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Essay by   •  March 19, 2011  •  284 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,004 Views

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Cognitive development, according to Webster's dictionary, is the process of acquiring intelligence and increasingly advanced thought and problem-solving ability from infancy to adulthood. In the earlier stages of one's life, an individual's cognitive thinking is affected by both inherited genes (nature) and experiences that take place throughout our lives (nurture). The development of the human brain plays an important role in living, learning, and other skills needed throughout life. For the purpose of this paper, one can also argue that this cognitive development plays a major role in an individual's ethical judgment and personal responsibility. Our brain's cognitive understanding and interpretation of information is what makes us all individuals. William Perry was a well known psychologist who specifically studied college students and what he perceived to be three stages of development throughout their college years. Perry theorized that their were 3 major stages of student development. In each of these stages an individual has a certain perspective on what is essentially right or wrong.

Perry's first stage was Dualism. In this stage students perceive information as either being right or wrong, true or false. Prior to college, a student develops a dualistic relationship with their parent's. Because they serve as the authority figure(s) in the household, whatever mom or dad says is right. Teachers have a similar affect, however up until college, most of a student's time is spent living at home, and therefore parents have more of a direct influence and are the overall authority. Though this parental influence has major weight on an individuals cognitive structuring, as a student transitions to college, his/her behavior is now dictated by authority figures within the campus environment. Interestingly enough, many parent's and campus



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