what is the ability to arrange things in a logical order called?

what is the ability to arrange things in a logical order called?

Concrete Operational Stage of Cognitive Growth

By Dr. Saul McLeod, up to date 2021

The concrete operational stage is the third stage in Piaget’s idea of cognitive growth. This era lasts round seven to eleven years of age, and is characterised by the event of organized and rational considering.

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Piaget (1954a) thought-about the concrete stage a significant turning level within the kid’s cognitive growth, as a result of it marks the start of logical or operational thought. The kid is now mature sufficient to make use of logical thought or operations (i.e. guidelines) however can solely apply logic to bodily objects (therefore concrete operational).

Youngsters achieve the talents of conservation (quantity, space, quantity, orientation), reversibility, seriation, transitivity and sophistication inclusion. Nonetheless, though kids can remedy issues in a logical trend, they’re usually not in a position to suppose abstractly or hypothetically.

Piaget - concrete operations



Conservation is the understanding that one thing stays the identical in amount despite the fact that its look newurbanhabitat.com can apply to points reminiscent of quantity, quantity, space and many others.

To be extra technical conservation is the power to know that redistributing materials doesn’t have an effect on its mass, quantity, quantity or size.

Piagetian Conservation Tasks

For instance, Piaget and Szeminska (1952) confirmed that kids beneath 7 or 8 years of age usually believed that lengthening rows of counters (by spreading them out) elevated the quantity and squashing balls of plasticine flat decreased their quantity.

In Piaget’s commonplace process he requested the kid a pre and a submit transformation query.

He requested whether or not two situations (e.g. rows of counters or beakers of liquid) had been the identical or totally different each earlier than and after a change was made to their bodily look (e.g. by spreading out the counters or pouring the liquid right into a taller vessel).

By round seven years nearly all of kids can preserve liquid, as a result of they perceive that when water is poured into a unique formed glass, the amount of liquid stays the identical, despite the fact that its look has modified. 5-year-old kids would suppose that there was a unique quantity as a result of the looks has modified.

Conservation of quantity (see video beneath) develops quickly after this. Piaget (1954b) set out a row of counters in entrance of the kid and requested her/him to make one other row the identical as the primary one. Piaget unfold out his row of counters and requested the kid if there have been nonetheless the identical variety of counters.

Most kids aged seven may reply this appropriately, and Piaget concluded that this confirmed that by seven years of age kids had been in a position to preserve quantity.

Some types of conservation (reminiscent of mass) as understood sooner than others (quantity). Piaget used the time period horizonal decalage to explain this (and different) developmental inconsistencies.

Analysis of Conservation Duties

Analysis of Conservation Duties

A number of points of the conservation duties have been criticized, for instance, that they fail to take account of the social context of the kid’s understanding.

Rose and Clean (1974) argued that when a toddler provides the flawed reply to a query, we repeat the query in an effort to trace that their first reply was flawed. That is what Piaget did by asking kids the identical query twice within the conservation experiments, earlier than and after the transformation.

When Rose and Clean replicated this however requested the query solely as soon as, after the liquid had been poured, they discovered many extra six-year-olds gave the right reply. This reveals kids can preserve at a youthful age than Piaget claimed.

Samuel and Bryant (1984)

Samueland Bryant (1984) investigated whether or not Piaget’s assessments of conservation had been flawed as a result of the youngsters had been responding to being requested the identical query twice.

Analysis questions:

  • How does asking just one query about conservation have an effect on the power of kids over a large age vary?
  • Are conservation of mass, quantity and quantity all affected?


  • 252 girls and boys aged 5½ -8 years previous had been divided into 4 teams (by age).
  • This examine used an impartial measures experimental design.
  • Every group was subdivided into three situations: commonplace (pre and submit transformation questions); one judgement (submit transformation query); mounted array (youngster didn’t see transformation).
  • Squashed cylinders had been used to check mass, unfold out rows of counters for quantity and tall/slender glasses for quantity.

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  • Youngsters carried out higher with solely the posttransformation query (for many ages and most supplies, oddities being attributable to likelihood)
  • Older kids had been higher in any respect duties than youthful ones.
  • The usual Piagetian was tougher than each the post-transformation query solely and the mounted array scenario.
  • The quantity process was the simplest.


