The Child and Adolescent Learner


Childhood– Childhood is defines as the time for a boy or girl from birth until he or she is an adult. It is more circumscribed period of time from infancy to the onset of puberty.

The Convention of the Rights if the Child defines a child as” every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”.

Adolescence– According to Stuart Judge, a noted educator and psychologist, adolescence is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Although sometimes described as beginning in parallel with fertility or puberty and ending with maturity and independence, adolescence has a very variable and imprecise duration

The onset of adolescence cannot be pointed in physiological term, although it is influenced by the same sex hormones and refers to the same general period as physical sexual development. It represents a complex and sometimes disturbing psychological transition, accompanying the requirement for the accepted social behavior of the particular adult and culture.

Physical and Motor Development

  • Infants need to learn how to move and to use their bodies to perform various tasks, a process better known as motor development. Initially, babies’ movements are simply the uncontrolled, reflexive movements they are born with, over time, they learn to move their body parts voluntarily to perform both gross (large) and fine (small) motor skills. In general, babies begin developing motor skills form head to tail (cephalocaudal), the center of the body outward( proximodistal). They learn to control their head and neck before they learn to maneuver their arms; they learn to maneuver their arms before they learn to manipulate their fingers. Babies learn to move their torso before the learn how to move their arms and legs.
  • The sucking reflex allows babies to drink milk and nourish themselves in the days of life.
  • Another permanent and life-supporting reflex is heard turning in the first days of life.
  • Another permanent life-supporting reflex is head turning. This reflex allows a baby to turn his head if something (a blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal) is blocking his airflow.
  • Another reflex that also babies survive is the rooting reflex. When babies root, they may nuzzle their face and mouth into the caregiver’s chest or shoulder.
  • The rest of the flexes have less survival value but are still notable. For the first 3 to 4 months, babies have an amazing grasping ability and reflex. They will grasp anything place in their palm and hold it with amazing strength for their size. Some  infants in the first weeks of life can support their entire body weight through that grasp.
  • While this reflex may not have any survival function in modern times, it does help babies bond with caregivers and family in the first weeks of life. Similarly, for the first two months, babies will ‘step” with their legs if they are held vertically with their feet touching a surface. Even though this reflex disappears months before babies begin walking purposely, experts believes stepping helps infants  learn how their legs works can be used.
  • The Moro response is another reflex that is present during the first 6 months of life, but doesn’t seem to have a purpose in modern life. A baby with arch her back, flail out, and then curl up if she feels as although she is being dropped.
  • The final reflex is Tonic Neck. During the first 4 months, when babies lie awake on their backs with their heads facing to one side, they will extend the arm  on the side of their body that they’re facing and reflex the other arm at an angle, in a position that resembles a fencing pose. This reflex may help prepare them for voluntary reaching later in their environment.
  • Between ages 2 and 3 years, young children stop “toddling”, or using the awkward, wide-legged robort-like stance that is the hallmark of new walkers. As they develop a smoother gait, they also develop the ability to run, and hop. Children of this age can participate in throwing and catching games with larger balls. They can also push themselves around with their feet while sitting on a riding toy.
  • Children who are 3 to 4 years old can climb up stairs using a method of bringing  both feet together on each step before proceeding to the next step (in contrast, adult place one foot on each step in sequence); However, young children may still need some “back up” assistant to prevent falls in case they become unsteady in this new skill. Children of this age will also be stumped when it’s time to go back down the stairs; they tend to turn around and scoot down the stairs backwards. 3 to 4 years old can jump and hop higher as higher as their leg muscles grow stronger. Many can even hop on one foot for shorts period of time.
  • By ages 4 to 5, children can go up and down the stairs alone in the adult fashion (i.e. taking one step at a time);Their running continues to smooth out and increase in speed. Children of this age can also skip and add spin to their throws. The also have more control when riding their tricycles (or bicycles), and can be drive them faster.
  • During ages 5 to 6, young children continue to refine easier skills. They’re running even faster and can start to ride bicycles with training wheels for added stability. In addition, they can step sideways. Children of this age  begin mastering new forms of physical play such as the jungle gym, and begin to use the see-saw, slide, and swing on their own. They often start jumping rope, skating, hitting balls with bats, and so on. Many children of this age enjoy learning to play organized sports as soccer, basketball, t-bale or swimming. In addition, 5 to 6 years old often like to participate in physical extracurricular activities such as karate, gymnastics, or dance. Children continue to refine and improve their gross motor skills through age 7 and beyond.

Brain Development



  • The bran’s ability to change from experience is known as Plasticity. The human brain is especially plastic early in life, which is why the “nurture” part of the equation is so important

Throughout life the brain continues to be plastic-this is the mechanism of learning-but plasticity declines in adulthood.

