British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 17 Issue 1 (March 1999), Pages 1-166

Precursors of formal thought: A longitudinal study (pages 61-81)

From 1984 to 1988, a longitudinal study was conducted with 104 children born in 1980. This study was devoted to the development of Piagetian concrete operational thought, using 25 classical Piagetian tasks. Seven years after the end of the study, 62 children from the original sample were again examined in relation to formal thought, general intelligence and spatial and verbal abilities. This paper analyses the data obtained and the relationships between concrete and formal thought. The main results show: (i) the low average attainment in formal thought among 15‐year‐old adolescents; (ii) the reliable measurement of general intelligence provided by Piagetian tasks; and (iii) the strong relationship between early competence in number manipulation and later access to combinatorial and formal thought.

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