You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or sign in to view the full course.

Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

3. The Pre-Operational Stage

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or sign in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite
  • Image Credits

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the pre-operational stage (2-7 years), a stage of cognitive development in which the child is now able to form representations of objects which it cannot see but is not yet able to mentally manipulate these representations. As a demonstration of this limitation in the pre-operational child, we look at Piaget’s conservation task. Next, we think about the pre-operational child’s ‘egocentrism’ which describes its inability to imagine a view of the world that differs from its own. Finally, we look at Piaget’s three mountain task as a way of measuring the child’s ability to overcome their egocentric world view.


In this course, Dr Richard O’Connor (University of Hull) discusses Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. We begin, in module one, by getting to grips with the key concepts of Piaget’s theory, including his proposed stages of cognitive development, before moving on to discuss each stage in turn. Module two looks at the sensorimotor stage, module three considers the pre-operational stage and module four examines the stages of concrete and formal operations. Finally, in module five, we think about the crucial influence Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has had and continues to have on later research in the field of developmental psychology.


Dr Richard O'Connor is a cognitive developmental psychologist with research interests in cognition from infancy through to adulthood.

Particular areas of interest include theory of mind, representation of objects and actions, and word learning.

Dr O'Connor joined the University of Hull in August 2016, after completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge and teaching positions at Royal Holloway and the University of Oxford.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Connor, R. (2019, September 27). Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development - The Pre-Operational Stage [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Connor, Richard. "Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development – The Pre-Operational Stage." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

• "Teddy bear" by

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures