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Chapter 18– Emerging Adulthood: Cognitive Development

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1 Chapter 18– Emerging Adulthood: Cognitive Development
The Developing Person Through the Life Span 8e by Kathleen Stassen Berger Chapter 18– Emerging Adulthood: Cognitive Development Add Postformal Thought from 7e, PowerPoint Slides developed by Martin Wolfger and Michael James Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington Reviewed by Raquel Henry Lone Star College, Kingwood

2 Postformal Thought A proposed stage of cognitive development, after Piaget’s 4 stages Extends adolescent thinking by being more practical, flexible, and dialectical Characterized by “problem finding” Person is more open with ideas and less concerned with absolute right and wrong

3 Time Management A struggle for emerging adults but usually mastered as cognition matures Delay discounting Tendency to undervalue, or ignore, future consequences and rewards in favor of immediate gratification i.e. going to the beach instead of studying for a final

4 Really a Stage? Piaget’s theory of child cognition and post-formal thought stage is controversial Prefrontal cortex is not mature until one’s early 20’s Most cultures describe adult thought as qualitatively different from adolescent thought

5 Really a Stage? Informed by Experience
Labouvie-Vief investigated age differences in self-descriptions. These were categorized as: protective (high in self-involvement, low in self-doubt) dysregulated (fragmented, overwhelmed by emotions or problems) complex (valuing openness and independence above all) integrated (able to regulate emotions and logic)

6 Really a Stage?

7 Combining Subjective and Objective Thought
Subjective thought Thinking that is based on personal qualities of the individual thinker (i.e. experiences, culture, goals) Objective thought Thinking that is not based on thinker’s personal qualities but instead based valid facts and numbers

8 Cognitive Flexibility
Helps people deal with unforeseen events Helps avoid retreating into emotions or intellect A hallmark of postformal cognition A characteristic more common in emerging adults than younger people Listening to others and considering diverse opinions

9 Countering Stereotypes
Stereotype Threat The possibility that one’s appearance or behavior will be misread to confirm another’s oversimplified, prejudiced attitudes. The mere possibility of being negatively stereotyped arouses anxiety that can disrupt cognition and distort emotional regulation. Makes people of all ages doubt their ability, which reduces learning if their anxiety interferes with cognition.

10 Dialectical Thought The most advanced cognitive process
Ability to consider a thesis and its antithesis and arrive at a synthesis Being able to see the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, possibilities and limitations Dialectical thinking is rare in adolescents, more often found in middle-aged people

11 Dialectical Thought Thesis Antithesis Synthesis A statement of belief
A statement of belief that opposes the thesis Synthesis A new idea that integrates the thesis and its antithesis, thus representing a new and more comprehensive level of truth

12 Morals and Religion Adult responsibilities, experiences, and education affect moral reasoning and religious beliefs. Maturation of values appears first in emerging adulthood Moral decisions are least likely in early adolescence

13 Which Era? What Place? Culture determines whether or not a particular issue is a moral one. The power of culture makes it difficult to assess whether adult morality changes with age because changing opinions can be judged as improvements or declines. The process of moral thinking improves with age.

14 Which Era? What Place?

15 Dilemmas for Emerging Adults
Gender differences Morality of care The tendency of females to be reluctant to judge right and wrong in absolute terms due to socialization Morality of justice The tendency of males to emphasize justice over compassion and judging right and wrong in absolute terms

16 Dilemmas for Emerging Adults
Measuring Moral Growth Defining Issues Test (DIT) A way to measure moral thinking by having the test takers rank possible solutions to moral dilemmas Developed by James Rest

17 Stages of Faith 1: Intuitive-projective, ages 3-7 2: Mythic-literal, ages 7-11, some adults 3: Synthetic-conventional, conformist 4: Individual-reflective, active commitment 5: Conjunctive: postformal way of thinking, rarely achieved before middle-age 6: Universalizing: transforming experience may cause this, rarely achieved

18 Cognitive Growth and Higher Education
The Effects of College Most contemporary students attend college primarily to secure their vocational and financial future. College also correlates with better health - graduates everywhere smoke less, eat better, exercise more, and live longer. There is no doubt that tertiary education improves verbal and quantitative abilities, knowledge of specific subject areas, skills in various professions, reasoning, and reflection.

19 Changes in the College Context
Changes in the Students No longer for elite few Rates of college grads worldwide is up In most developed nations, there are more females than males in college Fewer students major in liberal arts, more in business and professions (e.g. law and medicine)

20 Changes in the Students

21 Changes in the Students

22 Changes in the College Context
Changes in Institutions The U.S. has twice as many colleges as it did 50 years ago. More career programs Hire more part time faculty, more women and minorities Income most important reason on whether an emerging adult will go to college or not

23 Evaluating the Changes
Diversity and enrollment The increased diversity of the student body is more likely to encourage than discourage learning. Graduates and dropouts A correlation between college ed. and later income is stronger now than before due to the loss of unskilled jobs.

24 Graduates and Dropouts

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