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psychlotron.org.uk What would the world be like if people had tails?

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psychlotron.org.uk What do you need to be able to do to answer that question? How might the responses of younger children differ from yours?

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psychlotron.org.uk Today’s session You are learning about...You are learning to... Piaget’s formal operational stage Tests of systematic & abstract thinking Compare and criticise ways of investigating children’s cognition

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psychlotron.org.uk What are operations? How do you think concrete and formal operations might be different?

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations Concrete operations are carried out on things whereas formal operations are carried out on ideas. From about 12 years children can follow the form of a logical argument without reference to its content.

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations Concrete problem: Cristiano is older than Beyonce. Chardonnay is younger than Wayne. Wayne is younger than Beyonce. Beyonce is older than Chardonnay. – Christiano (oldest) – Beyonce – Wayne – Chardonnay (youngest) Formal problem: A>B; C C – A>B>D>C

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations In the stage of formal operations people can think logically about: – Relationships between abstracts – Hypothetical situations (e.g. the ‘tails’ question)

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations Arrange yourselves in groups of four. Decide who will be children and who researchers. – Children: use the apparatus provided to work out what determines how fast a pendulum swings. – Researchers: observe carefully and note the strategies used by the children.

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations Children become systematic in their thinking and make logical plans in order to solve problems.

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psychlotron.org.uk Formal operations Pendulum problem: – Concrete operations – haphazard approach, with many variables being changed simultaneously. Solutions are accidental. – Formal operations – systematic approach, one variable altered whilst others held constant. Solution is logically arrived at.

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psychlotron.org.uk Piaget & Inhelder (1958): The four beaker problem 4 beakers labelled 1-4 containing colourless liquid One beaker labelled ‘g’ which contains a chemical that can be added to the others using an eye dropper Spare empty beakers A few drops of ‘g’ are added to two further unlabelled beakers containing colourless liquid – One turns yellow while the other remains colourless Participants have to use the liquids in the four beakers to try and get the same yellow colour as the researcher

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psychlotron.org.uk How would you expect a 10-year-old’s approach to differ from a 16-year-old’s?

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psychlotron.org.uk What difference can we expect between a Year 7’s and a Sixth Former’s thinking? How can we test this?

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