Jerome Bruner is one of the world’s most renowned cognitive psychologists. He was an American psychologist who majorly contributed to educational psychology through cognitive learning theory and human cognitive psychology.

Three Modes of Representation

He proposed three modes of representation for intellectual development

The Enactive Stage

Enactive representation makes use of actions to represent knowledge.

The Iconic Stage

The iconic representation uses visual images to represent knowledge.

The Symbolic Stage

The symbolic representation uses symbols and words to represent knowledge and experience.

Characteristics of Bruner’s Theory of Cognitive Development

The characteristics of Bruner’s theory of cognitive development are as follows:

  1. Bruner’s cognitive development theory developed the concept of ‘readiness for learning’.
  2. Bruner’s theory suggests that the learner’s experiences must be involved in the instructional process to develop a willingness to learn among students.
  3. Ease of learning is emphasized in this theory and therefore, structured learning is critical to help the students grasp knowledge easily.
  4. Learning by discovery is emphasized in Bruner’s theory of intellectual development.
  5. Bruner’s theory involves the use of rewards and punishments in balance.
  6. Bruner’s theory of intellectual development also focuses on effective sequencing.
  7. Bruner’s theory suggests that the intellectual development of an individual should be the primary goal of education instead of rote memorization.


Bruner’s theory emphasized in active learning and existing knowledge plays an important role for the construction of new knowledge.