As a child’s brain develops, it goes through several’critical periods, a s developmental phase in which the brain requires certain environmental input ot it will not develop normally.


Early Milestones in Brain Growth

  • 4 months: the infant’s brain responds to every sound produced in all the languages of the world.
  • 8 to 9 months: Babies can form specific memories from their experiences, such as how to push a ball to make it roll.
  • 10 months: Babies can now distinguish and even produce the sounds of their own language (such as “da-da”) no longer pay attention to the sounds of language that are foreign.
  • 12 months: Babies whose parents say, for example” Lookee at the doggie” will go to the appropriate picture of a dog in a picture book more often than those babies who are talked to normal, flatter voices.
  • 12 to 18 months: Babies can keep in memory something that has been hidden and find it again, even if it has completely covered up. They can also hold memory sequences of simple activities, such as winding up a jack-in-the-box until the figure pos up.
  • 24 months: Preschool children now clear picture in mind of people who are dear to them, and the get upset when separated from these people (even their peers)
  • 30 months: Preschool children can hold in  mind a whole sequence of spatial maps and know where things are in their environment.
  • 36 months: A preschool child can now two different emotions in his mind at the same time, such as being sad that he spilled ice cream on his cloths but glad that he’s at birthday party.




Factors Affecting Development

Maternal Nutrition– the nutritional status of the women during adolescent pregnancy and  lactation has a direct impact on the child’s health and development.

Child Nutrition- the Child’s state of nutritional balance is crucial in his early developmental age.

Early Sensory Stimulation– Toys, soothing sounds and other sensorial stimulation contribute to the child’s development.



Exceptional Development



Physical Disabilities– Persons with physical disabilities may experience functional, visual, orthopedic, motor, or hearing impairments, which may impact upon their ability to walk, play and learn. Physical disabilities are also often defined and categorized by some degree of limitation in the use of  upper or lower extremities and maintaining posture and positioning.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)-Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Hyperkinetic Disorder (as officially know in U.K., through ADHD is more commonly used) is generally considered to be a developmental disorder, largely neurological in nature, affecting about 5% of the world’s population. The disorder typically presents itself during childhood, and is characterized by a present pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control or impulsivity and distractibility, ADHD is currently considered to be a persistent and chronic condition for which no medical cure is available ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children and, over the past decade.


  • Linguistic and Literary Development


  1. Natural History and Language Development

Language development is a process that starts early in human life, when a person begins to acquire language by learning it as it is spoken and by mimicry. Children’s language development moves from simplicity to complexity. Infants start without language. Yet by four months of age, babies can read lips and discriminate speech sounds.

  • Usually, language starts off as recall of simple words without associated meaning, but as children age, words acquire meaning, and connections between words are formed, in time, sentences start to form as words are joined together to create logical meaning. As a person gets older, new meaning and new associations are created and vocabulary increases as more words are learned.
  • Infant use their bodies, vocal cries and other preverbal vocalizations to communicate their wants, needs and dispositions. Even though most children begin to vocalize and eventually verbalize at various ages and at different rates, they learn their first language without conscious instruction from parents or caretakers. It is seemingly effortless task that grows increasingly difficult with age. Ofcourse, before any learning can begin, the child must be biologically and socially mature enough.

Biological Preconditions– Linguist do not all agree on what biological factors contribute to language development, how ever most do agree that our ability to acquire such a complicated system is specific to the human species, Furthermore, our ability to learn language may have been developed through the evolutionary process and that the foundation for language may be passed down genetically.

Second Preconditions– it is crucial that children are allowed to socially interact with other peope who can vocalize and respond to questions. For language acquisition to develop successfully, children must be  in an environment that allows them to communicate socially in that language.

There are a few different theories as to why and how children develop language. The most popular explanation is that language is acquired through imitation. However, this proves to be more of a folk tale than anything. Two most accepted theories in language development are psychological and functional. Psychological explanations focus on the mental processes involved in childhood language learning. Functional explanations look at the social process involved in learning the first language.


