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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148474 Find in a Library
Title: Cognitive Development in Context: An Investigation of Practical Problem Solving and Developmental Tasks
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:23  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1994)  Pages:141-168
Author(s): P A Klaczynski
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study tested the theory that progress through the life course is, in part, determined by individuals' ability to solve problems posed by the developmental tasks confronting them.
Abstract: Study participants were 23 first-year (11 male, 12 female) and 20 fourth-year (13 male, 7 female) medical students from a university-affiliated medical center. A comparison group of 16 first-year (8 male, 8 female) and 17 fourth-year (8 male, 9 female) graduate students from nonmedical departments within the same university also participated. The use of the graduate student group protected against a general experiential explanation of between-group differences. To determine whether the tasks uncovered ethnographically were representative of the tasks faced by participating students and whether the medical tasks differed from those of graduate students, a questionnaire was constructed that contained 12 possible subtasks that students could have faced. To assess the extent to which the developmental tasks students faced influenced the types of strategies they use to solve daily problems, a booklet that contained descriptions of six problem situations was administered to participants. Other aspects of the study examined participant performance in interpretive styles dilemmas and in logical problemsolving. The study found that the daily problemsolving of students in both years was oriented toward completing the tasks associated with their year in school. The styles students developed to interpret contextually relevant problems were associated with their social environments and developmental tasks, and developmental tasks accounted for more variance of daily problemsolving than in interpretive styles. The findings provide more direct support than previously available for a relationship between practical intellectual development and life course contexts. 4 tables and 35 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Cognitive developmental theory; Criminology; Students; Study release
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