Concrete Operational Thought Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Concrete Operational Thought?
Concrete Operational Thought is a stage of cognitive development in children, typically occurring between the ages of 7 and 11. It is the third stage of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, following preoperational thought and sensorimotor thought. At this stage, children are able to think logically about concrete events, but cannot yet use abstract reasoning. This means that they are able to process information in logical ways, but only as it relates to physical objects or events that they can observe directly. During this stage, children become more adept at problem solving skills such as classifying objects based on their attributes and being able to mentally manipulate objects in their minds (e.g., being able to reverse a series of steps). They also develop the ability to reason using propositions and draw conclusions from premises (e.g., if A = B and B = C then A must equal C). At this point in development, however, children still cannot deal with abstract concepts or hypothetical situations although they are beginning to show an understanding of them. In addition to developing these logical thinking skills during concrete operational thought, there are other changes that occur during this period as well. Children become increasingly adept at conservation tasks such as recognizing that two different shapes can contain the same amount even if they appear different; understanding reversibility (i.e., being able to reverse a series of steps); understanding seriation (i.e., ordering items in series); and learning how cause-and-effect relationships work (e.g., when I push a toy car it moves). They also begin developing better memory capabilities at this time which allows them to remember longer strings of numbers or facts than before as well as retain information for longer periods of time without needing constant reminders from adults or peers about what needs doing next. Overall, Concrete Operational Thought marks an important milestone in child development when children begin developing the mental abilities necessary for more advanced levels of reasoning later on in life such as deductive logic and abstract thinking skills.