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# Formal Operational Stage

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## Joanna Collins

on 3 December 2012

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#### Transcript of Formal Operational Stage

Formal Operational Stage Features of the Formal Operational Stage Child can now apply operations to abstract concepts

Develops at 12+

An example of this is substitution in algebra - the individual is able to us 'X' to stand for an unknown variable e.g. 2X+2=8 .... X=3

This type of thinking is known as Hypothetico-deductive systematic problem solving Research Evidence One of Piaget's test of formal operational thinking was the 'Third Eye Problem'

Children were asked where and why they would put an extra eye.

Schaffer (1998) reported:
9 year old children suggested the 3rd eye should be in the forehead
11 year old children suggested it should be on the hand as it would allow them to see around corners
This showed that 11 year olds were moving towards the formal operational stage Piaget and Inhelder (1958) Aim: investigate systematic reasoning

Method: The task was to discover what factors affect the rate at which a pendulum swings

Results: In formal operational stage children change more than one varaible at a time

Conclusion: Shows systematic logical reasoning is a key feature of this stage Short Answer Questions 1. Briefly discuss one criticism of Piaget’s conservation experiments. (3 marks)

2. A psychologist who was interested in the work of Piaget selected two groups of children for an experimental study. The children in one group were 10 years old and the children in the other group were 5 years old. Each child was individually presented with the two rows of beads shown in Figure 1 below. Each child was asked to state whether the number of beads in each row was the ‘same’ or whether ‘one row had more’. The psychologist recorded each child’s answer as correct or incorrect.

Identify the dependent variable in this study. (1 mark) Short Question Answers 1. Piaget’s experiments into conservation are often criticized for how the researcher asks the same question twice, which may lead the participant into thinking their first answer was incorrect. This is misleading and may skewer the results as the child may change their answer to fit with what they think the researcher is looking for.

2. The experimental design used in this study was the Independent Measures design, using two groups of children in one condition.
The dependent variable of the study was the amount of correct or incorrect answers the children gave. Tulkin and Konner (1973) Aim: To see whether formal thinking is affected by culture.

Method: Using non-literate Africans, Tulkin and Konner asked them to solve standard problems of Formal-Operational thinking such as the pendulum test and simple algebra.

Results: The bushmen couldn't do simple algebra or simple Formal-Operational tasks, but when it came to tracking prey, they can perform tasks relevant to them.

Conclusion: The bushmen couldn't perform tasks in a Western fashion, therefore Formal-Operational thinking does vary across culture. Evidence of Formal-Operational Thinking Maybe when you're out in the "real world" all you do is watch people, like if you live in a glass house can watch what happens around you. You're not really taking part in life, and just watching from a standby. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones Curiosity killed the cat Because cats are inquisitive creatures and often get themselves into situations which can harm them. A leopard never changes its' spots It can't have stripes, no matter how hard it tries. The fact some people don't know the hypothetical definitions of the idioms shows that some adults can't process hypothetico-deductive systematic problem solving.
(Thank you, population of Yahoo! Answers). Evaluation and Contrasting Evidence Piaget didn't identify a stage of reasoning beyond formal operations and thought that most people show at least some signs of this highest level of intellect by the time they're 15-18. Other researchers find that adolescents are much slower to acquire formal operations than Piaget thought.

Cole (1990) found that actually quite a lot of American adults don't often reason at the formal level and it seems that there are some cultures (especially those where there is little or no formal schooling) in which no one can solve Piaget's formal operations This could be due to not having the kind of school that stresses logic and mathematics and science (experiences that Piaget believed help the child to reason at this level). Piaget suggested another possible explanation - it may be that most adults can reason at the formal operational level, but that they only do so for problems they find interesting or that are important to them.

Siegler (1979) gave children a balance beam task in which some discs were placed either side of the centre of the beam, each time asking the child to predict which way the balance would go. Like Piaget, he found thay the older children were able to take into account the interaction between the weight of the discs and the distance from the centre, and so successfully predict balance. However, this did not happen until 13-17 years of age. He concluded that childrens cognitive development is based on acquiring and using rules in increasingly more complex situations, rather than in stages, as Piaget suggested. Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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