Since time immemorial, the issue of whether intelligence increases or is suppressed during adulthood has been a source of vexation for many psychologists. Little regard has been paid to adult developmental processes as a lot of previous developmental psychological efforts have been aimed towards infants and children. This is on the assumption that with old age, one only awaits death thus there is no more need or opportunity to grow or learn. While intellectual and personality development in adults is complicated, a lot can be said and done on their development. This essay presents a comprehensive analysis on how personality and intellect develops in adults, factors that affect their development and how to live or work with such developments.
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Individuals go through various stages of development that alter their way of reasoning, feeling and acting that prepare them for a certain stage of life. According to Piaget, intellectual development is fully attained with formal operations during late adolescence and thus apart from several individual specializations, further growth is no longer necessary. However, formal operations are not enough.
The intellectual growth of adults can be explained through the stability and decrement approaches. According to the stability perspective, adult thinking basically does not change after maturity. On the other hand, while there is little proof that one’s personality doesn’t really change much with age, there is evidence that older adults especially from those above 60 years of age do actually change thus the decrement model is of the idea that owing to various factors especially biological, a person’s thinking capacity deteriorates slowly with age (Bjorklund, 2010, page).
Actually, the way an older adult thinks differs a great deal from how a young adult does. This is because as individuals grow older, there is a slight change of personality. The vigor of work and life brought on by changes in social roles help a young adult have post formal thinking that helps one be smarter or wiser. This stage of growth becomes fully fledged during old age when adults try to find meaningful existence in relation to their experiences. Majority of cultures believe that with advance in age comes increased religiosity and wisdom.
Older adults become more religious or engage more in private activities that have significant meaning to their lives (Bjorklund, 2010). As opposed to young adults who view things idealistically, older adults owing to their vast experiences tend to think more realistically and clearly. Adults tend to think more logically and with advanced age because they have experienced many social situations that enable them utilize and enhance their intellectual abilities and personalities.
The gender, environmental and cultural dispositions impact a lot on an individual’s personality and intellect. According to Kohlberg, adults especially women who go to mass tend to live much longer as religion enhances prosperous behavior, lend social assistance, instill adaptation skills, and enhance positive feelings (Bjorklund, 2010).
Intellectual and personality development in adults can be facilitated through a variety of activities Adults can adopt new concepts and undertake intellectually or cultural challenging endeavors such as religious practices like mass and prayers, deciphering puzzles and other less strenuous mind bogging activities. This way, they not only become confident of their cognitive abilities but it is also a way of relieving the effects of stress that comes with old age.
Taking a more active role in religious convictions and practices helps gain some sense of assurance as they approach the end as some activities such as prayers and forgiveness help shelter one from traumas of stress. Even without attending church, the old can still maintain their religious convictions and exclusive practices (Bjorklund, 2010, p. 157). Kohlberg argues that during spiritual growth, individuals go through several steps of conscientious reasoning that help them make ethical judgments inclined to fairness and respect. Fowler also advances that faith links us with others we live and in old age, one tries to be at peace and unity with God and life as they await the end.
Bjorklund, R. B. (2010). The journey of adulthood. (7th ed.) Upper saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR.