Jean Piaget worked out four stages of cognitive development as follows:
- Sensorimotor Stage.
- Preoperational Stage.
- Concrete Operational Stage.
- Formal Operational Stage.
Cognitive Development during adolescence.
Concrete Operational Stage: During early adolescence, the teens follow in the concrete operational stage as the age group for this stage is 7-11 years and the period for early adolescence is from 11 to 12 to 19 to 21 years. Though the adolescents will soon enter in the formal operation stage but there are individual differences.
During Concrete Operational Stage, mental tasks are associated with concrete thoughts and objects. A lot of analytical capability.has been developed but it still depends on some objects. In concrete operational stage, the children have the ability to understand:
- Identity: It is the principle that quality or mass. remains same over time.
- Conservation: it is the principle that change in one dimension can be compensated in other dimension, such as from solid to fluid, fluid to solid.
- Reversibility: it is the ability to think in series of steps and coming back to the beginning.
- Classification: it is the ability to group few items on the basis of their characteristics.
- Seriation: It is the process of arranging according to some order like small to large or large to small.
- Decentration: It is the ability to focus on multiple perceptual qualities at a time. The early adolescents in the concrete operational stage are able to process all the above principles and abilities.
Formal Operational Stage: According to Piaget, in formal operational stage, an adolescent is able to think in abstract terms. More emphasis is put on form and logic than to content. This stage is seen in 11 to 15 or older though even many adults may not reach till formal operational stag6 and may be unable to put things according to logic.
- Formal operational stage include propositional logic, proportional reasoning, probabilistic reasoning, correlational reasoning, and abstract reasoning, etc.
- Formal operational stage is seen in adolescent’s verbal problem solving ability. The adolescents in .this stage do not need concrete elements such as A, B and C in any mathematical situations. They can imagine and reason by verbal representations. Formal operational thinking is much like an adult’s thinking style.
- These adolescents are able to think what is possible than what is real. That means to say that they can think hypothetically.
- Adolescents in formal operations stage are more often busy in thinking about thoughts itself.
- Absolutism of childhood seems no more part of adolescents thinking. They can think in relativistic terms. They do not want to accept absolute truths and they ask questions about it and parents think that their teens are always ready to argue.
- Formal operational adolescents are also capable of thinking in multi-dimensional model. They understand that there are many perspective to a thing. Even they describe themselves in complicated terms.