Cognitive Changes

Developmental cognitive occur starting age 50 moving end life.

Developmental and cognitive changes

The essay aims at exploring the developmental and cognitive changes that occur starting at the age of fifty years moving through end of life. The developmental changes are easily noticeable or observable, hence not much of literature or scholarly articles have been written about it. On the other hand a lot of materials, studies and researches have been conducted on cognitive changes because cognition is a key requirement needed in both the young and old to meet the job demands, challenges of education and day-to-day life of an individual (MacDonald, Hultsch, & Dixon, 2003, p 32-52).

Before the essays embark on the changes that occur at the age of fifty and beyond its important to consider the early changes right from when a baby is born up to middle life for us to understand the topic better.

Developmental and cognitive changes prior to the age of 50 years old

Anstey, et al. (2003 p 132) in their studies and published book, they are quoted as having concluded that human beings experience certain changes in their lifetime not only about their physical changes but also changes in the way they construct or organize their thoughts, memorization capabilities, their decision making skills and their abilities in solving problems, all these aspects of a man goes through certain phases of change that span from childhood through to adolescence up to adulthood.

As infants begin to grow and so does their body which experience growth in size and shape, they also develop their thinking skills and perception of things around them by collecting, sorting and process information in the surrounding environment (Hertzog & Bleckley 2001, p 29).

Numerous theorists and researchers have all contributed to the topic of developmental and cognitive changes in individuals and have increasingly focused on areas such as information processing, language skills, reasoning capabilities, intelligence level and memory as the main factors that determine cognitive development in individuals.

Freund & Baltes (2002 p, 426-434) have given a detailed account of these changes right from when a baby is born to past adolescents age and they summarized their findings that suggested; between the ages of eighteen months to three years babies develop rudimentary thought which involves visually following falling objects, they seek for independence from their caring parents, understand what’s wrong and right. At preschool age that’s between age three to six years a child can imagine, pay attention, learn and memorize what he/she was taught also his social interaction skills shall also be developed. Between the ages of six to twelve years a child will have developed skills in problem solving and thinking, the attention span will also have increased and they can now use past experience to reason out why some things happen. At the adolescents stage an individual shall have gained increased independence in thinking and solving problems, he or she can learn and apply what he learnt to adapt in certain situations or occupation it is also the stage of cognitive transition, as thinking capabilities become more advanced, efficient and complex. Past adolescent into youth and then middle age physical development shall have increased with the body and its organs increasing in size while the thinking skills shall have also increased greatly together with perception of things which shall become relative rather than absolute.

Developmental and cognitive changes at the age of 50 years and beyond

Finkel, et al. (2003, p 39) in their book ‘Developmental Psychology’; have used the term ‘half a century old’ to describe to fifty years old persons and such persons they continue to say, have had five whole decades of exposure which has taken toll of their body resulting to wrinkles developing, some organs in their body no longer functioning as they did before, an example being the functioning capabilities of their heart and lung which reduces, the level of physical strength also declines, co-ordination, reaction time, movement skills and sensation also decline.

Hofer, Berg & Era (2003, p 285-385) studies on developmental changes at the age of fifty years old and beyond, categorized this changes into two conditions namely presbycusis and presbyopias. The presbycusis refers to difficulty experienced on hearing of high-pitched sounds due to aging while presbyopias refer to difficulty experienced in reading.

Perhaps for a more comprehensive look at the developmental changes at the age of fifty years old and beyond this essay will refers to studies conducted by Park, et al. (2002, p 299-320) among other authors in the references that indicate that there are more impairments with the nervous system once someone reaches the age of fifty that are attributed to loss of larger ventricles and neurons within the brain. The sensory system become less efficient at fifty as vision becomes impaired due to the cornea being more translucent thus blurring images or the eyes lenses turns yellow leading to color blindness. Hearing abilities are also affected by the reduction of blood supply and failure of sense organs in the cilia, ear and the auditory complex of the brain. The loss of touch receptors mostly occur among individuals who are seventy years older due to slow circulation of blood in the extremities.

The immune system declines thus the reason why most people who are fifty years old and above frequently fall ill. Physical appearance and mobility are the quick pointers of a person’s age and it’s easy to single someone who is more than fifty years old by referring to facial structures, skin, hair which loses its natural pigment and body built as height declines. The respiratory and cardiovascular systems are also affected as the aging heart cells enlarge increasing thickness of the left ventricle and it also becomes more rigid leading to slow blood flow.

Keith McGrew a renowned psychology laments that ‘as we age so does our cognitive’; the same view is share by various authors among them Zelinsky & Lewis (2003, p 727-743) who in their studies indicated that there is memory loss among persons who are aged fifty and above as their uptake of information gets slower. Language in general is also affected among aging individuals as they experience difficulty in finding the right words to use and even how to pronounce them becomes difficult. The sharp skills that one possess in solving problem while still a youth starts to diminishes when one approaches fifty years of age hence the reason why marriage counselors advice older couples to cooperate when there is a problem to solve because at this point two is better than one. Of a particular importance and still the reason why aging is not bad after all is the positive fact that as one gets old so does his wisdom which increases with time. As someone gets older it also means that he or she has encountered certain difficulties in life of which he or she adapted to or resolved, consequently such experience will make an older person more likely to apply creativity and emotional maturity in helping other who haven’t reached that stage of experience (Lamar, Resnick, & Zonderman, 2003, p 82-86).

Theories on developmental and cognitive changes

Erik Erikson (1902-1990)

Erik Erikson a well renowned psychoanalyst who is remembered for developing the eight theoretical stages of development in human life starting from birth till death or up to the point where he reaches his or her full development. Each of these involves a crisis and its’ prescribed resolution of which its’ necessary to resolve the crisis before one moves to the next stage of development.

Erik Erikson eight stages of development include; trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. doubt, initiative vs. doubt, industry vs. guilt, competence vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation and lastly ego-integrity despair.

Roger Gould (1975-1978)

Gould is a psychologist who also contributed to the study of developmental and cognitive changes in human beings by publishing eight stage theories on adult personality. His theory mainly focused on the time factor and how individuals view the time factor at different stages of their life.

The eight stages of this theory comprises of;

16-22 years old-leaving with parents; their perception at this time is that they will always stay with their parent.

22-28 years old-that is an adult now; at this age group they under the false assumption that doing things they way one’s parents want them to be done will definitely bring success.

28-34 years old-opening up to what’s inside; this age group is under the false assumption that life is simple and controllable.

34-45 years old-Midlife decade; this age group is under the false assumption that there is no evil or death.

45 years older and above-Beyond mid life; this age group is not living under any false assumption, they appreciate what one has and focus on what one has established or achieved.

Warner Schaie

Schaie’s theory focused on five stages of cognitive development; which he divided into;

The first stage is acquisitive…

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