Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University,
Background. To build modern effective programs for the development of preschoolers’ logical thinking, it is necessary to study the specifics of the operational structures functioning within their thought systems. According to Piaget, two operational groups of thought develop in parallel and synchrony: 1) logical-mathematical (classification, seriation, and invariant construction — the conservation principle); and 2) spatial-temporal — the structuring of space (linear ordering [LO], transformation of geometric forms [TGS], reconstruction of sensorimotor space at the level of representations [RSMS]) and time. However, there has been no empirical verification of the significant links between the levels of development of an individual’s logical-mathematical and spatial-temporal operations in his/her system of thought.
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the links between the elements of the logical-mathematical and spatial-operational structures in preschoolers’ systems of thought.
Design. The study involved the following steps: 1) Individual diagnosis of the developmental level of logical-mathematical and spatial operations in 52 preschool children (5,8 – 7,1 years) using classica Piaget techniques and the Bender-Gestalt test; 2) identification of the operational developmental stage of each examinee; and 3) identification of the nature of the links between the logical-mathematical and spatial operational structures within each child’s thinking system, using statistical tools for data analysis (ρ Spearman; regression analysis).
Results. Statistically significant differences between the developmental levels of spatial and logical-mathematical operations were revealed, as well as between the levels of development of spatial operations LO, TGS, and RSMS as measured by the Bender-Gestalt test. It was found that all the spatial operations (LO, TGS, RSMS) were conceived at a higher level than logical-mathematical operations (classification, seriation, and the conservation principle). Significant predictors of the development of logical-mathematical/spatial operations were identified.
Conclusions. Piaget’s hypothesis that the development of the logical-mathematical and spatial operations within a child’s thinking system is an interconnected process has received statistical justification in this study. The data we obtained suggest that both operational structures have similar sets of features. As proof that an internal causal nexus between the logical- mathematical and spatial structures exists, it is necessary to conduct formative experiments in which some thought operations (predictors) will be formed by training, while previously missing operations are induced to appear in the child’s thinking system indirectly.
Keywords: logical thinking system, logical operations, spatial operations, preschoolers, Piaget