Most cognitive development research occurs in childhood. Cognitive change and development in
adulthood occurs also.
Cognitive changes in early adulthood: display autonomy, sense of self, abstract thought and
reasoning. Post-adolescene to middle adulthood is early 20s. Early 20s to early 40s is early
adulthood. Piaget called this postformal thought. Can reason and logic is easy somewhat because
some people rely heavily on schema to deal with structured environment.
Perry called this epistemic cognition. 'if' and 'then'. Reasoning is becoming stronger skill. Info-
processing is quick to create or reject a solution if problem is not significant, choosing. This is
pragmatic thought. Labouvie-Vief: pragmatic though, cognitive-affective complexity.
Epistemic Cognition:- Dualistic thinking-more than one way of seeing things, abstract questions
exist, multiple solutions related to a question.
-relativistic thinking-problem doesn’t have a solution at all. Ie/no such thing as the absence of
motion, doesn't exist. Theoretical answer- zero kelvin
-commitment within relativistic thinking.
Challenges, opportunities to reflect, and peers all contribute to development.
Development of Pragmatic thought: coming up with unique solutions to novel problems.
Ie/study groups. Thinking outside of the box when old solutions don’t work. Use information
technology as new ways of thinking.Appreciate and learn the art of comprise, especially for
learning in groups to bounce ideas.
Adulthood brings the change to solve real world problems: balancing roles, new ways of
-Cognitive-affective complexity grows: adult emotional intelligence is own subdivision of study.
Reasons we have affection is because emotions help to prioritize our cognitive tasks.
Unemotional robot not more efficient. Harnessing own emotions to learn better about yourself,
preferences that relate to your strong skills are good emotions.Anxious so will study for test.
Early adulthood learning to harness emotions called emotional intelligence. Emotion and
cognition are complementary, make cognition more efficient, problem with too much emotion or
cognition. Cognitive-affective peak in late 20s, really high at 60 and decline in older age. Why?
Frontal lobe is deteriorating at older age which is why elderly blurt what they feel-due to a decay
in frontal functioning. The emotional cognitive relationship is beginning to decay. Due to
Expertise and Creativity
Two types of intelligence changes throughout adulthood. Fluid is most visible during early
adulthood. Research shows peak at creativity. Acquiring knowledge not at the peak of acquiring
knowledge so at 19 go to uni. The peak is fluid as well as peak at creativity.
Expertise- takes several years, acquisition of extensive knowledge in a field, easy to do this,
affects info processing, so speed increase, large capacity.
Effects on creativity: move to problem finding-more p-s skills, 10 year rule- 21 and 30, new
solutions in grad school or as young scientists, creativity usually rises in early adulthood,
requires multiple qualities. The college experience: formative, influential 'developmental testing ground'. Exposure to new
ideas, beliefs, demands leads to cognitive growth, new thinking patterns: relativistic thinking,
increased self-understanding. Depends on participation in campus life. Learn life lessons,
because going to around for another 60 years. Not just grades. Learning how to solve problems
meaning that there may not be an ideal solution to a problem and other way cognitively changing
is learning how to communicate effectively, concisely and efficiently.
Dropping out:Attrition rate: 30-50 percent drop out. Personal factors: preparation, motivation,
skills, financial problems, low SES. Learning how to think, university is not the way, this is a
smart choice. Institutional factors: little help, community and cultural disrespect. Early support
crucial. Your own acknowledgement to drop a course is smart. Not a lot of support from the
university. Lots of academic opportunities-expertise.
Fluid: depends on basic info-processing skills: detecting relationships among stimuli: function
of creativity, analytical speed, working memory efficient
Crystallized: skills that depend on: accumulated knowledge, experience, good judgement,
mastery of social conventions.
Seeing changes in early 20s to 40s. Good at both of these middle adolescence. Valued by person's
culture. Beginning of middle age, cognitively sharp, prime for most people because have both
intelligences and physical energy. Have experience at this point, prime of your life.
Individual and group factors in high intelligence scores:
Lifestyle: high education, complex job or leisure, lasting marriage and belong to a high SES.
Personal: have a flexible personality, are physically healthy, gender, cohort, perceptual speed.
In middle adulthood- men do favourably better than women, depends on cohort (social
component) people around you.
Longitudinal trends in mental abilities: early adulthood, perceptual speed the strongest skill.
Numerical ability declines the most. More than one measure of cognitive processing: verbal,
inductive: vague, deductive :if, then, spatial. Mid 40's at prime. 60s late adulthood-processing
Age-related slowing of info processing: neural network view: neurons in brain die, breaking
neural connections, brain forms new connections, new connections are less efficient. Early
adulthood have too many neurons, born with too many, they are pruned, if not used they wither
away by middle adulthood. Working memory less efficient, closer to 60 so capacity shrinks and
speed declines precipitously.
Info-loss view: info lost at each step through cognitive system, whole system slows down to
inspect, interpret information.
Attention in middle adulthood: difficulties in multi-tasking, focusing on relevant info and
filtering becomes less efficient, switching attention between tasks-set shift-taking a moment to
attend a new thing also shifting two a new schema, connecting visual in