Cognitive Development in Adolescence

Nita A. Paris,


Our understanding of cognitive development arises from research in several fields, namely, developmental psychology, cognitive science, and more recently, neuroscience. A complete review of the cognitive development of adolescents is beyond the scope of this volume. Therefore, the focus of this entry is to: a) define cognitive development; b) provide a brief review of theories of cognitive development that are particularly significant for middle level learners; c) provide a brief summary of recent brain research and the relationship to information processing theory; d) describe characteristics of middle level learners’ thinking; and e) discuss implications for teaching at the middle level which are appropriate for any content area.