ED PSYCH 321 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Prefrontal Cortex, Metacognition, Social Cognition

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Adolescent Cognition Cont'd
Prefrontal Cortex
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is activated when engaged in complicated
activities such as
o Planning/resisting impulses
o Decision-making
o Setting goals
o Metacognition
Why is adolescence marked by experience of being more emotional
o They experience world differently than adults
Misread social cues
Process social cues much slower
o Lack of synchronization between emotional and rational parts of the brain
Back to cognition
Cognition: aspects of human mind related to acquisition, modification, and manipulation of
knowledge in particular contexts
o Knowledge
o Cognitive processes
o Metacognition
Changes in cognition (thinking)
Compared to children, adolescents are more sophisticated in ability to
o Think about possibilities
Makes it adolescents more argumentative
o Think about abstract concepts
o Think about thinking
Can think about own behaviors and actions
o Think in multiple dimensions
Able to understand irony, satire, etc.
o See knowledge as relative
Certain factors that can change an argument in one direction into another
Adolescent thinking: Piaget's View
Formal operations
Cognitive developmental view: cognitive processing goes through fixed sequence of four
qualitatively distinct stages
o Interaction between biological change and environmental stimulation which leads to
intellectual growth
Each stage is characterized by a particular type of though
But … adolescent thinking is thought to be qualitatively different from type of thinking
employed by children
Piaget limitations
Not all adults develop formal operational thinking
Critiques of stage-theory
o Do we all go through these stages
o Are they consistent and rigid as once thought
Very little research supports stage theory
Information processing
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