ABSTRACT

Although the study of cognitive and intellectual development is often seen as quite separate and distinct from, say, social development, emotional development, and moral development, few researchers would disagree that development draws from a multitude of cognitive, noncognitive, and situational facets-that together, the processes involved in social, emotional, moral, as well as cognitive development determine at least to some extent how closely an individual’s global potential is realized (Neisser et al., 1996). Even within the group of researchers who study cognitive and intellectual abilities and their development, different approaches and methodological paradigms have been used. These approaches have at times been thought to be so distinct that they have been considered as separate domains of investigation. Whereas it might be convenient and expedient to parcel the study of cognition and its development into manageable pieces, it is also important to recognize that these pieces are often just part of the full cognitive development story. There have been various calls over the years to try to integrate the findings from the different approaches to conceptualizing cognition (e.g., Ackerman, 1987; Cronbach, 1957; Hunt, 1980; Sternberg, 1977). When attempting this, one is pressed to recognize the large dependency of many factors in the developmental process. This dependency is unlikely to emerge clearly when only a single methodological approach is used. In this chapter, we attempt to review a selection of theories, findings, and issues that span methodologies which we believe are significantly related to the development of cognitive abilities. Some of the theories and findings we discuss have a long history of investigation within traditional developmental psychology (i.e., Piagetian theories). Other theories are more contemporary (i.e., development of wisdom), tend to be less explicitly associated with chronological-maturational development (i.e., theories of knowledgeacquisition), or are only tangentially related to traditional Piagetian-like conceptualizations of development (i.e., the relation between concept formation and creativity). We feel this breadth provides for a deeper appreciation of the multifaceted issues that influence cognitive development.