Bilingual Language Development


  • There are two major patters in bilingual language acquisition; simultaneous Bilingualism and Sequential bilingualism. In simultaneous bilingualism, the child acquires two languages at the same time before the age of  3 years. These children may mix words or parts of words from both languages in the first stage. Stage 2 occurs at 4 years and older when distinction between the two languages takes place, and the child uses each language separately. Sequential bilingualism also occurs before the child is 3 years old, but the child can draw in on the knowledge and experience of first language while acquiring the second language.
  • Detecting delays in the speech and language of multilingual children presents a challenge. The authors state that “the key is to obtain information about the child’s entire language system, not just the primary or secondary language”.
  • The following “red flags” may indicates that the child who is simultaneously acquiring two languages id experiencing problems with language development.
  • No sounds by 2-6 months
  • Less than one new words per week for 6-15 month-old children.
  • Less than 20 words ( in the two languages combined by 20 months: and
  • No use of word combinations and  a very limited vocabulary by age 2-3 years
  • Red flags for abnormal language development in the sequential acquisition of two language include.
  • Lack of normal milestones in the first language
  • Prolonged phase of not talking
  • Difficulty of retrieving words

Factors Affecting Language Development

  1. Inadequate stimulation (talking and playing with the child)
  2. Delayed general development (global developmental delay), physical development motor skills), cognitive development etc.
  3. Specific difficulty with language learning. Not very interested in language, prefers other modalities e.g. physical activities
  4. Poor control and/or coordination of the speech muscles; lips, tongue etc.
  5. Medical problems
  6. Inadequate awareness of communication, lacks” communication  intent”
  7. Reduced hearing e.g. ear infection, fluid in ear, impacted earwax etc.
  8. Changes in child’s environment e.g. moving
  9. Exposure to too many languages for the child
  10. Inadequate opportunity for speech e.g. the child everyone talks for, the “babied” child has a more dominant sibling etc.
  11. Emotional factors e.g. behavioral problems, anxiety, pressure to perform etc.
  12. Short attention span.
  13. Family history of speech and language delays or difficulties



Exceptional Development


Aphasia- Aphasia (or aphmia) is a loss of the ability to produce and/or comprehend language due to injury to brain areas specialized for these functions. It is not a result of deficits in sensory, intellect, or psychiatric functioning. Depending on the area and extent of the damage, someone suffering from aphasia may be able to speak but not write, or vice versa, or display any of wide variety of other deficiencies in language comprehension and production, such as being able to sing but not to speak.

Dyslexia-Dyslexia is a specific learning disability  that manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language, particularly with reading and spelling. Dyslexia is the result of a neurological differences but is not intellectual disability. Most people with dyslexia have average or above average intelligence.

Evidence suggests that dyslexia results for differences in how the brain processes written and/or verbal language. It is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as deficiencies in intelligence, a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction.


  • Cognitive Development


  1. Theories of Cognitive Development


Jean Piaget-Swiss psychologist (1896-1980). His theory provided many central concepts in the field of developmental psychology and concerned the growth of the intelligence, which for Piaget, meant the ability to more accurately represent the world and perform logical operations on representations of the concepts grounded in the world. The theory concerns the emergence and acquisitions of the schemata-schemes, of one perceives the world-in”developemental stages”, time when children are acquiring new ways of mentally representing-information.




  • Sensorimotor period (years 0-2)


Infants are born with a set of congenital reflexes, according to Piaget, in addition to explore their world. Their initial schemas are formed through differentiation of the congenital reflexes:


  • The first sub-stage, known as the reflex schema stage, occurs form birth to six weeks and is associated primarily with the developmental reflexes. Three primary reflexes are described by Piaget: sucking of objects in the mouth following moving or interesting objects with the eyes, and closing of the hand when an object makes contact with the palm (palmar grasp). Over this first six weeks of life, these reflexes begin to become voluntary actions; for example, the palmar reflex becomes intentional grasping.


  • The second sub-stage, primary circular reaction phase, occurs form six weeks to four months and is associates primarily with the development of habits. Primary circular reactions or repeating of an action involving only one’s body begins. An example of this type of reaction would involve something like an infant repeating the motion of passing their hands before their face. The schema developed during this stage inform the infant about the relationships among his body parts (e.g. in passing the hand in form of his eyes he develop a motor schema for moving his arm so that the hand becomes visible.


  • The third sub-stage, the secondary circular reactions phase, occurs from four to nine months and is associated primarily with the development of coordination between vision and apprehension. Three new abilities occur at this stage: intentional grasping for a desired object, secondary circular reactions, and differentiations between ends and means. At this stage, infants will intentionally grasp the air in the direction of a desired object, often to the amusement of friends, family, younger and older siblings, grandparents, etc. Secondary circular reactions, or the repetition of an action  involving an external object begin; for example, moving a switch to turn on a light repeatedly. The differentiation between means also occurs. This is perhaps of  one of the most important stages of a child’s growth as it signifies the drawn for logic. However, babies still only have a very early rudimentary grasp of this and most of their discoveries have an “accidental” quality to them in that the initial performance of what will soon becomes a secondary circular reactions occurs by chance; but the operant conditioning causes the initial “ accidental” behavior (which was followed by an “interesting pattern of stimulation) to be repeated. And the ability to repeat the act is the result of primary circular reactions established in the previous stage. For example, when the infant’s hand accidentally makes contact with an object in hid field of vision is based on the primary circular reaction bringing his hand into his field of vision. Thus, the child learns (at the level of schemata) that “if he can see it then he can also touch it” and this results in a schemata which is the knowledge that is external environment is populated with solid objects.


