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Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach Chapter 3 . Cognitive Foundations. Chapter Overview. Change in thinking Problem solving Memory and attention Cognitive development Theories of cognition Role of culture. Piaget’s Theory.
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Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural ApproachChapter 3 Cognitive Foundations
Chapter Overview • Change in thinking • Problem solving • Memory and attention • Cognitive development • Theories of cognition • Role of culture
Piaget’s Theory • Children of different ages think differently • Changes in cognitive development proceed in distinct stages (e.g. discontinuous) • Each person’s cognitive abilities are organized into one coherent mental structure • His approach is known as the cognitive-developmental approach • The driving forces behind development from one stage to the next is maturation
Maturation • Piaget portrayed maturation as an active process • Children seek out information and stimulation in the environment that matches the maturity of their thinking This is in contrast with other theories such as behaviorism who viewed the environment as acting on the child through rewards and punishments
Schemes Assimilation Accommodation Occurs when new information is altered to fit an existing scheme Entails changing the scheme to adapt to the new information Piagetian Schemes
Complex Thinking • Think about an example of a metaphor? • How old do you think you were before you understood the symbolism? • Think about an example of sarcasm? • At what age do you think sarcasm is understood?
Adolescents are aware of their thinking processes. The capacity for “thinking about thinking” enables adolescents to learn and solve problems more efficiently This is called …… … Metacognition!
Limitations of Piaget’s Theory • The stage of formal operations has been the most critiqued • The limitations of Piaget’s theory of formal operations fall into two categories: • Individual differences in the attainment of formal operations • Cultural basis of adolescent cognitive development
A great range of individual differences exist in the extent to which people use formal operations Even in emerging adulthood and beyond, a large proportion of people use formal operations either inconsistently or not at all Adolescents who have had courses in math and science tend to exhibit formal operational thought Concrete operations are sufficient for most daily tasks and problems Limitations - Individual Differences
Limitations – Cultural Basis • While formal operations may be a universal potential the form it takes in each culture is derived from the kinds of cognition requirements people face • There is likely to be considerable variation in the extent to which adolescents and adults display formal operational thought
… Beyond Piaget Post-formal thinking Piaget’s research has inspired theories of cognitive development beyond formal operations known as: Pragmatism Reflective Judgment
Pragmatism • Involves adapting logical thinking to the practical constraints of real-life situations • Cognitive development in the early twenties is distinguished from adolescent development by a greater recognition and incorporation of practical limitations to logical thinking
Reflective Judgment • The capacity to evaluate the accuracy and logical coherence of evidence and arguments • Perry (1970; 1999) investigated reflection in adolescence and emerging adulthood which included: • Dualistic thinking • Multiple thinking • Relativism • Commitment NOTE: Formal operations is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reflective thinking
Information-Processing Approach • Views cognitive change as continuous – gradual and steady • Focus is on the thinking processes that exist at all ages • The original model for this approach was the computer • The computer analogy was to try to break down human thinking into separate capacities of attention, processing, and memory
Information Processing Recent models have moved away from a simple computer analogy and recognized the brain is more complex than any computer In human thinking the different components operate simultaneously
Information processing begins with Stimulus Information that enters the senses Much of what you see, hear and touch is processed no further Information Processing
Long Term Memory – memory for • Information that is committed • to longer-term storage • The capacity of long term memory • is unlimited and information • is retained indefinitely • Short Term Memory – memory for • information that is currently • the focus of your attention • Two types of short term memory: • input and storage and • working memory Information Processing
Speed Adolescents are faster than children at processing information There is an increase in speed of processing from age 10 through the late teens Automaticity This is how much cognitive effort the person needs to devote to processing the information Adolescents show greater automaticity of processing than pre-adolescents Automaticity depends more on experience than on age alone Processing Information
Limitation of Information Processing • Reductionism • Breaking up a phenomenon into separate parts to such an extent that the meaning and coherence of the phenomenon as a whole becomes lost • Holistic Perspective • Information processing scholars have those the holistic perspective that characterized Piaget’s work • Computer Analogy • Computers have no capacity for self-reflection, no awareness of how their cognitive processes are integrated, organized and monitored – which leaves the analogy insufficient and inadequate
The potential for critical thinking…Daniel Keating’s perspective • According to Keating adolescence provides the potential for critical thinking in several ways • A wider range of knowledge is available in long-term memory, across a variety of domains • The ability to consider different kinds of knowledge simultaneously is increased • Morecognitive strategies are available for applying or gaining knowledge CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS DO NOT DEVELOP AUTOMATICALLY! Critical thinking requires a basis of skills and knowledge obtained in childhood along with an educational environment in adolescence that promotes and values critical thinking The American educational system does a poor job of promoting critical thinking
Social cognition is the term used to describe the way we think about other people, social relationships and social institutions Social Cognition
Three aspects of social cognition • Perspective taking - Selman’s research • Implicit personal theories - Barenboim’s research • Adolescent egocentrism - Elkind’s research
Perspective Taking • Is the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others • Selman’s theory of perspective taking is based on a stage approach that children and adolescents go through • The egocentrism of childhood gradually develops into the mature perspective-taking ability of adolescence
Just as you understand that another person has a perspective that is different from you own, you also realize that other persons understand that you have a perspective that is different from theirs Perspective Taking in Adolescence • In early adolescence (ages 10-12) children become capable for the first time of mutual perspective taking
