Physical endurance, strength, and reaction times begin to slow down. Other significant hormonal changes occur, particularly in women. Menopause, or the cessation of menstruation, occurs during this stage anytime from the early 40's to early 50's. Men also can experience a drop in testosterone levels, a condition called andropause (Vermeulen, 2000). Both of these have been known to cause disturbances in eating, sleep, weight gain, and sex drive in both men and women. Perry's model focuses on how students move from a dualistic view of the world (right versus wrong) toward a more open and inclusive view.
Stage 1 The individual who might begin advanced learning in college sees the world from a dualistic point of view. There is right and wrong, and the authority figures know the answer.
Stage 2 The individual comes to realize that there are many options for right and wrong but feels that there must be one true, correct choice. Right and wrong is separated from authority, meaning that a "true" authority knows the correct answer while an authority figure that does not know the right answer is a false authority.
Stage 3 The individual realizes that knowledge and truth can be complex, and that authority figures might not know the correct answer. The authority figure might not know the correct answer. There is a focus on process, effort, and intention as being important in evaluating whether correctness was achieved.
Stage 4 The student must abandon a "right versus wrong" mindset as he or she understands that complexity is the norm. Some determine that an "independent-like" perspective, while working to achieve what the authority figure wants, is the best way to live. Others adopt truly independent thought. In the second group, individuals may determine that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and holds this belief as firmly as the "right or wrong" belief in earlier stages.
Stage 5 The individual shifts from believing that there are areas of uncertainty to believing that uncertainty is the norm. There are only occasional instances in which the answer can be completely right or wrong. In this stage the individual can objectively separate their emotion and opinion from a problem; conversely, the person may consider another's circumstance or context as fundamental to understanding his or her "rightness". There is the concession that a person can be right in his or her own country, workplace, position in society, etc. In this stage, the individual begins to doubt the original right and wrong principles he/she was originally taught about life.
Stage 6 In this stage the individual recognizes the necessity of commitment in order to move forward. Past decisions and beliefs are examined with a more objective lens. Old beliefs may be tossed out or solidified, and much depends on context and how beliefs are transferred into action.
Stages 7-9 In these stages, commitment continues. The individual first commits lightly to areas of low risk and then becomes more comfortable committing to riskier points of view. Individuals decompartmentalize their emotions and re-integrate them into the overall point of view. The individual respects others' points of views and is willing to reconsider how beliefs are practiced, how critical thinking is involved and that life can be more inclusive.
1. Silent Stage
In the silent stage women seem to rely and be dependent on authorities that surround them--parents, spouses, church leaders, bosses etc. They feel they have to keep out of trouble by avoiding speech, especially if it is not about what they see concretely in the present.
In this stage, women rarely speak about themselves because that would be dangerous and only talk about the details of what goes on around them that they do and work on. In order to grow, they eventually realize that they need to develop their mind about things other than those concretely available to them.
2. Stage of Received Knowledge
As the growth of developing their own mind and opinions happens, women go through the stage of received knowledge where they "receive" knowledge poured into them, in order to reproduce or share this knowledge with others. At this stage, women feel that trying to create something original is hard to do so they continue to replicate what others are saying, and most often shy away from the ambiguity of life.
During this stage there is a realization that things are no longer just black or white; however, this is still dangerous to talk about. Authorities are still the arbiters of truth even above those who are friends. Self-development is possible but only at the expense of others they must care for, so these women mostly learn by listening and working hard.
3. Stage of Subjective Knowledge
In the third stage of the model, subjective knowledge, the core of a personal, privately gained, and intuited knowledge has emerged. However, this core knowledge is still shaky, short-lived, and inconsistent. Analysis and logic are viewed as men's domain, and certainly not part of women's repertoire because of a women's lack of a sense of self.
The woman's voice is starting to appear in this stage and seems to recognize that truth is within rather than in an external authority. Yet, there is a belief that experience is the truth, and, therefore, this is the prized way to know something about life. Therefore the best way to know, is to listen internally and watch what happens in the surrounding environment.
