Cognitive Skills

Type of psychology: Developmental psychology Fields of study: Adolescence; cognitive development

Adolescence brings the potential for logical and theoretical reasoning, systematic problem solving and acquisition of abstract concepts; adolescent cognitive skills are reflected in social and personality development as well as in learning and problem-solving behavior.

Key concepts

• concrete operations stage

• developmental approach

• egocentrism

• formal operations stage

• hypothetical-deductive reasoning

• imaginary audience

• information-processing approach

• personal fable

• psychometric approach

Psychologists approach the study of adolescent cognitive skills from three perspectives: the psychometric, the developmental, and the information-processing. The psychometric approach focuses on defining and measuring intellectual skills. Psychometric research typically involves studies of performance on intelligence tests. The developmental approach seeks to identify the types of cognitive skills that are unique to the adolescent years. This approach has been heavily influenced by the cognitive stage theory of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The information-processing approach examines the characteristics of memory and problem solving. It views adolescent cognitive skills as parameters that determine how the brain stores and analyzes information.

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