Logical Concept Attainment during the Aging Years

Issues in the Neo-Piagetian Research Literature
  • Frank H. Hooper
  • Nancy W. Sheehan


While there is little question that Piaget’s theory and associated research represent the preeminent conception of logical concept development currently extant, it is also dear that the Genevan orientation to developmental issues offers very little information concerning significant behavioral change beyond the years of adolescence. In brief, the orthodox Piagetian perspective is rather exclusively restricted to the initial years of the human life-span, i.e., birth to maturity. Once the formal operations apex is attained, stability is predicted and no provision for significant cognitive changes, especially of a qualitative nature, is made (cf. Flavell, 1970a; Piaget, 1972b). This conceptual viewpoint is clearly at variance with a considerable number of normative research investigations of Piagetian concept attainment in mature and elderly adults (see recent reviews by Denny, 1974a; Hooper, 1973b; Papalia and Bielby, 1974). The purposes of the present chapter are threefold: (1) to review the normative and experimental assessments of aged individuals’ performances on Piagetian logical-concept tasks; (2) to evaluate this empirical evidence with regard to putative qualitative or structural changes such as those commonly associated with the childhood and adolescent age intervals; and (3) to speculate as to the role certain corollary factors may play in determining the performance of aged individuals on logical-concept tasks.


Elderly Subject Fluid Intelligence Volume Conservation Task Format Formal Operation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank H. Hooper
    • 1
  • Nancy W. Sheehan
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Family Studies ProgramUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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