Psychology 1 A
July 6, 2010
The Preoperational Stage
The preoperational is the second stage of Piaget’s cognitive development theory.
Children in this stage of development are between the ages of two to seven years old ( (Myers,
2004). The hallmark of the preoperational stage is sparse and logically inadequate mental
operations. During this stage, the child learns to use and to represent objects by images, words,
and drawings (Wikipedia, 2010). Language development is one of the hallmarks of this period. Piaget noted that children in this stage do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot mentally
manipulate information, and are unable to take the point of view of other people, which he
termed egocentrism (Cherry, 2010).
During the preoperational stage, children also become increasingly adept at using
symbols, as evidenced by the increase in playing and pretending (Cherry, 2010). As this stage the
child cannot see or understand other people’s thoughts, and they feel people have the same
thoughts or feelings along with them. Role playing also becomes important during the
preoperational stage. Piaget used a number of creative and clever techniques to study the mental
abilities of children. One of the famous techniques egocentrism involved using a three-
dimensional display of a mountain scene (Cherry, 2010). Invariably, children almost always
choose the scene showing their own view of the mountain scene (Cherry, 2010). Children are
limited at doing certain things at that age and therefore a lot of imagination takes place.
Children tend to become very curious and ask many questions which begin the use of
primitive reasoning. There is an emergence in the interest of reasoning and wanting to know why
things are the way they are. Piaget called it the intuitive sub stage because children realize they
have a vast amount of knowledge but they are unaware of how they know it (Wikipedia, 2010).
Children at the preoperational stage should be able to tell friends and family wild stories because
the child at this stage of development has a broad imagination. This stage of development
represents the greatest amount of equities growth throughout the lifespan.
References Cherry, K. (2010). About.com Guide. Retrieved from
Myers, D. G. (2004). Psychology (7th ed.). New York, New York: Worth. Wikipedia. (2010). Retrieved from