  • Samuel & Bryant conclude that the issue lies with the impact of the experimenter asking a second query and unwittingly implying to the participant {that a} totally different reply is required.
  • Asking each the pre and post-transformation questions causes kids who can preserve to make conservation errors.


  • Samuel and Bryant examined 252 kids which is a big pattern. They examined kids from the age of 5 to the age of eight which allowed them to attract conclusions in regards to the age at which kids began to have the ability to preserve. All of them got here from one space of the nation (Devon) which could imply that they aren’t consultant of kids from different areas of the nation. For instance, if Devon used totally different instructing methods to different components of the nation this may impact the youngsters’s cognitive talents. This isn’t actually a criticism of the examine and general the pattern is massive sufficient to permit generalisations to be made.
  • The duty itself is sort of a synthetic one. It isn’t an on a regular basis occurence to ask kids any such query, though the abilities which are being examined are on a regular basis abilities. Maybe a extra ecologically legitimate methodology would have been to ask kids to decide on which of two beakers of juice or rows of smarties they would like to have. This may be extra ‘actual’ to the youngsters in addition to demonstrating clearly that they may preserve.
  • There are some difficulties in evaluating the precise query used because the researchers don’t inform us the precise wording of the query. Asking a toddler ‘are they the identical?’ could also be a barely ambiguous query. There are various methods through which this query may need been requested and it’s potential that kids could have interpreted the query in a different way.

Porpodas (1987) discovered that asking multiple query wasn’t actually the issue. This analysis advised that the questions supplied ‘verbal interference’ which prevented kids from transferring info throughout from the pretransformation stage. This implied that the issue was a cognitive one, however not precisely of the character initially advised.

In an try and reply the ‘conservation or dialog?’ query, ie whether or not the conservation failures are attributable to cognitive immaturity or the language use or energy relations between the kid participant and grownup experimenter, Baucal & Stepanovic (2006) analysed the outcomes of many assessments of the repeated query speculation. In addition they performed a further take a look at which aimed to differentiate between cognitive and social results through the use of a repeated query a few ‘transformation’ which had not modified (pouring liquid again into the identical glass so solely the query and never the precise change may affect their response).

Apparently, the outcomes weren’t as predicted. They anticipated that any youngster’s response could be the identical on the usual and modified duties, however this was not the case. Nonetheless, they had been unable to conclude whether or not the trigger was or was not repeating the query.

Analysis has gone on to discover the ‘dialog about conservation’ thought which underpins the interview methodology. Arcidiacono and Perret-Clermont (2009) advised that kids’s statements about conservation aren’t, as Piaget claimed, merely a product of their cognitive degree however of their social interplay with the interviewer.

This means that the kid’s reasoning is ‘co-constructed’ in the course of the testing course of. If adults ‘settle for’ flawed (or proper) solutions with out asking for a justification (argument about why it’s so), which is what Piaget was actually excited by.

One other function of the conservation process which can intrude with kids’s under-standing is that the grownup purposely alters the looks of one thing, so the kid thinks this alteration is essential. McGarrigle and Donaldson (1974) devised a examine of conservation of quantity through which the alteration was unintended.

When two similar rows of sweets had been laid out and the kid was happy there have been the identical quantity in every, a ‘naughty teddy’ appeared. While enjoying round, teddy truly tousled one row of sweets. As soon as he was safely again in a field the youngsters had been requested if there have been the identical variety of sweets.

The youngsters had been between four- and six-years-old, and greater than half gave the right reply. This means that, as soon as once more, Piaget’s design prevented the youngsters from exhibiting that they’ll preserve at a youthful age than he claimed.



Piaget additionally studied kids’s potential to categorise objects – put them collectively on the idea of their shade, form and many others.

Classification is the power to establish the properties of classes, to narrate classes or courses to 1 one other, and to make use of categorical info to unravel issues.

One part of classification abilities is the power to group objects in line with some dimension that they share. The opposite potential to is order subgroups hierarchically, so that every new grouping will embody all earlier subgroups.

For instance, he discovered that kids within the pre-operational stage had issue in understanding {that a} class can embody quite a lot of sub-classes. For instance, a toddler is proven 4 purple flowers and two white ones and is requested ‘are there extra purple flowers or extra flowers?’. A typical 5 yr previous would say ‘extra purple ones’.

