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The Process of Intellectual Development

This Section picks out some of the main threads which underlie Piaget's view of the nature of intellectual development. In making such a summary, much of the subtlety of Piaget's insights will be lost and some change of emphasis must result. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the following outline will serve as a guide for those who wish to read the psychology at first hand. At the outset, one point can be borne in mind. Piaget has divided the developmental sequence into stages and periods. The range of these is stated using chronological age. However, it is clear from Piaget's writings that the ages he gives for certain levels of thinking can be regarded only as guide-lines, or rough averages, for children's development. One can expect to find that there is considerable deviation from these norms. Some children do not reach the end of the developmental sequence. Some reach a given stage earlier or later than others. At any given stage in the sequence, modes of thinking characteristic of the earlier stages are present, and on occasions children may revert to modes of thinking which are more characteristic of earlier years.