Logical Thinking (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
The ability to understand and to incorporate the rules of basic logical inference in everyday activities.
Regarded as a universal human trait, the ability to think logically, following the rules of logical inference, has traditionally been defined as a higher cognitive skill. The field of cognitive child psychology was dominated for more than half a century by the Swiss philosopher and psychologist Jean Piaget, whose studies are considered fundamental. Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development. During the sensory-motor stage (ages 0-2), the child learns to experience the world physically and attains a rudimentary grasp of symbols. In the preoperational stage (ages 2-7), symbols are used, but thought is still "preoperational," which means that the child does not understand that a logical, or mathematical, operation can be reversed. The concrete operations stage (ages 6 or 7-11) ushers in logical thinking; children, for instance, understand principles such as cause and effect. The formal operations stage (12-adulthood), introduces abstract thinking (i.e., thought operations that do not need to relate to concrete concepts and phenomena).
Logical thinking, in Piaget's developmental scheme, is operational, which means that it does not appear before the concrete operations stage....
(The entire section is 983 words.)
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