Formal Operations (age 12 up)
The ability to think systematically about all the logical relations within a problem. Thinking about abstractions, ideals, and about the process of thinking itself.
Reality is made Secondary to Possibility
Thought operates on a theoretical plane.
Thinking about possibilities - what's not immediately present, not directly observed.
What might occur.
Abstract & Hypothetical
Thought deals with propositions, no longer only objects.
This is seen in:
Thinking ahead - planning for the future.
Thinking about hypotheses - counter factuals.
Thinking about thought - metacognition.
Thinking beyond conventional limits - idealism.
Thought is Flexible
Complex problems can be handled.
All possible combinations can be considered.
Mental operations form a structured whole.
An equilibrated system of thought.