• 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
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
o Inductive reasoningdrawing 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
• 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
o Introspection thinking about our own emotions
o Self-consciousthinking about how others think about us
o Intellectualize thinking about our own
o Being able to introspect leads to extreme self-
absorption a form of adolescent egocentrism,
which has two problems.
Imaginary audiencehaving 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-
Personal fablerevolves 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
o Why have studies failed to find that
egocentrism is greater in adolescence than
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
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
o Sarcasm can only be understood by attending to
multiple dimensions of speech and this improves
o Double-entendresexpressions that have two
meanings, one of them typically rude or crude.
• More likely than children to see things as relative rather
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
• Piaget cognitive development proceeds through a
fixed sequence of qualitatively distinct stages. Four
• 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
• 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
• 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
• Memory: Working memory and long- term memory
improves. Working memory for both verbal and visual
• 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
• 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 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
• 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