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Theories of Adolescent Development

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Piaget's Theory of Intelligence

When considering intelligence, Piaget focuses on the mental processes thatoccur, rather than on the actual measure of the intellect. He uses four areasto define intelligence. These areas are: a biological approach to looking at intelligence, the succession of the stages, knowledge, and intellectual competence.

Piaget's biological approach, or biological adaption, focuses on thephysical and mental aspects of our bodies. This includes our reflexes whichoccur when certain stimuli trigger an instinctive response. He also discusseshow we adapt to certain situations using assimilation and accomodation. Assimilation occurs when new information is introduced to a person. The personbegins to integrate the new information into existing files, or "schema". Accomodation occurs when the person reorganizes schema to accomodate themselves with the environment.

The succession of stages involves the movement through four stages that Piaget has set and defined. Children must move through these stages during their childhood. These include Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete operational, and Formal operational. Stage movement is an important factor ofPiaget's definition of intelligence, because Piaget states there are a specificset of criteria that must be met and mastered at each stage. In order to movefrom the first stage to the next, the child must master that specific set ofcriteria.

To define Intellectual Competence, Piaget focuses on the highest level offunctioning that can occur at a specific stage. Although Piaget has approximateages assigned to stages, a child's competence is only measured by what stagethey are in, not by age. If the child can only perform tasks that are at thepreoperational stage, that is the highest level the child is at regardless of age.

Period of Concrete Operational
 
Ages 7 - 11 years
 
Evidence for organized, logical thought.  There is the ability to perform multiple classification tasks, order objects in a logical sequence, and comprehend the principle of conservation.  thinking becomes less transductive and less egocentric.  The child is capable of concrete problem-solving. 
 

Some reversibility now possible (quantities moved can be restored such as in arithmetic: 3+4 = 7 and 7-4 = 3, etc.)

Class logic-finding bases to sort unlike objects into logical groups where previously it was on superficial perceived attribute such as color.   Categorical labels such as "number" or animal" now available.

Period of Formal Operations

Ages 11 -  15 years

Thought becomes more abstract, incorporating the principles of formal logic.  The ability to generate abstract propositions, multiple hypotheses and their possible outcomes is evident.  Thinking becomes less tied to concrete reality.

Formal logical systems can be acquired.  Can handle proportions, algebraic manipulation, other purely abstract processes.  If a + b = x then x = a - b.  If ma/ca = IQ = 1.00 then Ma = CA.

Prepositional logic, as-if and if-then steps.  Can use aids such as axioms to transcend human limits on comprehension.

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Erik Erikson

"Trust versus mistrust" from birth to 18 months

"Autonomy versus shame" from one-and-a-half; to three years

"Initiative versus guilt" from three to six years

"Industry versus inferiority" from six to 12 years.

KOHLBERG'S SIX STAGES

Level 1. Preconventional Morality

Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Kohlberg's stage 1 is similar to Piaget's first stage of moral thought. The child assumes that powerful authorities hand down a fixed set of rules which he or she must unquestioningly obey.

Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. At this stage children recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities. Different individuals have different viewpoints.

Level II. Conventional Morality

Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships. At this stage children--who are by now usually entering their teens--see morality as more than simple deals. They believe that people should live up to the expectations of the family and community and behave in "good" ways. Good behavior means having good motives and interpersonal feelings such as love, empathy, trust, and concern for others.

Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. Stage 3 reasoning works best in two-person relationships with family members or close friends, where one can make a real effort to get to know the other's feelings and needs and try to help. At stage 4, in contrast, the respondent becomes more broadly concerned with society as a whole. Now the emphasis is on obeying laws, respecting authority, and performing one's duties so that the social order is maintained.

Level III. Postconventional Morality

Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. At stage 4, people want to keep society functioning. However, a smoothly functioning society is not necessarily a good one. A totalitarian society might be well-organized, but it is hardly the moral ideal. At stage 5, people begin to ask, "What makes for a good society?"

Stage 6: Universal Principles. Stage 5 respondents are working toward a conception of the good society. They suggest that we need to (a) protect certain individual rights and (b) settle disputes through democratic processes. However, democratic processes alone do not always result in outcomes that we intuitively sense are just.

Stage 6: Universal Principles. Stage 5 respondents are working toward a conception of the good society. They suggest that we need to (a) protect certain individual rights and (b) settle disputes through democratic processes. However, democratic processes alone do not always result in outcomes that we intuitively sense are just.

http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm