Postformal thought refers to thinking characterized by a recognition that truth varies across situations, that solutions must be realistic to be reasonable, that ambiguity and contradiction are the rule rather than the exception, and that emotion and subjective factors play a role in thinking. Postformal thought is a qualitatively new form of thinking that emerges after formal operational thought that involves a higher use of reflection and the integration of contextual, relativistic, and subjective knowledge.

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