Period 7 – Piaget and the Development of Reasoning

Who Was Jean Piaget? 

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist in the early 1900s.  He provided many contributions to psychology such as his theory of cognitive development.  He said that younger children think differently adults do.  Piaget conducted an experiment to test his hypothesis that all children think in the same way while being different than adults.  His results of this experiment led him to establish four stages that all people go through.  His stages are known as the Sensorimotor Stage, the Pre-Operational Stage, the Concrete Operational Stage, and the Formal Operational Stage.  Piaget also said that schemas, or a learned understanding, occur early in one’s life which helps the development progress.


Name of Stage Age                     Description  
Sensorimotor  Stage Birth- age 2
  • They are learning to coordinate sensation with physical movement
Preoperational Stage Age 2- 7
  • They can only see their own point of view
Concrete Operational Stage Age 7- 12
  • They begin to give concrete examples and do not expand on answers
Formal Operational Stage Age 12+
  • They are thinking more abstractly and intelligently

Description of the Four Stages

The first stage is the Sensorimotor Stage, which includes children from the time they are born to the age of around two.  As the child’s brain begins to develop they begin to investigate the world through their scenes, hence why babies put everything in their mouth.  Also the infants and toddlers can recognize objects but are just starting to understand that even when you can not see an object it still exists in the same way as when you can see it.   Lastly these children are incapable of understanding that their actions have a cause and affect relationship.

The second stage it the Peroperational Stage, which includes children from age two through seven.   When in this stage kids can now understand signs and symbols but not common concepts, like speed for example.  They base their decisions and reasoning on visual concepts instead of logical thinking.  Lastly they are unable to stand in other peoples shoes; or they only see from their point of view and do not understand how others perceive things.

The third stage is the Concrete Operational Stage, which includes people ranging in ages from seven to twelve years old.  When in this stage people need hands on experiences in order to expand on answers and their concrete ways of thinking.  Also while in this stage people find it hard to understand that there can be exceptions to major rules when given certain circumstances.  Once they enter this stage they are now able to to see the view of others and use logic when answering a question or problem.

The fourth and final stage is the Formal Operational Stage, which includes people age twelve and up; but most people don’t even make it to this stage of developmental thinking.  In this stage people are able to solve problems based on reason and come to conclusions based on general principals.  These people have the ability to think around basic concepts or what the average person would see.  They also are able to easily understand how rules can be broken when given the correct circumstances.

Take this Quiz to Find Out What Stage You Are In

1.  You see a block, what do you …

A. Put it in your mouth      B. Pick it up and examin it

C. Share with your friend   D. Build with it (spell out words)

 2. How do you think someone else sees that block?

 A. I don’t understand the question        B. I don’t know

C. As a toy or block                                   D. As a tool

3. What do you do if  you were handed a bunch of blocks?

A. Touch and play with them           B. Pick them up or line them up

C. Stack them             D. Think of a logical way to use them all to build something

4. When you see a bag of blocks what do you think?

A. Cool!                                                                        B. Those are blocks

C. My friend and I would have fun with these       D. I could use those to make a model

 5. You see blocks with A , B, and C written on them …what do you do?

A. Nothing                            B. Place them in alphabetical order         C. Write the word cab

D. Calculate the number of words you can make with the three letters

6. You have a bag of rainbow blocks, what do you do with them?

A. Play with them normaly          B. Put them in order of a rainbow

C. Separate them by color            D. Find the probability of picking a red block

If you answerd mostly…

A. Then you are in the Sensorimotor Stage (0-2 years).  In this stage you are learning to develop your senses and coordination.  You are also beginning to learn that things continue to exist even when you can’t see them, an idea called object permanence.

B.  Then you are in the Pre-Operational Stage (2-7 years).  In this stage you are able to understand concepts like counting and using symbols to represent objects.  You can only see things from your perspective, called egocentrism.

C.  Then you are in the Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years).  In this stage you are able to see other’s perspectives and pass over egocentrism.  During this stage conservation is mastered, where you understand that changing the form of a substance doesn’t change its overall volume.  Thinking is still in concrete form.

D.  Then you are in the Formal Operational Stage (11 years- adulthood).  In this stage, thinking becomes more abstract.  You are able to form your own opinions and focus on different possibilities about life.

A Commercial of People Going Through the Ages of the Four Stages

A Study Conducted on Children to Show How One Thinks In Some of the Stages

One thought on “Period 7 – Piaget and the Development of Reasoning

  1. Miss Hickey

    Overall, I think this looks great. I think it would be nice if you provided a short paragraph for each clip that explain the connections to socialization.


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