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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines cognitive development in emerging adulthood by focusing on two concepts: cognitive complexity and development. More specifically, it explores how complex cognitive abilities enable emerging adults to better cope with the demands of adult life through the aid of complex thinking that results from cognitive development. To understand cognitive development, the chapter first outlines several conditions that make a cognitive change developmental in nature. It then discusses three cognitive processes, namely, cognition, metacognition, and epistemic cognition, with emphasis on the theory and research related to each. In addition, it considers age-related issues of cognitive development. William G. Perry Jr.’s seminal work on students’ intellectual and ethical development in the college years is also examined, together with the concepts of self-evolution and self-authorship. Finally, the chapter discusses the dynamic development theory developed by Fischer et al. and its implications for understanding epistemic development.

Keywords: cognitive development, cognitive complexity, cognition, metacognition, epistemic cognition, self-evolution, self-authorship, dynamic development theory

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