4. Stage of Procedural Knowledge
Procedural knowledge is the next stage. It is in this stage that the Self becomes more evident. However, this self is still encapsulated within the systems that women belong to. As a result, women in this stage are not able to deal with more than one system at a time, because knowing is procedural. Specifically knowledge is still crafted and embedded in the group or system.
There are two parts to the knowledge that is forthcoming:
Connected knowing that is based on empathy and the connection to another person who owns ideas. These ideas can be shared in dialogue.
Separate knowing that is a realization that everyone may believe many different things and that experts are only as good as their arguments (authorities are no longer relevant).
The separate part of procedural knowing keeps a distance from the self's emotions in order to be objective and lets everyone know and practice his/her knowledge separately. Eventually, that knowledge can be shared through connection and empathy, even though it is not integrated.
5. Constructers of Knowledge Stage
Finally, in the last stage, women can become constructers of knowledge. Women in this stage have a highly integrated sense of Self, and they can tolerate ambiguity and paradox. Once this stage is reached, there is an integration of the Self and the knowledge that has been gained. There are distinctive aspects of the self that are revealed in diverse contexts as it is accepted that knowledge is contextual. Therefore, knowledge is recognized, amplified, or distilled according to the context within which it is embedded. This adds to the construction of an integrated framework of realized knowledge and Self.
Two sets of psychologists have pushed the framework beyond Piaget to describe the fifth stage of cognitive development beyond the Formal stage, in that they recognize the cognitive development that occurs in adults. These two branches of research, the dialectical and the relativistic, create the Postformal stage of cognitive growth in their recognition of cognitive development and creativity in adults.
What is valuable about all these theories is that they give credence to the growth beyond adolescence that takes place in adults and the complex world they are faced with.
Dialectical Model of Cognitive Development
Klaus Riegel (1973) was one of the first people in psychology to propose the dialectical model of cognitive development*. This theory is a neo-Piagetian theory that goes beyond the observations and testing of Piaget since the writings and research of Riegel are years after Piaget did the original cognitive research of the first four stages.
Premises of Dialectical Model
Development is a study of change, not stasis.
The study of a person's development is embedded in a matrix of influences from all levels of organization; biological, psychological, physical, environmental, sociocultural.
Life consists of contradiction and the search for resolution at each contradiction newly met. Contradictions in life are the motor that cause the changes of cognition.
Context is the key variable in this model that influences change much like Bronfenbrenner proposes in his ecological model of development; people are both producers and product of their context and their personal development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
Source: Adapted from Riegel (1973)
Relativistic Model of Cognitive Development
The other theorists who critiqued Piaget to go beyond his fourth Formal Stage created the relativistic model of cognitive development*.
Jan Sinnot (1981) suggests that the era of Newton, in juxtaposition to the era of Einstein, reveal the philosophic change to the relativistic model. Newton's era posited the enclosed and carefully constructed logic of elements while Einstein's model proposed relativity. Sinnot calls this, the stage of relativity, the singular development of adulthood in cognition.
Yet another researcher, P. K. Arlin (1975, 1984), called the post-formal stage problem-finding, as juxtaposed with Piaget's fourth stage of problem-solving. And D. A. Kramer (1983) labeled this fifth stage the independence from bipolar logic (or black and white logic), letting adults roam free in mutually incompatible arenas of ambiguity. K. S. Kitchener and her colleagues (1990) called these adult levels a model of reflective judgment.
The relativistic models of all of these researchers have this in common:
Relativistic Models of Cognitive Thinking
The relativistic nature of knowledge—the fact that there are systems of knowledge that are incompatible because of the contexts in which they are used and discussed, e.g. science and religion
The acceptance of contradiction as part of reality
Contradictions are not necessarily solved or integrated, they live side by side in the new reality and create extreme multiplicity
Source: Adapted from Arlin, Kramer and Kitchener
Daniel Levinson: Seasons of a Man's Life
Daniel Levinson suggested in his theory entitled "The Seasons of a Man's Life" (Levinson, 1978), that there are six main stages of adult life. The underlying premise of his theory is the life structure. This life structure is an underlying pattern of an individual's life that is shaped mainly by their social and physical environment. While primarily these structures involve family and work, other variables such as race, religion, and status are also important. Within his theory there are two key concepts: the stable period during which a person makes crucial life choices, and the transitional period where a person is ending one stage and beginning a new one.
