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Chapter 3: Cognitive Changes
Multiple Choice Questions
1) The changes that take place in the ways adolescents think are known as
A) mental progress.
B) informational input.
C) cognitive development
D) knowledge processing.
Answer: C
Cognitive development refers to the changes in thinking, reasoning, and understanding that
occur over time. This includes changes in how adolescents process information, solve
problems, and make decisions.
2) The most important figure to study how children's thinking changes during development
A) Sigmund Freud.
B) Jean Piaget.
C) Konrad Lorenz.
D) G, Stanley Hall.
Answer: B
Jean Piaget is widely considered the most important figure in the study of cognitive
development in children. His theories and research laid the foundation for much of our
understanding of how children's thinking changes as they grow.
3) For Piaget, the process of trying to understand new information in terms of one's existing
knowledge is known as
A) interaction.

B) maturation.
C) accommodation.
D) assimilation.
Answer: D
Assimilation is the process by which new experiences are incorporated into existing schemas
or mental structures. It involves interpreting new information in a way that fits with what is
already known.
4) For Piaget, the process of changing one's current ways of thinking in response to new
experiences is known as
A) assimilation.
B) accommodation.
C) interaction.
D) maturation.
Answer: B
Accommodation is the process of modifying existing schemas or creating new ones in
response to new experiences. It involves changing one's understanding of the world to
incorporate new information.
5) According to Piaget, young adolescents enter the stage of _____, in which thinking is
based on an abstract system of logic.
A) concrete operations
B) abstract operations
C) formal operations
D) logical operations
Answer: C

Piaget believed that around the age of 11 or 12, children enter the formal operational stage of
cognitive development. In this stage, they can think abstractly and logically about
hypothetical situations.
6) When trying to understand social relationships in her new school, Farah generates a set of
hypotheses about who is friends with whom, then systematically looks for evidence to
confirm or disconfirm them. Piaget would place Farah in the _____ stage of cognitive
A) sensorimotor
B) preoperational
C) concrete operational
D) formal operational
Answer: D
Farah's ability to generate hypotheses and systematically test them aligns with the
characteristics of the formal operational stage, where individuals can think abstractly and
engage in hypothetical-deductive reasoning.
7) The competence-performance gap is likely to be larger when
A) the adolescent's attention is divided among different problems.
B) the material fits well with the teen's own views.
C) the matter is personally relevant.
D) the information being considered is more familiar.
Answer: A
The competence-performance gap refers to the difference between what an individual knows
or is capable of in ideal circumstances (competence) and what they demonstrate in a
particular situation (performance). This gap is likely to be larger when attention is divided

among different problems, as this can interfere with the ability to apply knowledge
8) Patrick, a 10th grader, does not believe there are such things as UFOs. He is most likely to
notice illogical reasoning when reading an article that
A) discusses the benefits and costs of globalization.
B) argues for the existence of UFOs.
C) argues that UFOs are imaginary.
D) explains why 10th graders are superior to younger adolescents.
Answer: B
Patrick's disbelief in UFOs suggests that he values logical reasoning. Therefore, he is most
likely to notice illogical reasoning in an article that argues for the existence of UFOs, as this
would conflict with his existing beliefs and understanding of logic.
9) "Cars have four wheels. This object has four wheels, so it's a car." This is an example of
A) hypothetico-deductive reasoning.
B) metalogical analysis.
C) inductive reasoning.
D) preoperational thinking.
Answer: C
This statement is an example of inductive reasoning, where a general conclusion is drawn
from specific observations. In this case, the conclusion that the object is a car is based on the
observation that it has four wheels, which is a characteristic of cars.
10) Adolescents are more likely than children to measure their world against abstract
concepts such as fairness and justice and to propose ways to improve it, reflecting their
greater ability to
A) understand metaphor.

B) use inductive reasoning.
C) think hypothetically.
D) infer conclusions.
Answer: C
The ability to think hypothetically is a key characteristic of Piaget's formal operational stage,
which typically begins in adolescence. In this stage, individuals can consider abstract
concepts and hypothetical situations, including ideas about fairness, justice, and ways to
improve the world.
11) Adolescents can better grasp sayings such as "When it rains, it pours" through their ability
A) mentally compare explicit and implicit meanings.
B) understand grammatical rules.
C) ignore abstract relationships.
D) stay focused on concrete aspects of objects.
Answer: A
Understanding idiomatic expressions like "When it rains, it pours" requires the ability to
compare the explicit (literal) and implicit (figurative) meanings of language. Adolescents'
developing cognitive abilities allow them to make these comparisons more effectively than
younger children.
12) The ability to attend to multiple meanings helps adolescents appreciate
A) concrete information.
B) sarcasm.
C) egocentrism.
D) inductive reasoning.

