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Chapter 3

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Virginia K Walker

Chapter 3 • Changes in cognition in adolescence include: • Better able to think about what is possible instead of limiting their thought to what is real o For a child what is possible is what is real whereas for an adolescent, what is real is just a subset of what is possible. o As a child you are simply who you are but as an adolescent, who you are is one possibility of who you could be. o Advantage for adolescents is that they are able to generate alternative possibilities and explanations systematically and to compare what they actually observe with what they believe is possible. o As a result, children become better arguers so they do not accept other people’s point unquestionably but evaluate them against other possible beliefs. o Deductive reasoning type of logical reasoning in which you draw logically necessary conclusions from a general set of premises. o Adolescence are better than kids to recognize when a logical problem does not provide sufficient info and to respond by saying that the question can’t be answered with any certainty. This is because they are able to catch themselves before they incorrectly answer the question and pause for a moment before responding. o The ability to stop yourself before acting automatically is controlled by a region of the brain that has been shown to mature during adolescence. o Inductive reasoningdrawing an inference from the evidence that one has and so it varies in their likelihood of being true. I.E. you find out many of your classmates have gotten poor grade on a test so you worry that you will. o Hypothetical thinking”if- then” thinking in which you need to see beyond what is directly observable and apply logical reasoning to anticipate what might be possible. I.E: need hypothetical thinking to formulate a position contrary to what you really believe in order to challenge someone else’s reasoning. It also helps the young person to take the perspective of others by enabling him or her to think through what someone else might be thinking or feeling. It helps formulating and arguing a viewpoint because it allows adolescent’s to think a step ahead of the opposition. And it helps in decision making because it permits one to plan ahead and to foresee the consequences of choosing one alternative over another. • Better able to think about abstract things o Adolescents find it easier to comprehend the sorts of higher-order abstract logic inherent in puns, proverbs, metaphors, and analogies. o Adolescent’s have an increased interest in thinking about interpersonal relationships, politics, religion, and morality – topics that involve abstract concepts as friendship, honesty, faith. o Adolescents spend more time thinking about the meaning of life itself- leads to growth of social thinking. • Think more about the process of thinking. o Adolescents manage their thinking more than children do, but they are also better able to explain to others the processes they are using. They can explain what they know and why knowing what they know enables them to think differently and solve problems more effectively. o Increase in introspection, self-consciousness, and intellectualization. o Introspection thinking about our own emotions o Self-consciousthinking about how others think about us o Intellectualize thinking about our own thoughts. o Being able to introspect leads to extreme self- absorption  a form of adolescent egocentrism, which has two problems.  Imaginary audiencehaving such a heightened sense of self-consciousness that the teenager imagines that his or her behavior is the focus of everyone else’s attention. Feelings of self-consciousness are more intense among girls than boys and peaks at age 15, then declines as the adolescent gains social confidence. This is because parts of the brain that process social info such as perceptions of what others are thinking undergo change during early adolescence and this is when self- consciousness increases.  Personal fablerevolves around adolescent’s egocentric belief that his or her experiences are unique. I.E : might tell his mother that she could not understand what it feels like to break up with someone. Personal fable can enhance self- esteem and feelings of importance but can also be dangerous when one believe that pregnancy simply won’t happen to her .  RISK taking behavior engaged in by adolescent’s was due in part to teenagers heightened susceptibility to personal fable. o Why have studies failed to find that egocentrism is greater in adolescence than other ages? o Adolescent egocentrism is an emotional and social phenomena , and adolescent’s are highly concerned about people’s opinions. • Thinking is multidimensional rather than to a single issue o Adolescence who have the ability to think about things in a multidimensional fashion also have consequences for their behavior because they may describe themselves and others in a more differentiated and complicated terms and may have far more sophisticated self conceptions and relationships. o Sarcasm can only be understood by attending to multiple dimensions of speech and this improves during adolescence. o Double-entendresexpressions that have two meanings, one of them typically rude or crude. • More likely than children to see things as relative rather than absolute. o They are more likely to question others assertions and less likely to accept facts as absolute truth. But their belief that everything is relative can become overwhelming that they become skeptical about things and may come to believe that everything is uncertain and no knowledge is reliable. Theoretical Perspective • Piaget cognitive development proceeds through a fixed sequence of qualitatively distinct stages. Four stages • Sensorimotor is between birth and 2 yrs. • Preoperational is between 2 and 5 yrs. • Concrete operation is between age 6 and adolescence • Formal operation is between adolescence and adulthood • Earlier stages of thinking gets incorporated into new more advanced forms of thinking, He says, transitions into higher stages are likely to occur when the child’s biological readiness and the increasing complexity of environmental demands interact to stimulate more advanced thinking. • Formal thinking is apparent and has a sort of” now you see it, now you don’t” quality to it. This means adolescents may show formal thinking at some times and not until middle or late adolescence that formal thinking becomes integrated into the individual’s general approach to reasoning. SO it is important to differentiate between competence( what they are capable of doing) and performance ( what they actually do in assessment). • He says development proceed in a stage-like fashion and that the stage of formal operations characterizes adolescence. HOWEVER, research says that reasoning abilities develop more gradually. • Information Processing View 5 areas improvement occurs which is why adolescents do better at abstract, multidimensional and hypothetical thinking. • Attention: selective attention (focus on one stimulus and turn out the other) and divided attention (focus on two or more stimuli) both improve. Adolescent’s can also inhibit an unwanted response, which improves during early and middle adolescence. This is likely liked to maturation of brain systems that govern impulse control • Memory: Working memory and long- term memory improves. Working memory for both verbal and visual info increases. • Speed of information processing: increases in that differences in speed between a 9 yr old and 12 yr old is greater than that between 12 yr and 15 yrs which is greater than between a 15 yrs and a 18 yr. So the increase in speed becomes smaller over the course of adolescence. • Organization: They are more planful and so likely to approach a problem with appropriate information processing strategy in mind and more flexible in their ability to use different strategy in different situations and as a result their leaning is efficient. • Metacognition: Thinking about what other people might think you are thinking, it is hard to avoid becoming self- conscious in this case. • Basic information processing skills like working memory or attention increases through out childhood and adolescence and levels off around age 15. Brain • Brain reaches it’s adult size by age 10 so impossible that changes in thinking during adolescence are due to increases in size or volume of brain. Brain development in adolescence reflected in changes in brain structure certain parts of the brain are relatively smaller in childhood than adolescence and certain parts are larger AND brain function adolescence may use different parts of the brain than children when performing the same task. • EEG can be used to examine changes in electrical activity called EVENT- RELATED POTENTIALS- changes in electrical activity in areas of the brain is response to specific stimuli or events. • Male brains are 10% larger but no relation between brain
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