People were always interested in the process of human development. However, they usually considered it as a matter of behavioral patterns, which were defined by the environment. The author of the research paper considers the stages of individual development. Today technologies provide a wide range for understanding what kind of the cognitive processes influence our behavior. Are there any opportunities to influence the change in the behavior? What is the suitable age for building the behavior patterns?
The article “Stages and Individual Differences in Cognitive Development” was chosen for the analysis. Both authors are engaged into the work of Department of Psychology. The authors are investigating the tools which determine and stimulate the cognitive development. They claim that there is a difference in the processes, which are involved into the stage development on the cognitive level. The article is written mainly on the basis on the present scientific findings, as modern scientists are between the approach of plasticity developmental biology and psychology, which is based on the lifespan approach. As a result, the individual differences are divided into the following models:
The authors of the article believe that both these models play a significant role in the development. They provide an example, that the child’s development is mainly stipulated by the two mentioned above factors. The article examines these factors from the perspective of the controversy resolution and its context. According to the maturation concepts, which are defined in the article, the provided research proves that the individual differences in the development occur only in complex and never separately.
The concept of developmental plasticity was an interesting finding. Such famous scientists as Gottlieb, Gould and Van Sluyters believe that the root for understanding of the notion of development plasticity lies in understanding the principles of embryology, biology and ethology. In addition, they claim, that in the process of analysis on the basis of the developmental plasticity notion, one should take into consideration also physiology and morphology principles. On some stages of human development person reaches the highest evolution level, which can cause death. However, during the last decade the maturation process has changed as well as the approaches to its analysis. Scientists prefer to use probabilistic epigenesis construction for definition of the maturity.
In the article “Stages and Individual Differences in Cognitive Development,” authors explore the connection between the stages of cognitive development, data, received in the process of the research and theories, which are result of summaries and conclusions. Biological approach on the issue is usually connected with the lifespan. If one common pattern is used at the same time and place, it will have a different influence. As a result, the patter differs depending on the group members: their age, location, nationality; and often the field of study or work.
Accordingly, the development process differs to the pattern. Usually the changes are provoked by the variations in the environment. Early childhood is often the period of frame creation and children rarely act on their own. With the maturity, the level of freedom increases. With the freedom increases also the level of diversity. The difference can be observed only in the process of moving from stage to stage.
It should be mentioned, that definitions influence the approaches and methodology of the studies. Many scholars claim that organismic-structural approach fits the best for analysis of the patterns. The corner stone for this approach is the behavior. The other part works in the field of the mechanistic-functional rout. In this case, in the scope of attention is the function, the environment and their synergy. However, there are integrated stages, which combine both approaches in the development analysis.
Integrated steps require complex approaches in the behavior analysis. Often they depend on the cognitive assessment and, for example, the methodology used for the organismic and mechanistic cannot reach the goals. As a result, the expectations will not be met.
For organismic approach the main factor, which defines the stage of development, is expressed in the metaphor of the organism. One of the famous analysts, who developed the organismic-structural approach, was Piaget. Kaplan said that everything in this world is judged according to the empirical experiences. There is the sequence of the behavior patterns, which can be considered as normal. Despite this, they are based mainly on the constructions, which have been built from the end to the beginning and are definite including the influence of the environment.
The sequential characteristics cannot be the part of the development, as well as the development cannot be compared to the learning. Development itself requires a well-organized approach in order to grow from stage to stage. This notion involves the learning, behavior, material, sequence and cause. The efficient combination of all these factors is the characteristic for the analysis of the development. Even if the variables are included into the development and do not respond to the common goal, they can be defined both as development and non-development.
Despite the wide spectrum of opinions, there are those who still believe that at every development stage, every person meets the same pattern or behavioral peculiarity. Despite this, the model of competencies varies from person to person and often can include both, mentioned above, approaches. The approach is ruled by the variation of the development and environment of the individual. The approach, which usually is chosen by the individual unconsciously, reflects the scope of values. In this case, the organismic-structural approach includes cognitive changes, which rule the behavior and its patterns according to the environment.
As it was mentioned above, there is another approach in the individual differences analysis and it is called mechanistic-functional. The strict structures by the rules characterize and frame this approach. The scope of this approach is the individual difference. One of the interesting things is the fact that often the results of the work on the basis of this approach are influenced by the cultural and ethnic peculiarities. Frequently, for children it is hard to move from stage to stage in the frame, defined by this approach. Behavior is corrected according to wishes of the majority. As a result, this approach supports and develops the hierarchy of the relationship between the individuals. The achievements are characterized by the gradual growth. This process is called scaffolding. It requires the presence of the environment and the mentor, who will show an example and teach. As a result, adults will rule the formation of the behavior patterns and will support only those, who correspond to their expectations. There exist a strict connection between data and patterns. Both are controlled by the adult, if to speak about the child.
The structures, created in this way, will rule the relationships of a grown up child in the adult life. The person cannot develop independently. The society define who you are, as well as you define what society is. The strict mechanic organizes things, but in this organization people easily loose freedom. It can be expressed differently. Mechanism itself is associated with the routine. In modern world routine is something people try to avoid, so they can feel the freedom. As a result, the behavioral patterns have changed dramatically, because of the positioning of the routine as a bad thing for the development. Accordingly, people prefer to learn and pile up the knowledge instead of implementing it. The majority lives holding the position ‘to have’. The so-called position ‘to be’ is the one, which supports the development in the process of learning and can easily combine both of the described approaches.
The article covers a vast scope of the information. It is rich on the theories, points of view and arguments. However, the authors of the article have based their work mainly on the analysis of already existing things, instead of suggesting something new. Despite this, the article includes the main information on the field of the cognitive development. The stages were described precisely and, as a result, they can be easily implemented to conduct one’s own research.
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As a result, the disadvantage of the article is the miss of a personally performed research and data analysis. The provided examples of the scientist’s achievements do not support fully the ideas, which authors have wished to express.
The chosen article provides a good ground for understanding of human behavior patterns. It reflects and supports already existing ideas, which are mainly based on the personal experience and subjective according to the proposed by the author’s approaches. As it was mentioned above, the disadvantage is the lack of the research. The paper has seemed to be overloaded with the theory; at some point this has created a challenge in the understanding of the material and caused inconvenience in following of the author’s idea.