Answer: B
Sarcasm often involves conveying a meaning that is opposite to the literal meaning of the
words used. Adolescents' ability to attend to multiple meanings helps them understand
sarcasm, as they can recognize the discrepancy between the literal and intended meanings.
13) Compared to younger children, adolescents are better at
A) thinking about possibilities.
B) understanding the world in abstract terms.
C) seeing what is as a particular case of what might be.
D) All of the above.
Answer: D
Adolescents' cognitive development enables them to think more abstractly, consider
possibilities, and understand that the world is not limited to what is currently experienced.
They can also see current situations as examples of broader possibilities.
14) The "imaginary audience" is one way that adolescent _____ shows itself.
A) abstraction
B) accommodation
C) egocentrism
D) operationalism
Answer: C
The imaginary audience is a concept in adolescent psychology that refers to the belief that
others are constantly watching and judging one's behavior, leading to self-consciousness and
heightened concern about social acceptance.

15) As Luigi walks by two girls, one glances at him, then returns to her conversation. He is
sure she is making a negative comment about him. Elkind would see this as an example of
A) introspection.
B) the imaginary audience.
C) impression formation.
D) a personal fable.
Answer: B
David Elkind's concept of the imaginary audience describes the belief that others are
constantly watching and evaluating one's behavior. Luigi's interpretation of the girl's glance
as a negative comment reflects this self-consciousness and belief that he is the center of
others' attention.
16) "This is the worst thing that ever happened to anyone!" Statements of this sort reflect the
influence of
A) Internet chatrooms.
B) dramatic license.
C) the personal fable.
D) concrete operations.
Answer: C
The personal fable is a belief commonly seen in adolescents that their experiences, thoughts,
and feelings are unique and exceptional, leading them to feel invulnerable or overly
significant. Statements like the one given reflect this belief in the intensity and uniqueness of
personal experiences.
17) Tiffany is aware that unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted
infections, but she tells her friends that if she became sexually active, she knows nothing bad
would happen to her. Elkind would see this as an example of

A) counterfactual thinking.
B) a personal fable.
C) metacognition.
D) the imaginary audience.
Answer: B
Tiffany's belief that nothing bad would happen to her despite knowing the risks of
unprotected sex reflects the personal fable, which involves a sense of invulnerability and
uniqueness that leads adolescents to believe they are exempt from common dangers or
18) Research on the imaginary audience suggests that
A) teens show off even if no one is looking.
B) young adolescents are more egocentric than older adolescents.
C) risky behaviour is more likely in the company of peers.
D) often others really are watching and judging.
Answer: D
Research on the imaginary audience suggests that adolescents often believe others are
watching and judging them, even when they are not. This belief can influence their behavior
and decisions, as they may act as if they are being observed.
19) Campaigns to prevent risky behaviors by teens may be less effective because _____ leads
teens to believe that bad things are likely to happen to others but not to themselves.
A) formal operational thinking
B) the personal fable
C) probabilistic reasoning
D) the imaginary audience

Answer: B
The personal fable leads teens to believe that they are unique and invulnerable, which can
make them less likely to perceive themselves as at risk for negative consequences. This belief
can undermine the effectiveness of campaigns aimed at preventing risky behaviors.
20) Piaget's theory has been criticized on the ground that
A) many older adolescents fail to show formal operational thinking.
B) the distinctions among stages are not strict enough.
C) it does not focus enough on mental structures.
D) All of the above.
Answer: A
One criticism of Piaget's theory is that not all older adolescents demonstrate formal
operational thinking, as he suggested they would. This suggests that the stages of cognitive
development may not be as universal or rigid as Piaget proposed.
21) Kurt Fischer's approach to cognitive development differs from Piaget's in
A) focusing on coordinated skills rather than stages.
B) giving a less important role to the social environment.
C) maintaining that different areas of cognitive functioning develop evenly.
D) rejecting the idea of sensorimotor intelligence.
Answer: A
Kurt Fischer's approach, known as dynamic skill theory, focuses on the development of
coordinated skills over time, rather than discrete stages of development as Piaget proposed.
This approach emphasizes the dynamic nature of cognitive development and how skills
interact and change over time.

