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Fan Liu

VHS AP Psychology
January 27, 2014
Childhood Development Theories
1. What are the general characteristics of the sensorimotor stage child?
A child during this stage is usually a baby or a toddler, from age 0 to age 2. The child is
experiencing the world around him or her through senses and motor. He or she would be scared
of strangers and would believe in object permanence.
On encountering Santa, what would the sensorimotor stage child

observe? The child would be stimulated the appearance of Santa, who has long,
white hair and a big, fat red costume. The childs senses are highlighted.

think and feel? The child might touch Santa Clauss beard and feel a sense of
security. Other times, the child might become scared by this Santa Claus figure due
to stranger anxiety.

believe? The child is unaware that Santa Claus exists because they have no preexisting schemas. They dont think of the strange man as Santa Claus, rather they
just think of him as a strange being, because there is no Santa Claus schema yet.

2. What are the general characteristics of the preoperational stage child?

These children are 2 7 years old. They are beginning to develop schemas and reason intuitively
rather than logically. They enjoy pretend play and have a sense of egotism.
On encountering Santa, what would the preoperational stage child

observe? Children have accepted the idea of Santa Claus as a happy, generous, and
kind person who exists.

think and feel? The child feels a deep sense of connecting with Santa Claus, because
of family traditions. The child is excited during Christmas time and can usually turn
very hyper. They believe that Santa is watching over them, although it is not logically

believe? The child in this stage believes in Santa despite the logical fallacies. Anyone
who states Santa is not real to the preoperational child is challenging his or her
sincere beliefs.

The breakdown in belief in Santa Claus tends to correspond with a childs transition into the
concrete operational stage.
3. What are the general characteristics of the concrete operational stage child?

The child is 7 to 11 years old. They are starting to think logically about the world. They are able to
develop reasoning skills which will serve them throughout life. They are becoming more mathaware and develop conservation skills in volume.
On encountering Santa, what would the concrete operational stage child

observe? They will see multiple men dressed up as Santa and know that they cant
all possible be one man.

think and feel? The children start to feel a sense of disconnect with Santa. They start
to think that it is illogical for a man to be able to fly all the way across the world in
one night and eat all of those cookies.

believe? These children dont believe in Santa anymore, or the few who do start to
question his existence. Santa cant possibly travel to a billion houses in one night, it is
illogical. Similarly, a man cannot fly on a sleigh with reindeer.

How do these transitional experiences differ from the characteristics of the formal
operational child and adult?

Formal operational reasoning begins to develop an abstract view instead of a

concrete one found in the concrete operational stage. From age 12 to adulthood,
people develop abstract reasoning skills, or the ability to comprehend ideas or
philosophies that are not tangible and simply exist in our minds. They are able to
reason theoretical and hypothetic situations. They also develop a potential for moral
reasoning. They begin to see themselves as part of a community, rather than as one
person during the preoperational stage.