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p. 303. Formal operational thought, moral development, and identitylocked

  • Peter K. Smith


Cognitive development occurs throughout childhood, and it is marked by advances in perceptual abilities, short- and long-term memory, ability to focus attention selectively, and reasoning abilities. Such advances continue in adolescence, generally but also in specific ways, notably: metacognition (being able to think about your own thinking processes), abstract reasoning, and hypothesis testing (as in scientific reasoning). Following from this are the possibility of higher levels of moral reasoning; so-called adolescent egocentrism; and a quest for identity—reflecting on who you are and what you want to be. ‘Formal operational thought, moral development, and identity’ considers the three major theorists in these domains: Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Erik Erikson.

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