22) The area between those things you can do on your own and those you could do if guided
by someone more skilled than you is what Vygotsky termed
A) the social environment.
B) the competence-performance gap.
C) the zone of proximal development.
D) the region of dynamic skills.
Answer: C
Vygotsky introduced the concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) to describe the
range of tasks that are too difficult for an individual to do alone but can be accomplished with
guidance or assistance from a more skilled individual. It represents the area where learning
and development occur.
23) According to Robbie Case, adolescents are better than children at solving problems
because of their use of _____ to mentally represent the goal and possible strategies to reach
A) scaffolding
B) concrete operations
C) metaphors
D) executive control structures
Answer: D
Robbie Case's theory of central conceptual structures suggests that as children develop, they
begin to use more abstract and flexible representations of problems and solutions, which he
refers to as executive control structures. These structures allow adolescents to mentally
represent goals and strategies more effectively than children.
24) A discussion of adolescent thinking that features such terms as input, working memory,
and executive function most likely reflects the _____ approach to the subject.

A) cognitive developmental
B) information processing
C) psychometric
D) neuropsychological
Answer: B
The information processing approach to cognition focuses on how information is processed,
stored, and retrieved by the mind. It emphasizes the use of terms like input (information
received), working memory (temporary storage and manipulation of information), and
executive function (control of cognitive processes) to understand cognitive development.
25) According to the information processing approach to cognition, if some piece of
information engages your attention, it is passed along to
A) motoric control.
B) working memory.
C) the executive function.
D) comparison units.
Answer: B
According to the information processing approach, when a piece of information engages your
attention, it is processed and passed along to working memory, where it can be temporarily
stored and manipulated for further processing.
26) Adolescents reason and solve problems better than children as a result of
A) better attentional control.
B) faster processing speed.
C) greater memory span.
D) All of the above.

Answer: D
Adolescents' improved reasoning and problem-solving abilities compared to children can be
attributed to a combination of factors, including better attentional control, faster processing
speed, and greater memory span.
27) Physical changes in the associative areas of the cortex during late childhood and early
adolescence are thought to contribute to
A) increased processing speed.
B) crystallized intelligence.
C) selective attention.
D) the competence-performance gap.
Answer: A
Physical changes in the associative areas of the cortex, such as increased myelination and
synaptic pruning, are thought to contribute to increased processing speed during late
childhood and early adolescence. This allows for more efficient cognitive processing and
28) Saeed studies for an upcoming quiz in the noisy cafeteria. His ability to focus on the
material is the result of
A) divided attention.
B) executive functions.
C) selective attention.
D) the sensory register.
Answer: C

Saeed's ability to focus on the material despite the noise in the cafeteria is an example of
selective attention, which allows him to filter out distractions and focus on relevant
29) Jayashri reads an assigned text while listening to music on headphones. This is an
example of
A) divided attention.
B) selective attention.
C) limited attention.
D) working memory.
Answer: A
Jayashri's act of reading while listening to music on headphones involves divided attention,
as she is simultaneously processing information from the text and the music.
30) The amount of time someone takes to do a task such as mental addition
A) has little to do with working memory.
B) goes down sharply from middle childhood to early adolescence.
C) is the result of divided attention.
D) depends on abstract logical structures.
Answer: B
The time taken to complete tasks like mental addition typically decreases from middle
childhood to early adolescence, which is believed to be due to improvements in processing
speed and efficiency during this developmental period.
31) Adolescents who are able to use logical analysis often fail to do so because
A) more intuitive methods may be faster and cognitively cheaper.
B) they depend too much on inductive reasoning.

C) they look at problems from too many angles.
D) they realize that real life is usually illogical.
Answer: A
Adolescents may choose more intuitive methods over logical analysis because they are faster
and require less cognitive effort. This preference for intuitive reasoning can lead them to
overlook or underutilize their logical abilities.
32) "My enemy's enemy is my friend" is an example of a
A) contradiction in terms.
B) fuzzy trace.
C) heuristic.
D) cognitive conflict.
Answer: C
"My enemy's enemy is my friend" is an example of a heuristic, which is a mental shortcut or
rule of thumb that allows for quick decision-making or problem-solving. It simplifies
complex situations by providing a general guideline for action.
33) Instead of trying to memorize something verbatim, adolescents tend to extract a(n) _____
that is easier to store, retrieve, and use.
A) working memory
B) fuzzy trace
C) heuristic
D) principle
Answer: B

