Adolescent Egocentrism and Formal Operations. Tests of a Theoretical Assumption

Daniel K. Lapsley, Matt Milstead, Stephen M. Quintana, Daniel Flannery, Raymond R. Buss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The theoretical relation between adolescent egocentrism and formal operations was addressed in two studies. In the first study this relation was assessed with the Adolescent Egocentrism Scale (AES) and a battery of formal reasoning tasks devised by Lunzer, administered to a sample of 6th-, 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade subjects. The results revealed only significant negative or nonsignificant correlations between the measures in early adolescence. There was also no evidence of significant developmental covariation from early to middle adolescence. The validation effort was extended in Study 2 to include the two extant measures of adolescent egocentrism (AES and the Imaginary Audience Scale, or IAS) and a second battery of formal operations problems (Test of Logical Thinking). These measures were administered to a sample of 7th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students and to a sample of college undergraduates. There was once again no evidence of significant developmental covariation among the measures. The correlations between the AES and IAS were modest, reflecting differences in the nature and content of the measures. Little support exists in this study or in the literature for the crucial theoretical assumption of adolescent egocentrism. Suggestions for future research are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-807
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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