Knowledge and Cognitive Development in Adulthood
This paper considers the possibilities for and mechanisms of cognitive development in adulthood with the primary objective of providing an impetus for its alternative conceptualisation. The analysis covers the classical (Vygotsky and Piaget) and the postmodern, constructivist developmental and contextualist theories of cognitive development, as well as the relevant available empirical research. Despite the significant inconsistencies in the analysed theories and the empirical evidence, the results of the analysis point to the conclusion that significant positive changes in cognitive development can and do happen during adulthood and that they are founded on systems and structures of knowledge formed during the individual’s life. The mechanisms responsible for cognitive development in adulthood are as follows: a progression in the use of systems of meaning and knowledge, the establishment of a unified conceptual framework for the interpretation of reality and the intellectualisation of the cognitive space as a whole and of individual cognitive functions.
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