physical and cognitive development in young adulthood l.
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Physical and Cognitive Development in Young Adulthood. Dr. Arra PSY 232. Young Adulthood (22 – 40). Piaget Cognitive development beyond formal operational stage Postformal thought Acknowledged by Piaget. Young Adulthood. Perry’s Cognitive Theory (1970, 1981) Interviewed college students

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young adulthood 22 40
Young Adulthood (22 – 40)


  • Cognitive development beyond formal operational stage
  • Postformal thought
  • Acknowledged by Piaget
young adulthood
Young Adulthood

Perry’s Cognitive Theory (1970, 1981)

  • Interviewed college students
  • Younger students engaged in dualistic thinking
  • Dualistic thinking: dividing information, values, and authority into right and wrong, good and bad, us and them, black and white
young adulthood4
Young Adulthood


  • Older students engaged in relativistic thinking
  • Relativistic thinking: viewing all knowledge as embedded in a framework of thought; absolute truths are abandoned and truths become multiple and contextualized; comfortable with the gray
young adulthood5
Young Adulthood

SCHAIE’S THEORY (1977, 1978)

  • Stage theory
  • Acquisition Stage (childhood & adolescence) stage devoted to acquiring knowledge
  • Achieving Stage (early adulthood) focus less on acquiring knowledge and more on applying it (e.g., job, marriage/family)
young adulthood6
Young Adulthood


3) Responsibility Stage: (middle adulthood)

responsibilities expand beyond job and family > to the community; cognition extends to situations involving social obligations

4) Reintegrative Stage: (late adulthood) as people retire they reintegrate their interests, attitudes, and values as a way of guiding the quality of their lifestyle; no need to acquire new knowledge or monitor long-term decisions; focus on daily activities

young adulthood7
Young Adulthood

Labouvie-Vief’s Theory (1980, 1985)

  • Adult thinking centers around pragmatic thought
  • Logic is the tool for solving real-world problems
  • Adults specialize in their job fields
young adulthood8
Young Adulthood

Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence

  • Experiential element: insightful or creative aspect of intelligence
  • Contextual element: practical intelligence
  • Componential element: analytic aspect of intelligence
young adulthood9
Young Adulthood


  • An aspect of practical intelligence
  • Tacit knowledge – commonsense knowledge of how to get ahead; largely acquired on one’s own; can include self-management skills, task management skills, and the ability to manage others
young adulthood10
Young Adulthood

Expertise – acquisition of extensive knowledge in a field or endeavor

Development of Expertise is supported by:

  • Selecting a college major; graduate school; job
  • Someone with expertise can reason and remember very quickly and efficiently
young adulthood11
Young Adulthood


  • Senescence (biological aging) – genetically influenced declines in the functioning of organs and systems
  • Body structures reach maximum capacity and efficiency in the teens and twenties
young adulthood12
Young Adulthood
  • Vision: 30> lens stiffens and thickens, ability to focus on close objects declines
  • Cardiovascular (gradual) heart muscle becomes more rigid, maximum heart rate decreases; artery walls stiffen and accumulate plaque, blood flow to body cells is reduced
  • Respiratory (gradual) respiratory capacity decreases due to stiffening of connective tissue in the lungs
young adulthood13
Young Adulthood
  • Skeletal 30> cartilage in joints thins and cracks, leading bone ends beneath it to erode
  • Reproductive 35> fertility problems and risk of having a baby with a chromosomal disorder increase
young adulthood14
Young Adulthood


  • Defined as greater than 20% increase over average body weight
  • 20% of young adults are obese
  • Risks: high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart attack, sleep disorders
young adulthood15
Young Adulthood


  • Well-balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Social support
  • Long-term treatment: (25-40 weeks) allow people time to develop new habits
young adulthood16
Young Adulthood


  • Individuals move through stages (Ginzberg, 1972; Super, 1980)
  • Fantasy period – early and middle childhood; children fantasize about glamorous and exciting careers
  • Tentative period – early and middle adolescence – evaluate vocational options in terms of interests and ability
young adulthood17
Young Adulthood

3) Realistic Period (late adolescence and early adulthood) individuals start to narrow their options by focusing on a general vocational category; experimenting and then settling on a single occupation

young adulthood18
Young Adulthood

Factors influencing vocational choice

  • Personality
  • Family
  • Teachers/Mentors
  • Gender Stereotypes