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PSYCH315 Lecture Notes - Grey Matter, Divergent Thinking, Executive Functions

Course Code
Maureen Drysdale

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Sept. 25, 2012
Psych 315
Physical Changes in the Brain
Two stages of pruning first stage (grey matter being developed) 2nd stage (gray matter being
thinned out and white matter is thickening where in the nerve signal transitions are faster and
better (better decision making and more adult thinking; occurs well in 30s)
o Genetics
o Use it or lose it principle the more you use it, the less you lose it
Last part to be pruned very last part to be developed
o Prefontal cortex home of executive functions responsible for planning, setting
priorities, organizing your thoughts, suppressing impulses and weighing consequences
of your actions
See Handout
Cognitive development
How does cognition change during adolescent period?
o INFLUENCE: Adolescent on the environment and environment on adolescent
1. Qualitative changes how they’re thinking changes; What is changing?
2. Quantities changes how much do they know? How much new information are they
Piaget: 4 stages
o Sensory motor
o Pre-operational stage
o Concrete operational
o Formal operational change abstract and hypothetical thinking (children recognizing
that their thought about reality are different); thinking advance
They’re knowing that right answers are context specific
If and only if I’ll be happy if and only if I get that????
Information processing becomes more advanced during adolescents
- Executive functions
o Decision making is better; making more and better decisions; better at recognizing
valid information and questioning invalid information
o Reasoning they can construct theories, has better reasoning, moving towards
deductive thinking and become better at testing theories and they test them
o Critical thinking and idealism more strategies from which you could obtain
knowledge; we realize the actual is less than ideal that’s why we get to be involved
in protests and everything because we now know that the world is not just
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