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Taking in new environmental information and placing it into different categories. Example: Seeing a dog and understanding it is a dog.
Taking in new environmental information and changing pre-existing categories. Example: Seeing a cat, thinking it is a dog, but later learning it is a cat. This new cat category is created and separated from dogs.
Stage 1
Sensorimotor Stage - In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences (such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions. Infants gain knowledge of the world from the physical actions they perform on it. An infant progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage. By the end, infants understand Object Permanence.
Stage 2
Pre-Operational Stage - During this stage, the child learns to use and to represent objects by images, words, and drawings. The child is able to form stable concepts as well as mental reasoning and magical beliefs. The child however is still not able to perform operations; tasks that the child can do mentally rather than physically. Thinking is still egocentric: The child has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others.
Stage 3
Concrete Operational Stage - This stage, which follows the preoperational stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years, and is characterized by the appropriate use of logic. Seriation - ability to sort objects by size, shape, color. Transivity - ability to recognize logical relationships (A > B, B > C, therefore A > C). Classification. Decentering - can observe many angles of a problem. Reversibility - numbers can be changed then returned to their original state. Conservation - quantity unrelated to arrangement or appearance. Elimination of Egocentricism. Still cannot comprehend abstract problems and concepts.
Stage 4
Formal Operational Stage - Adolescents begin to understand abstract concepts, hypothetical situations. Begin to think like scientists. Egocentricism based on social order.
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