Fuzzy trace theory suggests that instead of memorizing information verbatim, individuals
tend to extract the gist or general meaning of the information, which is easier to store,
retrieve, and use.
34) The work of _____ implies that adolescents and adults may approach problems using
both conscious logical analysis and less conscious heuristic intuition.
A) Jean Piaget
B) Lev Vygotsky
C) Robbie Case
D) Paul Klaczynski
Answer: D
Paul Klaczynski's work suggests that individuals, including adolescents and adults, may use a
combination of conscious logical analysis and less conscious heuristic intuition when
approaching problems. This reflects the idea that cognitive processes can operate at both
explicit and implicit levels.
35) The psychometric approach to cognition focuses on
A) universal patterns of development.
B) people with very unusual ways of thinking.
C) how individuals differ from one another in thinking ability.
D) the rate at which children pass through cognitive stages.
Answer: C
The psychometric approach to cognition focuses on understanding how individuals differ
from one another in terms of their thinking abilities. It involves the measurement of cognitive
abilities through standardized tests and the analysis of these individual differences.
36) In the early 20th century, Alfred Binet was asked to develop a test to
A) measure a child's innate intellectual potential.

B) indicate if an adolescent was ready to graduate from high school.
C) predict how well a child was likely to do in school.
D) control admissions to the university.
Answer: C
Alfred Binet was asked to develop a test that could predict how well a child was likely to do
in school. This led to the development of the first intelligence test, which aimed to identify
children who might need extra help in school.
37) If an intelligence test yields a deviation IQ, about two-thirds of the population will get
scores between _____ and _____.
A) 0; 100
B) 50; 150
C) 85; 115
D) 100; 125
Answer: A
In a deviation IQ scoring system, the average score is set at 100, and about two-thirds of the
population will score between 85 and 115, which is within one standard deviation of the
38) Today's IQ tests are standardized to give an average IQ score of
A) 50.
B) 85.
C) 100.
D) 115.
Answer: C

Today's IQ tests are standardized to have an average score of 100, with a standard deviation
of 15. This means that the majority of the population will score between 85 and 115.
39) Absolute levels of intelligence _____ during adolescence and one's relative position
within one's age group _____.
A) stay much the same; fluctuates
B) increase; stays much the same
C) increase; improves
D) are constant; is constant
Answer: B
Absolute levels of intelligence tend to increase during adolescence, but one's relative position
within their age group (compared to peers) tends to stay much the same over time.
40) _____ intelligence peaks during the adolescent years, while _____ intelligence continues
to increase during adulthood.
A) Fluid; crystallized
B) Verbal; quantitative
C) Fixed; variable
D) Crystallized; fluid
Answer: A
Fluid intelligence, which involves the ability to solve new problems and think abstractly,
tends to peak during the adolescent years and then gradually decline. In contrast, crystallized
intelligence, which involves knowledge and skills accumulated over time, continues to
increase during adulthood.
41) The knowledge and critical judgment that people accumulate from education and
experience is known as
A) life lessons.

B) crystallized intelligence.
C) fluid intelligence.
D) wisdom.
Answer: B
Crystallized intelligence refers to the accumulation of knowledge, facts, and skills acquired
through education and experience. It represents a person's stored knowledge and the ability to
use that knowledge effectively.
42) Persistent class and ethnic differences in children's IQ scores have been explained as the
result of
A) culturally biased tests.
B) genetic group differences.
C) unfavorable environmental factors.
D) All of the above.
Answer: D
Persistent class and ethnic differences in IQ scores can be attributed to a combination of
factors, including culturally biased tests, genetic group differences, and unfavorable
environmental factors such as access to quality education and socioeconomic status.
43) The suggestion that environmental factors contribute to group differences in IQ is
supported by the finding that
A) children adopted into more advantaged homes score higher on IQ tests.
B) parents in disadvantaged groups who encourage learning have children who score higher
on IQ tests.
C) children who miss a lot of school score lower on IQ tests.
D) All of the above.

Answer: D
Studies have shown that environmental factors, such as being adopted into more advantaged
homes or having parents who encourage learning, can contribute to higher IQ scores in
children. Additionally, children who miss a lot of school, often due to unfavorable
environmental circumstances, tend to score lower on IQ tests.
44) When problems come up, Suriyya can be counted on to suggest new and useful solutions.
Robert Sternberg would say that she is strong in _____ intelligence.
A) contextual
B) experiential
C) successful
D) componential
Answer: B
Robert Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence includes three aspects: componential
(analytical thinking), experiential (creative thinking), and contextual (practical thinking).
Suriyya's ability to suggest new and useful solutions to problems reflects strength in
experiential intelligence, which involves creative thinking.
45) In Howard Gardner's view, highly skilled dancers, athletes, and surgeons are all likely to
have unusually high _____ intelligence.
A) musical
B) experiential
C) kinesthetic
D) global
Answer: C

