Piaget’s formal operations / Elkind’s views on adolescent cognitive delvelopment

Elkind’s views on Adolescent Cognitive Development

Piaget‘s formal operations stage of cognitive development

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Piaget’s cognitive development is a theory that defines the development of the thinking capacity of humans from the time they are born to the time they become adults. Additionally, this theory talks about the human intelligence. It mentions how the human beings think from the time they are born to the time they are adults (Rice & Dolgin, 2005). According to the theory, the thinking capacity or the intelligence of the human beings is to be continuous as the human beings grow. In this continuous process, the human beings follow several stages in accordance with this theory. The first stage is the sensorimotor stage, which happens at the age of birth to two years. The second stage is the preoperational stages and it happens at around the age of two years to seven years old. The third stage is the concrete stage, which occurs at around seven to eleven years old. Lastly, the formal operation stage, which is the last stage, occurs from eleven years old and onwards. In the formal operation stage, there are several activities, which usually take place in the thinking capacity of the individual as he grows.

Skills start to grow in the thinking ability of adolescents as compared to when they were young. The teenager now starts to gain some concepts. First, the teenager gains the logical thought. At this stage, the adolescents are able to solve a problem using some general principles by head as compared to when they were children; they used trial and era methods. In the operation stage, the adolescents are able to have an abstract thought where they think of the consequences. Before, when the adolescents were children, they were unable to think of the possible out comes of a certain activity. Lastly, the adolescent is able to solve problems systematically. When the adolescents were children, they were unable to solve problems systematically (Rice & Dolgin, 2005). The only way the child is able to solve a problem is through the trial and era method. Therefore, it can be concluded that in Piaget’s formal operations stage of cognitive development, the adolescent gains skills of abstract, logically, and systematic.

Elkind’s views on adolescent cognitive development

Elkind was a scholar who expounded further the theory by Piaget. His views are seen as the views of Piaget. People may say that there is duplication of work but this is not the case. Elkind view concentrated on the social life of the young adolescent as they change from being children to becoming young adults. He observed that at this stage, many changes occur in both the body and mind of an adolescent. They start to become sexually active, they start to reason on their own, and the youngsters are now able to solve problem on their own systematically. Additionally, the scholar has continued to say that it is at this stage of early adolescences, they start to think on their own. Moreover, the adolescents start to gain the ability to think of what the other are thinking (Rice & Dolgin, 2005).

In his views, he came up with egocentrism. This can be defined as the ability to start thinking of yourself. This is where the thoughts of others are separated from the thoughts of your own. The adolescents will start to think of their appearance in front of the other people despite them being not there (Rice & Dolgin, 2005). When we compare the behavior of children, they really do not care of how the other children think about them in terms of there social life. On the other hand, when they grow to become adolescent or young adults they are very cautious of how the rest of the people think about them. They usually start to form imaginary people around them. Additionally, it is at this stage that the young adolescents start to think about themselves alone. They only think that they are the only ones who have feelings. Egocentrism is usually taken as the negative change in the thinking of the young adults. This is because the young adults start to become consumed in there own world. They are selfish and they do not care about what the others are feeling. They only care about how they look in front of the other people. Therefore, Elkind views concentrated on the social life of the adolescent. They concentrated on how he thinks towards other people and themselves.


Rice, F. P., & Dolgin, K. G. (2005). The adolescent: development, relationships and culture. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


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