Reflective abstraction

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Reflective abstraction is a Piagetian concept that develops in the formal operational stage.

It describes how adolescents acquire knowledge for the first time by thinking about their thoughts and abstracting from these personal reflections. This enables them to notice inconsistencies in their mental sets and gives them the ability to think morally and socially. As adolescents obtain this ability they become capable of understanding others’ point of view and can view the world accordingly.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Galotti, K (2008). Cognitive Psychology: In and Out of the Laboratory (4 ed.). Thomson Wadsworth.