Etymology: Gk, synkretismos, combined beliefs; AS, thencan, to think
a stage in the development of the cognitive thought processes of the child during which thought is based purely on what is perceived and experienced. The child is incapable of reasoning beyond the observable or of making deductions or generalizations. Through imaginative play, questioning, interaction with others, and the increasing use of language and symbols to represent objects, the child begins to learn to make associations between ideas and to elaborate concepts. In Piaget's classification, this stage occurs between 2 and 7 years of age and is preceded by the sensorimotor stage of development, when the child progresses from reflex activity to repetitive and imitative behavior. Compare abstract thinking, concrete thinking. syncresis, n.