With the advent of propositional logic adolescents

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Unformatted text preview: cular event if they were alive when it first happened.” Propositional logic. The second important change that occurs in the stage of formal operations is the ability to engage in propositional logic. With the advent of propositional logic, adolescents become capable of determining the truth or fallacy of propositions that may or may not have a basis in experience. For example, consider the following propositions. All Freebies are Noogies and all Noogies are Bozos. Consequently, Freebies are Bozos. Propositional logic allows you to determine whether the conclusion is true or false, regardless of the 18 content of the propositions. Concrete operational children might say that they don’t know whether the conclusion is true or false because they don’t know any Freebies. Ability to consider the “what ifs”. The third important change is an extension of the second. Formal operational structures allow the adolescent to go beyond the content of the logic they are evaluating. They can consider the “what if?” question, which allows them to deal effectively with hypothetical situations. They are not restricted to situations they have experienced or can imagine. The “third eye problem” discussed in Enriching Your Understanding 5.1 provides an example of the ability to consider the “what if...” question. The Current Status of Piagetian Theory Piaget’s ideas about the nature of intelligence continue to be influential today in discussions of classroom learning. For example, schemes, organization, adaptation, and equilibrium are important concepts in a view of learning called psychological constructivism. In fact, psychological constructivism is often referred to as Piagetian constructivism (Vadeboncoeur, 1997). We will have more to say about psychological constructivism later in this chapter. The current status of Piagetian stage theory, however, is somewhat different. Over the last twenty to thirty years, Piagetian stage theory has been researched thoroughly, and this research has raised the following concerns. 19 • Piagetians have tended to underestimate the capabilities of infants and young children. Their logic is not as limited as the Piagetians claim (Cole & Cole, 1993). • Children’s performance on Piagetian tasks appears to be influenced by a number of factors other than cognitive development (See Enriching Your Understanding 5.2) (Gelman & Bailergeon, 1983; Siegel & Hodkin, 1982). • As many as 40 to 60 per cent of adolescents and young adults do not fully achieve formal operational reasoning (Cole & Cole, 1993; Feldman, 2000). Also, cross-cultural studies of formal operational thinking in adolescents have found that formal operational thought is not a universal stage across cultures (Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 1983; Rogoff, 1981). • Development within stages is so gradual that two people within the same stage can be very different in terms of their cognitive development. Also, movement from one stage to another occurs gradually. Consequently, a four-stage model may not accurately reflect the gradua...
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