Concrete Operations Stage

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Concrete operations are the third stage of Piagetian cognitive development, during which children develop logical but not abstract thinking (Papalia p.351). The concrete operational stage begins around age seven and continues until approximately age eleven. During this time, children gain a better understanding of mental operations. Children begin thinking logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts.

Piaget determined that children in the concrete operational stage were fairly good at the use of inductive logic. Inductive logic involves going from a specific experience to a general principle. On the other hand, children at this age have difficulty using deductive logic, which involves using a general principle to determine the outcome of a specific event. This stage is also characterized by a loss of egocentric thinking. Egocentrism is Piaget’s term for inability to consider another person’s point of view; a characteristic of young children’s thought (Papalia p.G-3). During this stage, the child has the ability to master most types of conservation experiments, and begins to understand reversibility. Conservation is the realization that quantity or amount does not change when nothing has been added or taken away from an object or a collection of objects, despite changes in form or spatial arrangement. The concrete operational stage is also characterized by the child’s ability to coordinate two dimensions of an object simultaneously, arrange structures in sequence, and transpose differences between items in a series. The child is capable of concrete problem-solving. Categorical labels such as "number" or "animal" are now available to the child. The first, and most discussed, of these limitations is egocentrism. The pre-operational child has a “'self-centred' view of the world” (Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2003, p. 399), meaning that she has difficulty understanding that other people may see things...
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