  • The fourth sub-stage, called the coordination of secondary circular reactions stage, which occurs from nine to twelve months, is when Piaget thought that object permanence developed. In addition, the stage is called the coordination of secondary circular reactions stage, and is primarily with the development of logic and the coordination between means and ends, this is extremely important marks the beginning o goal orientation or intentionally, the deliberate planning of steps to meet an objective.


  • The fifth sub-stage, tertiary circular reactions phase, occurs from twelve to eighteen months and is associated primarily with the discovery of new means to meet goals. Piaget describes the child at this juncture as the “young scientist”, conducting pseudo-experiments to discover new methods of meeting challenges.


  • The six sub-stage, considered “beginning of symbolic representation”, is associated primarily with the beginnings of insight, or true creativity. In this stag the trial- and error application of schemata, which was observable during the previous stage, occurs internally ( at the level of schemata rather than of motor responses), resulting in the sudden appearance of new effective behaviors (without any observable trial-and-error). This is also the time when symbols (words and images) begin to stand for other objects. This marks the passage into the preoperational stage.



  • Preoperational period (years 2-7)


The Preoperational stage is the second of four stage of cognitive development. By observing sequence of play, Piaget was able to demonstrate that towards the end of the second year a qualitatively new kind of psychological functioning occurs (Pre) Operatory Thought in Piagetian theory is any procedure for mentally acting on objects. The hallmark of the preoperational stage is spare and logically inadequate mental operations.


According to Piaget, the Pre Operational stage of development follows the Sensorimotor stage and occur between 2-7 years of age. It includes the following processes.


  1. Symbolic functioning- characterized by the use of mental symbols, words, or pictures, which the child uses to represent something which is not physically present


  1. Centration-characterized by a child focusing or attending to only one aspect of a stimulus or situation. For example, in pouring a quantity of liquid from an narrow beaker into a shallow dish, a preschool child might judge the quantity of liquid to have decreased, because it is”lower”- that is, the child attends to the height of the water, but not the compensating increase in the diameter of the container.


  1. Intuitive thought– occurs when the child is able to believe in something without knowing why she or he believes it.


  1. Egocentrism- a version of centration, this denotes a tendency of a child to only think for her or his own point of view. Also, the inability of a child to take the point of view of others. Example, if a child is in trouble, he or she might cover her eyes thinking if I cannot see myself my mom cannot either.


  1. Inability to Conserve-though Piaget’s conservation experiments (conservation of mass, volume and number after the original for m has been changed. For example, a child in this phase will believe that a string which has up in”o-o-o-o” pattern will have a larger number of beads than a string which has a oooo: pattern, because the latter pattern has less space between Os; or that a tall, thin 8-ounce cup has more liquid in it than a wide, short 8-ounce cup.


  1. Animism- The child believes that inanimate objects have :lifelike” qualities and are capable of action. Example, a child plays with a doll and treats it likes a real person. In a way this like using their imagination.



  • Concrete operational period (years 7-11)


The Concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget’s theory. This stage, which follows the Preoperational stage, occurs between the ages 7 and 11 years  and is characterized by the appropriate use of logic. Important process during this stage are:


  1. Seriation– the ability to arrange objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic. For example, if given different-shaded objects they may make a colour gradient.


  1. Classification-the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another, a child is no longer subject to the illogical limitations of animasim ( the belief that all objects are alive and therefore have feelings)


  1. Decentering- where the child takes into account multiple aspects of a problem to solve it. For example, the child will no longer perceive an exceptionally wide but short cup to contain less than a normally-wide, taller cup.
  2. Reversibility- where the child understands that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state. For this reason, a child will be able to rapidly determine that if 4 +4 equals 8, 8/4 will equal 4, the original quantity


  1. Conservation– understanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items. For instance, when a child is presented with two equally-sized, full cup they will be able to discern that if water is transferred to a pitcher it will conserve the quantity and be equal to the other filled up.