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences suggests that individuals can have
strengths in different areas beyond traditional notions of intelligence. Highly skilled dancers,
athletes, and surgeons are likely to have high kinesthetic intelligence, which involves the
ability to use one's body effectively to solve problems or create products.
46) In what is called the Flynn effect, over the last 60 years average IQ scores
A) have increased steadily.
B) have dropped steadily.
C) have stayed constant.
D) have varied unpredictably.
Answer: A
The Flynn effect refers to the observed increase in average IQ scores over time, particularly
in the last 60 years. This increase is believed to reflect improvements in living conditions,
education, and other environmental factors that have enhanced cognitive development.
47) Adolescents have increased abilities to think about their own thinking, in what is known
A) formal operations.
B) reflective cognition.
C) metacognition.
D) automatization.
Answer: C
Metacognition refers to the ability to think about and monitor one's own cognitive processes.
Adolescents develop increased metacognitive abilities, allowing them to reflect on and
regulate their thinking, learning, and problem-solving strategies.
48) With respect to knowledge, younger adolescents are likely to maintain that
A) there are meaningful ways to choose among different viewpoints.

B) different people see things differently, and each viewpoint is as valid as the next.
C) there is a correct viewpoint, which authorities either know or can find out.
D) only a few people with special talents are able really to know.
Answer: B
Younger adolescents are more likely to adopt a relativistic view of knowledge, believing that
different people can have different viewpoints, and each viewpoint is as valid as the next.
This reflects a less rigid and more open approach to knowledge compared to the belief in a
single correct viewpoint.
49) The process of analyzing what you know, deciding if it is correct and relevant, and
coordinating it with other knowledge is known as
A) self analysis.
B) reflective formalism.
C) critical thinking.
D) cognitive self regulation.
Answer: C
Critical thinking involves the process of analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information
to make informed decisions or judgments. It includes assessing the correctness and relevance
of information and integrating it with existing knowledge.
50) A focus on giving the right answer to questions is likely to get in the way of adolescents
A) rote learning.
B) critical thinking.
C) automatization.
D) epistemological objectivism.

Answer: B
A focus on giving the right answer can hinder the development of critical thinking skills, as it
may prioritize memorization and rote learning over deeper understanding and analysis of
information. Critical thinking involves questioning, analyzing, and evaluating information,
which goes beyond simply providing correct answers.
Essay Questions
1) What would you say are the most important developments in adolescent thinking from the
perspective of Piaget's work? How do these developments show themselves? Give examples.
Answer: Those in the stage of formal operations are able to reason about abstract propositions
and to think hypothetically. They are better able to think inductively and deductively and to
understand multiple meanings and perspectives. They are also more likely to use
metacognition, that is, to reflect upon their own thinking processes.
2) Sharon, 14, refuses to join her parents on a trip to the beach because her new bathing suit
is in the laundry and her old one has a small discoloration. From the point of view of
cognitive development, why might Sharon be so concerned?
Answer: According to Elkind, teens have difficulty separating their own perspective from that
of others, in what he calls adolescent egocentrism. Sharon is reacting to an imaginary
audience, believing that everyone at the beach will notice her blotched bathing suit and laugh
at her.
3) Prof. Nathanyahu says that the changes in thinking that take place in moving from
childhood to adolescence are like replacing a 10-year-old computer with a new one. What
sorts of changes is she probably referring to, and why are they important?
Answer: From an information processing perspective, adolescents are better able to direct
attention to relevant information, block out irrelevant information, keep more information
active, and process it faster than children can.
4) Mallala gets high grades, but constantly blunders when dealing with friends. Jordan is a
below-average student, but a top student politician. What approach to intelligence might help
us understand these contrasts?

Answer: Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence suggests that Mallala is high in
analytic but low in practical intelligence, while Jordan is just the opposite. Gardner's
theory of multiple intelligences, similarly, would suggest that Mallala is high in linguistic
and/or logical intelligence and low in interpersonal intelligence, while Jordan is the
5) What are the important elements of critical thinking, and how do they improve during
Answer: Critical thinking involves analyzing what you know, deciding if it is relevant, and
coordinating it with other things you know. According to Keating, its components are
conceptual flexibility, reflective thinking, and cognitive self-regulation. Adolescents are
better at this because they know more, can think about multiple aspects of a problem, and
realize that knowledge is relative and uncertain.

Test Bank for Adolescence
Ian McMahan, Susan Thompson
9780205990559, 9780133957341, 9780205482320, 9780205843718

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