Chapter 15 Adolescent Cognitive Development

The Developing Person
Through the Life Span 8e
by Kathleen Stassen Berger
Chapter 15- Adolescence:
Cognitive Development
PowerPoint Slides developed by
Martin Wolfger and Michael James
Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington
Reviewed by Raquel Henry
Lone Star College, Kingwood
Adolescent Thinking
Adolescent egocentrism
• An aspect of adolescent
thinking that leads young
people (ages 10 to 14) to
focus on themselves to the
exclusion of others.
Adolescent Thinking
• Personal fable
– An adolescent’s belief that his or her thoughts,
feelings, or experiences are unique, more
wonderful or awful than anyone else’s.
• Invincibility fable
– An adolescent’s egocentric conviction that he or
she cannot be overcome or even harmed by
anything that might defeat a normal mortal, such as
unprotected sex, drug abuse, or high-speed driving.
Adolescent Thinking
Imaginary audience
• The other people who, in an adolescent’s
egocentric belief, are watching and taking
note of his or her appearance, ideas, and
– This belief makes many teenagers selfconscious
Adolescent Thinking
Formal operational thought
– Piaget’s fourth and final stage of cognitive
development, characterized by more
systematic logic and the ability to think about
abstract ideas.
Hypothetical thought
– Reasoning that includes propositions and
possibilities that may not reflect reality.
Reasoning about if-then propositions.
Adolescent Thinking
• Deductive reasoning (top-down reasoning)
– Reasoning from a general statement,
premise, or principle, through logical steps, to
figure out (deduce) specifics.
• Inductive reasoning (bottom-up reasoning)
– Reasoning from one or more specific
experiences or facts to a general conclusion;
may be less cognitively advanced than
Intuitive, Emotional Thought
• Adolescents find it much easier and quicker to
forget about logic and follow their impulses.
• Dual-process model
– The notion that two networks exist within the
human brain, one for emotional and one for
analytical processing of stimuli.
Intuitive, Emotional Thought
• Intuitive thought
– Arises from an emotion or a hunch, beyond
rational explanation, and is influenced by past
experiences and cultural assumptions.
• Analytic thought
– Results from analysis, such as a systematic
ranking of pros and cons, risks and
consequences, possibilities and facts.
Depends on logic and rationality.
Common Fallacies
Sunk cost fallacy
• Mistaken belief that when a person has
spent money, time or effort that cannot be
recovered, they should continue to try to
achieve the goal so that effort was not
i.e. staying in a class that you are failing
Common Fallacies
Base rate neglect
• A common fallacy in which a person
ignores the overall frequency of a behavior
or characteristic in making a decision.
i.e. not wearing a bike helmet, despite
statistics, until a friend is brain-damaged in
a biking accident
Thinking About Religion
• Most adolescents (71%) felt close to God
• Most (78 %) were the same religion as
their parents
• Some adolescents (2%) are agnostic
• Others (16%) are not religious
• Adolescent religious beliefs tend to be
egocentric, faith being a personal tool
Teaching and Learning
• Secondary education
– The period after primary education (elementary or
grade school) and before tertiary education (college).
It usually occurs from about age 12 to 18, although
there is some variations by school and by nation.
• Middle school
– A school for children in the grades between
elementary and high school, usually grades 6-8.
Teaching and Learning
Technology and Cognition
• The digital divide is the gap between students who
have access to computers and those who do not. In
the United States and most developed nations, this
gap has now been bridged due to computers in
• The Internet and other forms of electronic technology
can accelerate learning, but what they have to teach
may not always be beneficial.
The Dangers of Technology
• Adolescent cognitive growth benefits from
shared experiences and opinions.
• Often communication via the Internet bolsters
fragile self-esteem.
• Adolescents sometimes share personal
information online without thinking about the
possible consequences.
• Sexual abuse and addiction of technology can
The Dangers of Technology
• occurs via Internet insults and rumors, texting,
anonymous phone calls, and video
• Some fear that the anonymity provided by
electronic technology brings out the worst in
• One expert on bullying believes that
cyberbullying is similar to other forms, new in
mode but not in intent or degree of harm.
The Dangers of Technology
• Some teens use the Internet to pursue a
secret action, such as extreme dieting,
abusive prejudice or self-mutilation.
• Cutting
– An addictive form of self-mutilation that is
most common among adolescent girls and
that correlates with depression and drug
The Transition to a New School
Entering a New School
• The transition from one school to another
often impairs a young person’s ability to
function and learn.
• Changing schools just when the growth spurt
is occurring and sexual characteristics are
developing is bound to create stress.
Teaching and Learning
High School
• In theory and sometimes in practice, high schools
promote students’ analytic ability.
• In the United States, an increasing number of high
school students are enrolled in classes that are more
rigorous and require them to pass externally scored
• Another manifestation of the trend toward more
rigorous education is the greater number of
requirements that all students must fulfill in order to
receive an academic diploma.
Teaching and Learning
High-stakes test
• An evaluation that is critical in determining
success or failure.
• A single test that determines whether a
student will graduate or be promoted
• In 2009, 26 U.S. states required students to
pass a high-stakes test in order to graduate.
Teaching and Learning
• In the U.S., one result of pushing almost all
high school students to pursue an academic
curriculum is college preparedness.
• Another result is that more students drop out
of high school.
• East Asian nations are moving in the opposite
direction due to stressed out students.
Those Who Do Not Go To
• 1/3 of U.S. high school students and 2/3
worldwide do not go to college
•PISA (Programme for International
Student Assessment)
– A test designed to measure cognition needed in adult
• Taken by many 15-year-olds in 50 countries to test how
well they can apply what they have learned. U.S.
students tend to not do well.
Those Who Do Not Go To