  1. Elimination of Egoncentrism– the ability to view things from another’s perspective (even if they think incorrectly). For instance, show a child a comic in whom Jane puts a doll under the box leaves the room, and then Sarah moves the doll to a drawer, and Jane comes back. A child in the concrete operation stage will stay that Jane will still think it’s under the box even through the child knows it is in the drawer



  • Formal operation period (years 11-adulthood)


The formal operational period is the fourth and final of the periods of cognitive development in the Piaget’s theory. This stage, which follows the Concrete Operational stage, commences at around 11 years of age ( puberty) and continuous into adulthood. It is characterized by acquisition of the ability to think abstractly, reason logically and draw conclusions from the information available. During this stage the young adult is able to understand such things as love”shades of gray”, logical proofs, and values,


Lev Vtgotsky-Psychologist, was born in 1896 in Orsha, Belarys (then a part of the Russian Empire). Vygotsky was tutored privately by Solomom Asphiz and graduated from Moscow State University in 1917. Later, he attended the Institute of Pyschology in Moscow (1924-34), where he worked extensively on ideas about cognitive development, particularly the relationship between language and thinking. His writings emphasized the roles of historical cultural, and social factors in cognition and argued that language was the most important symbolic tool provided by society.


Perhaps Vygotsky’s most important contribution concerns the inter-relationship of language development and thought. This concept, explored in Vygotsky’s book “Thinking and Speaking”, establishes the explicit and profound connection between speech (both silent inner speech and oral language), and the development of mental concepts and cognitive awareness. It should be noted that Vygotsky described inner speech as being qualitatively different than normal (external) speech, For Vygotsky, social interaction is important for learning, e.i. children learn adults and other children

Information Processing Theory

There are three primary stages in IP Theory:


  • Encoding- information is sensed, perceived, and attended .
  • Storage- the information is stored for either a brief or extended period of time depending upon the processes following encoding
  • Retrieval- The information  is found at the appropriate time, and reactivated fr use on a current task, the true test of effective memory.

The initial appeal of information processing theories was the idea that cognitive processes could be described in a stage-like model. The stages to processing follow a path along which information is taken into the memory system, and reactivated when necessary. Most theories of information processing center around three main stages in the memory process.

Sensory Register

The first step in the IP model, hold ALL sensory information for a VERY BRIEF time period.

  • Capacity: we hold an enormous amount, more that we can ever perceive.
  • Duration: Extremely brief- in order of 1 to 3 seconds

The Role of Attention

  • To move information into consciousness, we need to attend to it. That is, we only have the ability to perceive and remember later those things that pass through the attention gate.

Short Term Memory ( working Memory)

  • Capacity: What you can say about in 2 seconds. Often said to be 7+/_2 items.
  • Duration: Around 18 seconds or less
  • To reduce the loss of information in 18 seconds, you need to rehearse
  • There are two types of rehearsal- Maintenance and Elaborative

Long Term Memory

The final storing house of memorial information, the long term memory store holds information until needed again.

  • Capacity: unlimited?
  • Duration: indefinite?

Executive Control Processes

  • Also known as executive processor, or Metacognitive skills
  • Guide the flow of information through the system, helps the learner make informed
  • Example processes-attention, rehearsals, organization, Sometimes call METACOGNITVE SKILLS


The ability to access information when needed

  • There are two main ways in which forgetting likely occurs:
  • Decay-Information is not attended to, and eventually fades away. Very prevalent in Working memory.
  • Inference-New or old information blocks’ access to the information in question.

Methods for Increasing the Probability of Remembering

  • Organization- info that is organized efficiently should be recalled
  • Deep processing- This is focusing upon meaning.
  • Elaboration- Connecting new info with old, to gain meaning.
  • Generation- Things we produce are easier to remember than things we hear.
  • Context-Remembering the situation helps recover information
  • Personalization- making the information relevant to the individual
  • Memory Methods
  • Memorization ( note the same as learning)
  • Serial Position Effect ( recency and primacy) you will remember the beginning and end of list most readily
  • Part Learning- Break up the list to increase memorization
  • Distributed Practice- Break up learning sessions, rather than cramming all the info in at once ( Massed Practice)
  • Mnemonics Aids
  • Loci Method- Familiar place, associate list with items in place (i.e. living room)
  • Peg-type- Standard list is a cue to the target list.
  • Acronym – SCUBA
  • Chain Mnemonics- EGBDF
  • Key word Method- Association of new word/ concept with well know word/concept that sounds similar.

Theories of Intelligence

  1. Psychometric Theories

Psychometric theories have sought to understand the structure of intelligence; the from it takes, it categories, and its composition.  Underlying psychometric intelligence theory is a psychological model according    to which intelligence is a combination of abilities that can be measured by mental testing. These tests often include analogies , classification / identification, and series completion. Each test score is equally weighted according to the evidence of underlying ability in each category


British psychologist Charles E. Spearman published the first psychometric theory  1904. His theory noted that people who excelled on one mental ability test often did well on the others, and people who did poorly on one of them tended to do poorly with others. Using  this concept, Spearman devised a technique of statistical analyzing that examined patterns of individual scores. This analysis helped him discover what he believed to be the two sources if these individual differences: the”general factor” which is our general intellectual ability, and a test-specific factor.