Adolescents come to realize that their social perspectives and those of others are influenced not just by their interaction with each other but also by their roles in the larger society Perspective Taking in Adolescence • In late adolescence children become capable of social and conventional perspective taking
How would this 7 year-old describe her best friend? Implicit Personality Theories • Making judgments about what other persons are like and why they behave the way they do She is very nice because she gives me toffee She is a kind girl but is naughty and silly most of the time
Imaginary Audience Results from adolescents’ limited capacity to distinguish between their thinking about themselves and their thinking about the thoughts of others Personal Fable The belief in an imaginary audience that is highly conscious of how you look and act leads to the belief that there must be something special, something unique about you Adolescent Egocentrism These diminish with age but never disappear entirely for most of us
Optimistic Bias • A concept related to the personal fable • Comes from health psychology research • The tendency to assume that accidents, diseases and other misfortunes are more likely to happen to others than ourselves • Both adolescents and adults have an optimistic bias with regard to health risk behaviour • Adolescents tend to have a stronger optimistic bias than adults
Strong majorities of both adolescents and adults, both smokers and non-smokers, believed that smoking is addictive and deadly “for most people” Studying Optimistic Bias: Smoking
… But look at what happens when the risk is applied to themselves Smokers were more likely than non-smokers to believe that they would not die from smoking for 30-40 years. Studying Optimistic Bias: Smoking
Brief Facts about Intelligence Testing • Attempting to understand human cognition by evaluating cognitive ability with intelligence tests is known as the psychometric approach • The first intelligence test was developed in 1905 by a French psychologist named Alfred Binet • It was just 30 items and assessed performance in areas such as memory and abstract thinking • Louis Terman of Stanford University made some of the most important revisions to the original test and the test is now known as the Stanford-Binet • This test results in an overall score called the IQ (intelligence quotient) • Other widely used tests include: 1) Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III); and 2) Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III)
Fluid Intelligence Refers to mental abilities that involve speed of analyzing, processing, and reacting to information These are the kinds of abilities tapped by the Performance subtests on IQ tests This kind of intelligence peaks in emerging adulthood Crystallized Intelligence Refers to accumulated knowledge and enhance judgment based on experience Subtests like Information, Comprehension and Vocabulary assess this kind of intelligence This kind of intelligence tends to improve through the twenties and thirties “Intelligent” Distinctions
Check out the graph that illustrates this ‘absolute’ point Absolute vs. Relative Performance • Relative performance on IQ tests is very stable • For example, people who score higher than average in childhood tend to score higher than average as adolescents and adults • Absolute performance on IQ tests is not as stable • For example, absolute scores on Verbal sub-tests generally improve from age 16 to 38
Notice how absolute scores on Verbal subtests generally improve from age 16 to 38 Notice how absolute scores on Performance subtests peaked in the midtwenties and then declined An illustration of “absolute” changes
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) • Most American college students have taken the SAT as a requirement for applying to colleges and universities • The SAT started out as an IQ test in the 1920s • The original goal was to test innate intelligence rather than what had been learned in school • It was hoped that this would make it possible to identify bright young people from humble backgrounds • It was thought that this would help colleges identify people with the greatest natural intelligence rather than those from the most privileged families Do you think the SAT is true to its original purpose?
The truth about the SAT • Its ability to predict success in college has always been modest • It has been accused of discriminating against minorities and against females • It has been accused of favoring the elite • Because performance can be enhanced by learning test taking strategies, wealthier students are more likely to affect test preparation courses In response to these criticisms the SAT has recently been dramatically revised to be an achievement test rather than an intelligence test. The new SAT will be used in 2005!
Other Conceptions of Intelligence • Alternative theories of intelligence have been proposed to present a conception of intelligence that is much broader than the traditional one • Two of the most important alternative theories have been presented by: • Robert Sternberg – Triarchic Theory • Howard Gardner – Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Triarchic Theory • Includes three distinct but related forms of intelligence • Componential intelligence –the kind of intelligence that IQ tests measures which involves acquiring, storing, analyzing, and retrieving information • Experiential intelligence – involves the ability to combine information in creative ways to produce new insights, ideas, and problem-solving strategies • Contextual intelligence – is practical intelligence, the ability to apply information to the kinds of problems faced in everyday life, including the capacity to evaluate social situations
Theory of Multiple Intelligences • Includes eight types of intelligence • Linguistic • Logical-mathematical • Spatial • Musical • Bodily-kinesthetic • Naturalist • Interpersonal • Intrapersonal Gardner argues that school show give more attention to the development of all eight kinds of intelligence and develop programs that would be tailored to each child’s individual profile of intelligence
Discussion Detour • Do you agree that all the mental abilities described by Gardner are different types of intelligence? • If not, which would you remove? • Are there other types you would add?
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory • According to this theory, cognitive development is inherently both a social and cultural process • It is social because children learn through interactions with others and require assistance from others in order to learn what they need to know • It is cultural because what children need to know is determined by the culture they live in
Scaffolding Refers to the degree of assistance provided to the adolescent in the zone of proximal development Scaffolding should gradually decrease as children become more competent at a task Zone of Proximal Development Is the gap between what adolescents can accomplish along and what they are capable of doing if guided by an adult or a more competent peer Vygotsky’s Most Influential Ideas Social Process of Learning
Building on Vygotsky’s Legacy • Barbara Rogoff has extending Vygotsky’s theory with the idea of Guided Participation • Refers to the teaching interaction between two people as they participate in a culturally value activity • This guidance is “the direction offered by cultural and social values, as well as social partners Research shows! Despite the rise of a cultural approach to studying psychology far more research is conducted using the cognitive-developmental, information processing and psychometric approaches