The goal of developmental cognitive neuroscience is to know how brain function gives rise to mental processes such as logical thinking, reasoning, and vision. This approach looks at cognitive development through the lens of brain processes. ‘Developmental cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific field devoted to understanding psychological processes and their neurological bases in the developing organism. It examines how the mind changes as children grow up, interrelations between that and how the brain is changing, and environmental and biological influences on the developing mind and brain’ (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The two main principles around which this approach revolves on are:
- Different information-processing operations are performed at different brain areas; and
- A cognitive performance consists of breaking down the overall task into component information processing activities and determining the area of brain that performs the activity.
From the above principles, we may notice a brain-based approach in studying the mental operations. This approach has taken into account the neurological activity that underlies thinking, reasoning and other cognitive behaviour.
For example, consider the interrelation between motor skills and visual-motor coordination that requires high cognitive functions which attains maturity by late adolescence. We see children suffering from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a developmental disorder that affects both cognitive and motor functioning. In many children with cognitive developmental disorders, movement deficits are evident. More research is underway on dyslexia, specific language disorder and autism. Interaction of genetic and environmental factors during development is another area of concern of developmental cognitive neuroscience psychologists. Thus, this approach studies how the physical brain and nervous system along with other intangible factors lead to patterns of thought and behaviour. When we go through the Piagetian information processing and developmental cognitive neuroscience approaches, we may see that they do not take into account the socio-cultural context in which development takes place.