Cognitive Development and its Effect on Delinquency

Cognitive development is a crucial aspect of a person’s life. This development helps us learn problem solving skills, advanced reasoning skills, abstract thinking skills, and the ability to think in concrete ways. All adolescents go through this stage at some time during these crucial years. Cognitive development, in general, refers to being able to think and reason. (University of Rochester, 2013). As children, individuals learn to think of things in concrete ways such as by combining, separating, ordering and transforming specific details. However, when adolescence begins, these children learn to think more abstractly, they tend to learn how to form their own ideas and questions, and they also tend to consider specific points of view according to varying criteria (University of Rochester, 2013). According to the article by the University of Rochester (2013), during early adolescence, more complex thinking is used in order to make decisions in the adolescent’s current surroundings such as school and home. Some examples of this include questioning authority and social standards and verbalizing their own thoughts and opinions. This can also be considered advanced reasoning skills (Huebner, 2012). Just as any other process, as a person gets older or more experienced, the process begins to change and develop. During middle adolescence, the individual learns to expand to include deeper thinking skills such as questioning and analyzing situations more extensively, gaining an idea of what they believe, and developing as individuals into their own identity (University of Rochester, 2013). Finally, during late adolescence, these individuals tend to focus more on things that are less self-centered such as how they feel about politics, history, justice, equality, and other forms of global concepts, career decisions, and the role that they will play in society (University of Rochester, 2013). This can also be considered abstract thinking skills (Huebner, 2012). Per the definition, adolescents learn reasoning and abstract thinking skills. Therefore, adolescents reason either for or against delinquency and delinquent behavior by their maturity levels and the amount of cognitive development that has taken place up until the point of delinquency.