Cognitive development refers to the building of thought processes that include decision-making, remembering and problem solving from childhood to adolescence all through to adulthood. Cognitive development denotes how a person thinks, perceives, and acquires understanding of her or his world via the learned factors and the genetic interaction. Among the cognitive development areas are memory, information processing, language development, intelligence and reasoning. The cognitive development of a human being changes with individual growth and development. Children learn at early age and continue to learn as they grow. There is also massive mental growth during early age and during the teenage. This paper evaluates the growth and development of human memory cognitive aspect from childhood through adolescence to the adulthood.
Memory Development and Changes throughout the Lifetime
Memory is referred to as the process or the power of recalling or reproducing what has been retained and learned particularly via associative mechanisms. Memory is among the cognitive areas that vary for children, the elderly and young adults. There are three kinds of memory that changes during human development. They include immediate recall, long-term or remote memory, and short-term memory. The long-term memory includes both declarative and non-declarative memory. Declarative memory includes semantic memory which involves recall of factual or general knowledge, episodic memory which is explicit events recollection, and source memory which involves memory on the context where in the information was learned. Non-declarative memory include procedural memory which involve non-conscious motoric sequence acquisition, priming which is implicit effect which past exposure to stimulus contain on later performance of test. This section discusses memory changes with different stages of human development (Connor, 2001).
Children memory differs greatly from that of adults. With regard to long-term memory, children characteristically have outstanding recognition memory, but comparatively poor recall memory. With regard to working memory, the ability of older children to recall items matches almost that of young adults in colleges. Another main variation between child’s memory and that of an adult is that memories of children are not set in the brain up until a later age. Based on the research, young children have a high ability to recall earlier memories compared to older children. The three elderly, adults and children age brackets all face variations with regard to memory. The human brain attains its peak performance in early twenties, and matures maximally at the age of 25. It then begins to decline in the following years. Once an individual attains the age of forty, the cortex begins to shrink, causing slight variations in the ability of a person to multitask or recall specific things that include new names. The aging normal brain experiences decline in the flow of blood. This decline makes it complex for the brain to initiate different parts into work (Brooks, 2016).
Elderly people normally complain of problems of subjective semantic memory when for instance they report struggle recalling the common objects name or any other information that is well learned. However, irrespective of these subjective struggles, semantic memory is one of the most stable systems of memory across the lifespan of adults. Semantic memory is a form of memory that is least impacted in the elderly. The elderly perform considerably well in long-term memory, especially on the test related to the semantic memory. According to the study, individuals aged from 50 to 80 perform well compared to individuals aged from 30 to 40 on crossword puzzles. However, prospective memory does reduce with age since it depends on working memory. In most cases, elderly individuals will have working memory decline, which eventually impacts their prospective memory (Brooks, 2016). Semantic memory is frequently integrated as part of crystallized intelligence definition which shows an information accumulation acquired with time and which is considerably impermeable to the influence of mild brain disease or normal aging. Semantic memory demonstrates very minute reduction in normal aging. Actually, semantic memory and knowledge accumulation increase into the age of 60s and 70s and might afterward only demonstrate a gradual decline (Brickman & Stem, 2009).
Nevertheless, episodic memory reduces significantly with age. For instance, when prompted, older adults contain extra trouble recalling what they ate for breakfast compared to younger adults. Episodic memory is characteristically assessed by demanding people to learn explicit information and recall it after a certain time. The three episodic memory aspects include phases of encoding, storage, and retrieval of stored and encoded information. The three phases demonstrate varying aging impacts. Elderly demonstrate general complexity on episodic memory tasks might be accounted partially for by an extra shallow encoding depth, as contrasted to younger adults. Elderly in this case remember less information due to extra limited processing of the initial stimuli of study. According to research, age-related decline of episodic memory starts as early as 20 years and linearly decline until around the age of 60, where in extra precipitous decline is noted. There is also high evidence that elderly people experience difficulties remembering the source of information, even when they remember the information clearly (Brickman & Stem, 2009).
Elderly also have a slow ability of learning procedural memory, however, their ability increase to match that of young adults in case they relearn the procedure. Working memory is said to decline two fold from the age of 70, especially when the information to be applied on is given visual-partially or verbally (Brickman & Stem, 2009). The elderly vary from middle or young adults based on the affected form of memory. As an individual gets older, various forms of memory are impacted. Flashbulb, sources, and episodic memory are the forms of memory that are mostly impacted. Semantic memory and procedural memory which deals with concepts and facts are impacted the least. On a memory test entailing recalling numbers which are in order, older and younger adults achieved similar results. When the test entailed more complex tasks that include multitasking, a great variation between older adults and younger adults was noted (Brooks, 2016).
Based on the analysis, the memory of a person start from a low level during childhood and grow as one grows. However, this massive growth stops after reaching the mid-20s where it starts declining. To prolong the effective functionality of the brains to enhance memory, one may consider memory training. Some of the applied techniques include loci, mnemonic, and drill techniques (Connor, 2001). Memory can also be improved by socializing, having physical exercises, and checking on ones’ hearing and seeing ability. Memory loss is also highly associated with other conditions such as poor nutrition, substance abuse, dehydration, and cognitive disorders that include depression, anxiety, and psychological stress among others. In this regard memory can be improved by checking on diet, and ensuring psychological health through therapy and social support. Alzheimer is another disease that plays a great role in memory loss. Although it cannot be fully treated, therapy should be used to reduce its effect on elderly population (Apa.org, n.d.).
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