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Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development

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Cognitive Development

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  1. Cognitive Development August 8, 2005

  2. Cognitive Development • Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/ • Take Home Messages: • Cognitive development explodes during adolescence • Situational, not consistent across all areas • Influences both social and inner worlds

  3. Myths • Cognitive development is consistent and even • Teens are able to use their newfound intelligence to make the right decisions consistently • Adolescents avoid thinking about their own thinking

  4. Brain Reorganization • Head and brain size increase during physical development • Neural development – electrical pathways in the brain increase, networks increase in size and number, linkages overlap/intersect • Frontal lobe/cerebral cortex – higher order thinking (abstract) • Nutrition important – need sleep, vitamins, no drugs/alcohol, etc.

  5. Brain Hemispheres • Lateralization – two sides of the brain differentiate • Generally, boys have brains that are more lateralized (testosterone?) • Right-handed – language located in the left hemisphere • Left-handed males – less lateralized for language

  6. Information Processing • “Mind as a computer” • Two assumptions • Knowledge as a process, sequential • Limited capacity (memory)

  7. Information Processing • Input – anything in the environment • Sensory memory – information received through senses (sight, hearing, etc.) • Short-term – “7 bits” +/- of information • Chunking – SS#, phone numbers • Long-term – stored, can be retrieved later

  8. Processes • Strategies used • Rehearsal – repetition • Association – “tree” • Mnemonics – using images, letters • Serial positioning • Primacy – first on a list • Recency – last learned, first out

  9. Changes in Thinking • Volume (quantity) and type (quality) • Faster – have greater knowledge base • Abstraction – hypothetical, other perspectives/points of view • Possibilities – more systematic, consider alternatives, several ways to address problems

  10. Changes in Thinking • Multiple dimensions – understand sarcasm (and start using it a lot!), multiple interpretations, see multiple aspects • Metacognition/Meta-thinking – thinking about thinking, affects social life…think about what others think about us

  11. Changes in Thinking • Relativism – fewer absolutes, see shades of gray, may go overboard and question everything (rampant relativism) • Cognitive self-regulation – not just behavioral, includes memory strategies (mnemonics), rehearsal

  12. Temporary Problems • Premature judgment – more likely, cognitive shortcuts • Fragmented knowledge – understand pieces, but not the whole, trouble pulling info from other areas and applying it • Rampant relativism – question everything, even basics • Pseudostupidity – miss obvious answer

  13. Gender Differences • Socialized vs. biologically determined • Verbal/math ability • Achievement, intelligence tests • Gaps closing in many areas • Spatial ability – differences appear by age 10, stabilize • Higher androgen levels, higher spatial • Girls mature earlier, spatial dev curtailed? • Social – differential rewards