose memories, although, just like babies, they may regain them if reminders are provided. Moreover, the more times a memory is retrieved, the more enduring the memory becomes (Barr et al., 2007; Turati, 2008; Bell, 2012).


Although the processes that underlie memory retention and recall seem similar throughout the life span, the quantity of information stored and recalled does differ markedly as infants develop.

Researchers disagree on the age from which memories can be retrieved. Although early research supported the notion of infantile amnesia—the lack of memory for experiences occurring prior to three years of age—more recent research shows that infants do retain memories of these years. One reason infants appear to remember less may be because language plays a key role in determining the way in which memories from early in life can be recalled. Older children and adults may only be able to report memories using the vocabulary that they had available at the time of the initial event, when they stored the memories. Even though it is actually in their memories, because of the limited vocabulary at the time of initial storage, they are unable to describe the event later in life.


Even young infants can categorize, grouping similar objects and events into a single representation. Categorization reduces the enormous amount of new information infants encounter every day, helping them learn and remember. However, in the first few months babies categorize stimuli on the basis of shape, size, and other physical properties (Wasserman & Rovee-Collier, 2001).

By 6 months of age, they can categorize on the basis of two correlated features. For example, the shape and color of an alphabet letter (Bhatt et al., 2004). However, this ability to categorize using clusters of features prepares babies for acquiring many complex everyday categories.

Babies’ earliest categories are based on similar overall appearance or prominent object part: legs for animals, wheels for vehicles. But as infants approach their first birthday, more categories appear to be based on subtle sets of features (Cohen, 2003; Mandler, 2004; Quinn, 2008). Older infants can even make categorical distinctions when the perceptual contrast between two categories is minimal (birds versus airplanes).

Learning, remembering and conceptualizing play as important role in the process of development of infants.

Click here, to read about information processing model of memory.


  1. Robert. S. Feldman. (2017). Development Across the Lifespan. (8th ed.). Pearson Education.
  2. Laura. E. Berk. (2018). Development Through the Lifespan (7th ed.). Pearson Education.

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