American psychologist L.L. Thurstone disregarded with Spearman’s theory and his isolation of the “general factor” of intelligence. Thurstone believed that the “general factor “ resulted from Spearman;s method of analysis, and that if analysis were more thorough, seven factors would emerge. These seven factors were collectively called the “primary mental abilities” and included verbal comprehension, verbal comprehension, verbal fluency, numbers, spatial visualization, inductive reasoning, memory, memory and perceptual speed.


Most psychologists agree that a broader subdivision of abilities than Spearman’s classification is necessary, but only some agree with hierarchal subdivision. It quickly became apparent to many psychologists that were problems that could not be addressed by psychometric theories. The number of abilities could not be positively identified, and the differences between them could not be clearly defined due to the limitations of testing and analysis. However ,the most significant problem extended beyond the number of abilities: what happens in someone’s mind when they are using the ability in question? Psychometric theories had no means of addressing this issue, and cognitive theories began to fill this gap.



  • Cognitive Theories


During the era of psychometric theories, people’s test scores dominated the study of intelligence. In 1957, American psychologist Lee Cronbach criticized how some psychologists study individual differences and other study commonalities in human behavior, but the two methods never meet. Cronbach voiced the need for two methods to be united, which let to the development of cognitive theories of intelligence.


Without understanding the processes underlying intelligence, we cannot come to accurate conclusions when analyzing test scores or assessing someone’s performance. Cognitive  analysis helps the interpretation of the test scores by determining to what degree the score reflects reasoning ability and the degree to which it is a result of not understanding the questions or vocabulary. Psychometric theories did not differentiate between these two factors, which have a significant effect on the determination of intelligence. Many people are excellent reasoners but have modest vocabularies, and vice versa.


Underlying the cognitive approach to intelligence is the assumption that intelligence is comprised of a set of mental representations of information, and a set of processes that operate the mental representations. It is assumed that a more intelligent person represents information better, and operates more quickly on these representations than does a less intelligent person.

Several different cognitive theories of intelligence have emerged over the years. One was introduced by Earl Hunt, Nancy Frost, and Clifford Lunneborg, who in 1973 showed one way on which psychometric and cognitive modeling could be combined. Instead of using conventional psychometric tests, they used tasks that allowed them to study the basis of cognition-perception, learning and memory. Individual differences in the tasks became apparent, which they related to differing patterns of performing and operating manual representations.

Several years later, Robert Stemberg suggested an alternative approach to studying cognitive process. He argued, based on evidence he had gathered, that there weak only a weak relationship between basic cognitive tasks and psychometric test scores because the tasks being used were too simple. Although simple task involve cognitive processes, they are peripheral rather than central.

Although opposing cognitive theories exist, they are all based on the serial processing of information, which means that cognitive processes are executed one after another in a series.


The assumption is that we process chunks of information one at a time, trying to combine the processes into an overall problem-solving strategy. Other psychologists have challenged this idea, arguing that cognitive processing is parallel, meaning that we process large amounts of information simultaneously. However, it has proved difficult to distinguish between serial and parallel models of information processing.


Despite evidence and support of cognitive intelligence theories, a major problem remains regarding the nature of intelligence. Cognitive theories do not take into account that the description of intelligence may differ from one cultural group to another. Even within mainstream cultures, it will known that conventional tests do not reliably predict performance. Therefore in addition to cognition, the context in which the cognition operates also needs to be accounted for.


Exceptional Development ( Cognitive Development)


Giftedness- For many years, psychometricians and psychologists, following the footsteps of Lewis Terman in 1916, equated giftedness with high IQ. This “legacy” survives to the present day, in that giftedness  and high IQ continue to be equated in some conceptions of giftedness. Since that early time, however, other researchers (e.g, Cattell, Guilford, and Thurnstone) have argued that intellect cannot be expressed in such a unitary manner, and have suggested more multifaceted approaches to intelligence. Research conducted in the 1980s has provided data which support notions of multiple components to intelligence. This is particularly evident in the examination of “giftedness” by Stenberge and Davidson in their edited Conceptions of Giftedness. The many different conceptions of giftedness presented, although distinct, are interrelated in several ways. Most of the investigators define giftedness in terms of multiple qualities, not all of which are intellectual, IQ socres are often viewed as in adequate measures of giftedness. Motivation, high self concept, and creativity are they key qualities in many of these broadened conceptions of giftedness.


