Skip to content

Health & Baby

Font Size

Cognitive Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months - Topic Overview

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

Cognitive 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 and will turn their gaze toward them. They also gaze longer at more complex objects and seem to thrive on novelty, as though trying to learn as much about the world as possible.
  • 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 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 contributes to an infant's sense of being an individual.
  • Between 6 and 9 months of age, babies become adept at recognizing the appearance, sound, and touch of familiar people. Also, babies are able to recall the memory of a person, like a parent, or object when that person or object is not present. This cognitive skill is called object permanence.
  • Around 9 to 12 months of age, babies observe others' behavior. During this time, they also begin a discovery phase and become adept at searching drawers, cabinets, and other areas of interest. Your baby reveals more personality, becomes curious, and demonstrates varied emotions.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 06, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Cognitive Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months Topics

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    Mother with baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
     
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
     

    mother holding baby at night
    ARTICLE
    mother with sick child
    QUIZ
     
    baby with pacifier
    VIDEO
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    TOOL
     
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Slideshow
    Woman holding feet up to camera
    Article
     
    Father kissing newborn baby
    Article
    baby gear slideshow
    Slideshow