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Myths of Adolescents and the Cognitive Process and Development

Cognition or Cognitive development, what is it? Cognition in childhood development is how a brain develops during exploration, and how they figure things out around them, and how they respond to life changes as the brain develops. This includes decision making, including ability to process thoughts, development of memory, and problem solving. (H 2019)

For many years, adolescent actions, misbehavior, danger seeking, and impulses have been explained away as “oh it’s just hormones”, or this is just an age-related thing. This statement is true to an extent, but in fact is wrong on many levels. Dealing with the fact that the brain develops in stages, every part of cognition cannot be distinguished. Events in the lives of human beings do affect how the brain develops and is often retarded in the case of trauma. As explained in the Stages of Adolescents, accompanied with Psychology today articles there are age ranges consider when we discuss decision making among the stage of Adolescence. (Allen, 2019) (E.B.-S, Ph.D., 2019) If we take couple childhood trauma into the decision making and actual lack of development because of trauma, blaming choices and explaining actions of these youths is not strictly “just hormones”, or an age thing.

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Childhood trauma plays a major role in cognitive development including health issues later in life. Based on the combined research of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Education Specialist Laura Phipps, and Dr. Jacob Ham, I have considered for this portion of my explanation that it is not all about hormones. Decisions made and thought processes of children are based on the amount of care, touch, love, and connections built even in infancy. Events not remembered can trigger stress in the brain. Trauma affects the brain causing developmental delays, lower IQ scores, language deficits, relationship building, judgement, and decision making. (Phipps, 2013) (Harris, MD., 2014)

Trauma triggers stress hormones, over time the constant stress places children in a survival learning mode. This mode causes them to be obsessive and afraid to be wrong, so they don’t try to participate. They are in a state of constant vigilance which keeps the child from having an open mind. Children in a survival mode see things in black and white, they are not open to learning new concepts and ideas. They have increased triggers, are afraid to open, with the higher level of stress they make choices that at times make no sense. Where children at a “normal level” little to no trauma, or a learning brain, are accepting, open minded, see grey areas, have confidence, aren’t afraid to make a mistake or share in groups. They are seemly more playful, excited, and generally emotionally stable. By making their learning environment feel safe and nurturing for all children especially those who have suffered trauma the survival brain can be switched to the learning brain. (Ham, 2017)

An identical choice made by two children, like the example given by Laura Phipps, Isolation. Both children may have chosen the same thing, but the reasoning behind it is not the same for both children. One may be using it to be sought out and be given the attention she is craving. The second child may isolate himself because he is afraid to trust and cannot build a relationship with those around him. Our reaction to these examples cannot always be the same. We need to take into consideration what may be the reasoning behind the decision instead of focusing on the actual example of isolation. (

This is a very helpful insight to have when working with children, my own and others. Their actions need to be seen, but it is up to me to understand the why. There are many resources available to parents and schools. I feel that there needs to be more advocacy in the psychological affects in children that have been through trauma and make it a point to show awareness. If we could start to deal with trauma in early stages of life, we could reduce the risk of mental illness, poor decision making, stress, physical illness and diseases in adulthood.

Cognitive Development Theory and Stages

Definition: Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood (Unknown, 2020) There are many theories about cognition, it was not seen as part of development until a child learned to speak. Many psychologists as well as behaviorist have studied and brought to light that cognitive development begins immediately after a child is born. Jean Piaget’s method theory of cognitive development is one that is spoken of and often referenced in any study about cognition. (Allen, 2019) His ideas on abstract thought and a child’s ability to reach an equilibrium are the basis of his theory. What does a baby know about the world around them? Piaget believed in four distinct and very different stages of cognitive development, in each stage there are a few substages. Infancy through childhood are considered from one week of age through age five according to Jean. (Allen, 2019)

The development of an infant to twenty-four months is complex, this is called the Sensorimotor Stage. A baby only learns how to get their needs met by rooting when hungry to development of speech throughout this time frame. There are many changes of coordination and advanced development of coordination. A baby’s curiosity helps him learn about the world around him, how he plays, teaches him to move towards a toy, then crawling, walking, and verbalizing. She can also learn to memorize actions of its peers. By twenty-four months a child might even throw her first tantrum. At the end of this stage he will have developed the ability to feel and recognize love, fear, and be able to speak and understand around 150 words.

I kept a record of all my children, and when they hit their milestones. Not to take away from my older 3 daughters, it was easier to observe the developmental differences between each of my twin. They were 2 little people doing the same things within days or weeks of each other.

Studying children three years old to six years old, they become more social and use their imagination. They can describe things that they have seen and heard. He may be able to see from a playmate perspective but cannot fully answer a what if question. This is the time when in my experience, everything around them is magical, and a world of make believe. My girls were energetic, and in awe by things outside and around them. Dancing and singing, and watching others play, then copying their actions.

From age seven to 11 Piaget’s theory states that children are more logical and have better reasoning skills. They can do more concrete thinking. For example, beginning to understand mathematics. With explanations they are able to add or subtract. They start to realize differences in height and sizes of things around them. During this stage they learn by repetition. This part of his study reminds me of the addition/subtraction, and times tables. I felt like doing 50 math questions in a three-minute time span was absurd; but the more I did them, the better I became. This is where reasoning and repetitions helps move into the last stage. (Allen, 2019)

In Piaget’s theory childhood and adolescence overlap somewhat. From ages eleven to fifteen children are more logical thinkers, idealistic, and can also think abstractly. (Allen, 2019) Their reasoning skills are more developed, so problem solving with little to no coaching is easier than younger ages. They are still not to the place all decisions are well thought out. They have a clear knowledge of right and wrong. During this time, they are going through physiological changes, this does in fact play a role in impulse control. This is what my grandmother would call the “whole world revolves around you” stage. Children are more interested in themselves and what makes them happy currently. Not always thinking about others, but that others are thinking about them.

Finally, adulthood. Cognitive development from adolescence to adulthood is not totally figured out. Even laws changed about crimes committed by children 18 and younger. Legally we are considered adults at 18, but our cognitive development isn’t complete. We have a well-rounded concrete thought and reasoning ability. Guidance and structure have proved to be valuable even into the early and mid-20’s. Cognition and emotion are hard to separate as we transition into adulthood. There is a statement about making decisions with our head, or with our heart. We are more well rounded and have a set of beliefs all our own, yet young adults do often make emotional decisions.

Once we have reached the 20’s stage there are fewer studies about cognitive development, and we seemingly begin to focus on Intelligence as we age. It is said that if we keep our mind active, we will lose less cognitive skills as we age. Health of the body, mind, and staying creative, taking up hobbies as we age has proven to slow the deterioration we may experience. Our brains are complex, and not fully understood. We do know that every stage of learning experience help transitions us into the next stage of cognition. (Strauch, 2010)

In summary, there are many theories about cognitive development. We have found through additional studies about life experiences. For example, childhood trauma, socioeconomics, and environmental influence should be considered when assessing growth and development as a whole.

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Myths of Adolescents and the Cognitive Process and Development
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Cognition or Cognitive development, what is it? Cognition in childhood development is how a brain develops during exploration, and how they figure things out around them, and how they respond to life changes as the brain develops. This includes decision making, including ability to process thoughts, development of memory, and problem solving. (H 2019) For many years, adolescent actions, misbehavior, danger seeking, and impulses have been explained away as “oh it’s just hormones”, or thi
2021-11-12 04:50:42
Myths of Adolescents and the Cognitive Process and Development
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