Mental Retardation- is a term for a pattern of persistently slow learning of basic motor and language skills (“milestones”) during child hood, and a significantly below-normal global intellectual capacity as an adult. One common criterion for diagnosis of mental retardation is tested intelligence quotient (IQ ) of 70 or below and deficits in adaptive functioning.


People with mental retardation may be described as having developmental disabilities, global development delay or learning qualities.


Autism– is a brain development disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior, all exhibited before a child is three years old. These characteristics distinguish autism form milder spectrum disorder (ASD).


Autism affects many parts of the brain, how this occurs is poorly understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first year or two of their child’s life, Early intervention may help children gain self-care and social skills, although few of these interventions are supported by scientific studies. There is no cure, with severe autism, independent living is unlikely; with milder autism, there are some success stories for adults, and an autistic culture has developed, with some seeking a cure and others believing that austism is a condition rather than a disorder.


Asperger’s Syndrome– (also Asperger’s Syndrome, Asperger’s disorder, Asperger’s AS, or AD ) is one of several autism spectrum disorders (ASD) characterized by difficulties in social interaction and by restricted and stereotyped interests and activities. AS is distinguished for other ASDs in having no general delay in language or cognitive development,

There is no  single treatment for AS, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data. Intervention is aimed at improving symptoms and function. The mainstay of treatment is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and  clumsiness. Most individuals with AS can learn to cope with their differences, but may continue to need moral support encouragement to maintain an independent life. Adults with AS have reached the highest levels of achievement in fields such as mathematics, physics and computer science, Researchers and people with AS have contributed to a shift in attitudes away from the notion that AS is a difference rather than a disability.


Down Syndrome_ Down syndrome or Trisonomy 21 ( usuall Down’s Syndrome in Bristish English) is a specific disorder caused by the presence of all or part if an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Longdon Down, the Bristish doctor who described it in 1866. The condition is characterized by a combination of major and minor differences in structure. Often Down syndrome is associated with some impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth as well as facial appearance. Down syndrome can be identifies during pregnancy or at birth. Individuals with Down syndrome can have a lower than average cognitive ability, often ranging form mild to moderate learning disabilities. Developmental disabilities often manifests as tendency toward concrete thinking or naivete. A small number have severe to profound mental disability. The incidence of Down syndrome is estimated at 1 per 800 to 1,00 births.


Social and Emotional Development


Theories of Socio-Emotional Development


Erik Homburger Erikson (1902-1994) was a German developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coing the phrase identity crisis.

  • Each of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development are marked by a conflict, for which successful resolution will result in a favorable outcome, for example, trust vs. mistrust, and by an important event that is conflict resolves itself around, for example, meaning of one’s life.
  • Favorable outcomes of each stage are sometimes known as “ virtues”, a term used, in the context of Erikson  work, as it is applied to medicines, meaning” potencies”For example, the virtue that would emerge from successful resolution. Oddly, and certainly counter-intuively, Erikson’s research reveals with breath-taking clarity how each individual must learn how to hold both extremes of each specific life-stage challenge in tension with one another not rejecting one end of the tension or the other.
  • Only when both extremes in a life-stage challenge are understood and accepted as both required and useful, can the optimal virtue for that stage surface. Thus, “trust” and “mistrust” must both the understood and accepted, in order for realistic “hope” to emerge as a viable solution at the first stage. Similarly,”integrity” and “despair” must both be understood and embraced, in order for actionable wisdom to emerge as a viable solution at the last stage.

The Erikson life-stage virtues, in order of the stages in which they may be acquired are:

Hope- basic Trust vs. Mistrust

Will- Autonomy vs, Shame and Doubt

Purpose- Initiative vs.Guilt

Competence- Industry vs. Inferiority

Fidelity-Identity vs. Role Confusion

Love- (in intimate relationships, work and family ) Intimacy vs, Isolation

Caring- Generativity vs, Stagnation

Wisdom- Integrity vs. Despair

Albert Bandura ( Social Cognitive Theory)

