Adolescence

Adolescence

The Transitional Years
1983, Pages 138-169
Adolescence

5 - COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

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This chapter discusses the cognitive development in adolescence. Adolescents are more capable than children of formulating hypotheses and examining evidence for or against them. They are able to engage in this type of reasoning even when the original premises are false. Research has confirmed a shift toward greater hypothesis use in adolescence. The ability to generate alternatives and hypothetical solutions is related to creative thinking. Ironically, adolescents appear to be less creative in their thinking than children. One suggestion to explain this apparent discrepancy is that adolescents have a greater potential for creativity, but they express the potential less frequently than children because they become more sensitive to peer judgment during adolescence. Cognitive-developmental theory is primarily concerned with the stages in modes of thinking. Cognitive structures undergo progressive elaboration, in Piaget's stage model, through a process known as equilibration. The individual uses cognitive structures to interpret features of the environment—external reality. Environmental information causes the structures themselves to change when the structures are inadequate for handling new information.

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