Medicine & USMLE

Concrete Operational Cognition

Piaget Cognitive Development
  1. Sensorimotor Cognition
  2. Preoperational Cognition
  3. Concrete Operational Cognition
  4. Formal Operational Cognition


The Concrete Operational stage of development is the third of Jean Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. Children are in this stage from ages 7-11: you should think grade-school aged kids. In this stage, children develop the principle of conservation. That is to say, these kids understand that a given amount of liquid is conserved when it is poured from one container into another container of a different size.

Key Points

  • Concrete Operational
    • Period: 7 - 11 years (grade school children)
    • Understands conservation 
      • E.g. The total amount of liquid is conserved when poured between two differently shaped cups
      • Can grasp concrete analogies/relations
    • Mathematics/Arithmetic competence develops

Can categorize objects (e.g. cars, trucks → automobiles)