  • Bandura bases his theory on the acquisition of complex behaviors on a triangular diagnram illustrating the interactive effect of various factors. These three factors are  behavior (B), the environment (E), and the internal events that influence perceptions and actions. (P). the relationship between these three factors is known as reciprocal determinism.
  • Bandura identified three types of rienforcers of behavior. These were direct reinforcement, vicarious reinforcement and self reinforcement. Direct reinforcement would be directly experienced by the learner. Vicarious reinforcement would be observed to be consequences of the behavior of the model. Self reinforcement would be feelings of satisfaction or displeasure for behavior gauged by personal performance standards.
  • Bandura describes three types of modeling stimuli, which are live models, symbolic models, and verbal descriptions or instructions. Of these three, in American society, the greatest range of exposure is in the form of symbolic models through mass media.
  • In Bandura’s later work he introduces two other aspects to his Social Learning Theory. These are his work on the self regulatory system and self efficacy. In the area of self regulatory system/ self evaluative behaviors he said that this system us based upon cognitive subprocesses that:
  • Perceive
  • Evaluate
  • Regulate behavior

Social Cognitive Theory- Utilized both in Psychology and Communications posits that portions of an individual’s knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences

An important point in the social cognitive theory is that the learner’s behavior is guided by cognitive processes rather than formed or shaped by reinforced practice. Four component  parts are responsible for the learning and performance acquisition. These are:

  1. Attentional processes
  • Observer characteristics

-perceptual/cognitive capacities

-arousal level

-past performance


  • Event characteristics


-affective valence


-functional value

-model’s characteristics

Intrinsic rewards


  1. Retentional processes
  • Observer characteristics

-cognitive skills

  • Event characteristics

-cognitive organization

-cognitive rehearsal


  1. Motor reproduction process
  • Observer characteristics

-physical capabilities

-subskill mastery

  • Event characteristics

-selection & organization of responses


  1. Motivational processes
  • Observer characteristics

-incentive preference

-social bias

-internal standards


  • Event characteristics

-external reinforcement

-self- reinforcement

-vivacious reinforcement

Emotional Intelligence– (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. As relatively new area of psychological research, the definition of EI is constantly changing.

The Emotional Competencies (Goleman) model

The El model instroduced by Daniel Goleman focuses in EL as wide array of competencies and skills that drive managerial performance, measured by multi-rater assessment and self-assessment ( Bradberry and Greaves, 2005). In working with Emotional Intelligence (1998) Goleman explored the function of EI on the job, and claimed EI to be the largest single predictor of success in the workplace, with more recent confirmation of these findings on a worldwide sample seen in Bradberry and Greaves, “The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book” (200%)

Goleman’s model outlines four main EI constructs:

Self-awareness- the ability to read one’s emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

Self- management-involves controlling one’s emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Social awareness- the ability to sense, understand, and react to other’s emotions while comprehending social networks.

Relationships management- the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.


Moral Developmental Theory.

Kohlberg’s stages of moral development are places of moral adequacy conceived by Lawrence   Kohlberg  to explain the development of moral reasoning. Created while studying psychology at the University of Chicago, the theory was inspired by the work if Jean Piaget and a fascination with children’s reactions to moral dilemmas. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at the university in 1958, outlining what are now know as his stages of moral development.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)

  1. Obedience and punishment orientation
  2. Self-interest orientation

(What’s in it for me)

Level 2 (Conventional)

  1. Interpersonal accord and conformity

(The good boy/good girl attitude)

  1. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation

(Law and order morality)

Level 3 ( Post- Conventional)

  1. Social contract orientation
  2. Universal ethical principles

(Principled conscience)

Carol Gilligan- her fame rests primarily on in a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development (1982) in which she criticized Kohlberg’s research on the moral development of used children. Which at the time showed that girls on average reached a lower level of moral development than boys did. Giligan pointed out that the participants in Kohlberg’s basic study were largely male, and that the scoring method Kohlberg used tended to a favor a principled way of reasoning that was more common to boys, over a moral argumentation concentrating on relations, which would be more amenable to girls. Kohlberg saw reason to revise his scoring method as a result of Gilligan’s critique, after which boys and girls scored evenly.

Her work formed the basis for what has become known as the ethics of care, a theory of ethics that contrasts ethics of care to so-called ethics of justice.

Factors Affecting Development

The following are some major factors affecting the social and emotional development of children and adolescents:

  • Media
  • Parenting
  • Role Models
  • Peer groups

Exceptional Development in the Area of Social Development

Leadership- the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute  toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members.

Juvenile Deliquency- Juvenile delinquency may refer to either violent or non-violent crime committed by persons who are (usually) under the age of eighteen and are still considered to be a minor. There is much debate about whether or not such a child should be held criminally responsible foe his or her own actions. There are many different inside influences that are believed to affect the way a child acts both negatively and positively, some of which are as follows:

  • Abandonment
  • Social institutions
  • Peer pressure

Affective and Mode Disorders- The mood or affective disorders are mental disorders that primarily affect mood and interfere with the activities of daily living. Usually it includes major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder ( also called Manic Depressive Psychosis.

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