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A Students' Guide to Piaget by D. G. Boyle (Auth.)

By D. G. Boyle (Auth.)

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Extra resources for A Students' Guide to Piaget

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This, as we have already indicated (p. 26), is why this period of development is called the intuitive stage. * The topic of language is further discussed in Chapter 9. 51 CHAPTER 4 Operational Thinking LET us think of some of the things that a child aged between 7 and 11 years can be expected to do. At this time it becomes possible for the psychologist to use a wide range of intelligence test items in order to assess his development, and it is instructive to compare two of the best-known intelligence test items.

To make the progression the child requires play and imitation, as before, and also the use of language, which develops rapidly in the pre-school period and the early school years. It is usual to divide this phase into two stages, the preconceptual stage (from 2 to 4 years) and the stage of intuitive think­ ing (from 4 to 7 years); of these, the latter is richer in its yield of data. 1. The preconceptual stage If we consult any psychology text for information about forming concepts we learn that concept formation involves abstracting similar features from dissimilar situations, and then generalizing f Red j ( Blue ] FIG.

This is why Piaget insists that the notion of reversibility is crucial to the develop­ ment of operational thinking. We may now ask why the 5-year-old child fails in this respect, and Piaget's answer is that he centres on one aspect of the situation. In our example the child centres on the height of the liquid, ignor­ ing the width. In the early stages of such an experiment a child will maintain that the taller vessel contains more liquid "because it is taller9'. If we repeat the experiment, choosing successively wider vessels into which to pour the liquid, a point will be reached where the child will start to claim that the shallower vessel has more "because it is wider".

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