Levinson's "Seasons of a Man's Life"
Early adult transition Spans from age 17 to 22.
During this period, people leave adolescence and start to make choices for adult life.
Entering the adult world Spans from age 22 to 28.
During this period, changes occur in the life structure.
People choose occupations, lovers, peers, values, and lifestyles.
Each person must find a balance between keeping options open and making choices.
People ultimately focus on two major tasks: to anchor their lives in family and career, and to succeed by building a better life.
Age 30 transition Spans from age 28 to 33.
During this period, often stressful changes occur in life structure. These changes can often can result in a crisis.
Settling down Spans from age 33 to 40.
This stage is defined by establishing a role in society and progressing in terms of career accomplishments and developing a family.
Midlife transition Spans from age 40 to 45.
This stage life structure often comes into question resulting in a crisis centered on the meaning, direction, and value of an individual's life structure. In some instances, a major shift occurs. In other cases, the change is more subtle, such as a change in attitude. The key questions in this stage are:
What have I done with my life?
What do I truly want?
How can I change my life?
Entering middle adulthood Spans from age 45 to 50.
This stage is defined by choices that must be made to define a new life structure.
Late adult phase Spanning from 60 onward.
People are more and more cognizant of the physical and mental changes associated with age. Older adults must stay connected to their families and other sources of vitality and creativity. It is also important to come to terms with one's own mortality and to enjoy the benefits of wisdom.
Source: Adapted from Levinson (1978)
As children progress into adolescence, relationships with peers become increasingly important. At this stage teens become more susceptible to peer-pressure*, and adolescents tend to form friendships with peers who are similar in age and belief systems (Clark, & Ayers, 1992). Interestingly, friendships among adolescent girls demonstrate three stages. Between age 11 and 13, friendships focus on joint activities. Between 14 and 16, friendships become more emotional, with a focus on sharing secrets. Trust becomes a critical part of friendship. From age 17 onward, the focus of friendship changes to compatibility shared personalities, and shared interests. Unlike girls, boys' friendships throughout adolescence tend to be more focused on joint activities (Eder, 1985).
At this stage romantic and sexual relationships also become more and more significant. The onset of this behavior is highly correlated with social and cultural influences (Brooks-Gunn & Furstenberg, 1989). As might be expected when this behavior is considered appropriate differs widely from one culture to the next.
There has been significant difficulty in studying adult social development in the field of psychology. Unlike infancy, early childhood, and adolescence, during which time social development is more easily tracked as the child must be cared for, the normal progression of social development in adulthood is greatly skewed across cultures. For example, in many African countries, the average age of marriage is around 20 years old, while the average age of marriage in Greenland is almost 33 (Maps of the World, 2013).
The challenge presented by cultural differences
Cultural differences make it even more difficult to parse out aspects of normal human social development from the imposition of cultural expectations. Do humans have an innate desire to partner in marriage? Do humans have an innate desire to participate in social or civil communities? To what degree are these desires inherent in our natures or learned throughout years of entrenchment in our own cultures?
Questions of how to account for differences in social-seeking behavior
Further, how can we account for the difference in the degree of social-seeking behavior that occurs among adults in the same culture, or over time? The norm used to be to bear children; however, more people in the United States are choosing not to. The average number of children per household is fewer than it was years ago (Babay, 2013). An adult may maintain close contact with family, and a large group of friends, or an adult may choose to socialize rarely with only a handful of loved ones.
One aspect of adult social development that is present, to a degree, cross-culturally is generativity*; specifically, the desire to contribute to future generations (Hofer et al., 2008). The concept of developing and leaving a legacy through children, career, or other contributions to society become more relevant.