Piaget and acknowledged that the kid focuses on one side, both class or sub-class (i.e. known as this class inclusion). It isn’t till he can decentre that he can concurrently evaluate each the entire and the components, which make up the entire. The kid can then perceive the connection between class and sub-class.

Analysis of Classification Duties

Analysis of Classification Duties

James McGarrigle designed an experiment that examined Piaget’s rationalization {that a} youngster is unable to check class with sub-class due to centration. Centration refers to a toddler’s tendency to solely take care of one side of a scenario at a time.

Piaget’s class inclusion take a look at used wood beads, some white some brown. He discovered that kids within the preoperational stage had been unable to offer the proper reply to the query, “Are there extra brown beads or extra wood beads?”

McGarrigle used a barely totally different model of this take a look at. He sued 4 mannequin cows, three of them black, and one white. He laid all of the cows on their sides, as in the event that they had been sleeping. Six year-old kids had been then requested:

2. Are there extra black cows or sleeping cows?

Outcomes: 25% p.c of the youngsters answered query 1 appropriately, however 48% of the youngsters answered query 2 appropriately.

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This means that kids are able to understanding class inclusion reasonably sooner than Piaget believed. That is in all probability as a result of the duty was made simpler to know.

McGarrigle concluded that’s was the best way Piaget worded his query that prevented the youthful kids from exhibiting that they understood the connection between class and sub-class.



The cognitive operation of seriation (logical order) entails the power to mentally organize objects alongside a quantifiable dimension, reminiscent of top or weight.

Essential Analysis

Essential Analysis

Dasen (1994) confirmed that totally different cultures achieved totally different operations at totally different ages relying on their cultural context.

Dasen (1994) cites research he performed in distant components of the central Australian desert with 8-14 yr previous Aborigines. He gave them conservation of liquid duties and spatial consciousness duties. He discovered that the power to preserve got here later within the aboriginal kids, between aged 10 and 13 ( versus between 5 and seven, with Piaget’s Swiss pattern).

Nonetheless, he discovered that spatial consciousness talents developed earlier amongst the Aboriginal kids than the Swiss kids. Such a examine demonstrates cognitive growth isn’t purely depending on maturation however on cultural elements too – spatial consciousness is essential for nomadic teams of individuals.

Greenfield (1966) that education influenced the acquisition of such ideas as conservation.

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McLeod, S. A. (2018, January 14). Concrete operational stage. Merely Psychology. newurbanhabitat.com/concrete-operational.html

APA Model References

Arcidiacono F & Perret-Clermont AN (2009) Revisiting the piagetian take a look at of conservation of portions of liquid: argumentation throughout the adult-child interplay. Культурноисторическая психология, 3: 25-33.

Dasen, P. (1994). Tradition and cognitive growth from a Piagetian perspective. In W .J. Lonner & R.S. Malpass (Eds.), Psychology and tradition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Greenfield, P. M. (1966). On tradition and conservation. Research in cognitive progress, 225-256.

McGarrigle, J., & Donaldson, M. (1974). Conservation accidents. Cognition, 3, 341-350.

Piaget, J. (1954). The event of object idea (M. Cook dinner, Trans.). In J. Piaget & M. Cook dinner (Trans.), The development of actuality within the youngster (pp. 3-96). New York, NY, US: Fundamental Books.

Piaget, J. (1954b). The kid’s conception of quantity. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 18(1), 76.

Piaget, J. (1968). Quantification, conservation, and nativism. Science, 162, 976-979.

Piaget, J. & Szeminska, A. (1952). The Little one’s Conception of Quantity. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London.

Porpodas, C. D. (1987). The one-question conservation experiment reconsidered. Journal of Little one Psychology & Psychiatry, 28, 343-349.

Rose S. A. & Clean, M. (1974). The efficiency of context in kids’s cognition: an illustrationthrough conservation. Little one Growth, 45, 499-502.

Samuel, J. & Bryant, P. (1984). Asking just one query within the conservation experiment. Journal of Little one Psychology & Psychiatry, 25(2), 315-8.

Additional Info Jean Piaget’s Levels of Growth Sensorimotor Stage Preoperational Stage Formal Operational Stage Cognitive Growth Piaget: Cognitive Growth (Undergraduate Notes) Obtain this text as a PDF

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McLeod, S. A. (2018, January 14). Concrete operational stage. Merely Psychology. newurbanhabitat.com/concrete-operational.html

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