A longitudinal study of higher-order thinking skills : working memory and fluid reasoning in childhood enhance complex problem solving in adolescence

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/159805

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Greiff , S , Wuestenberg , S , Goetz , T , Vainikainen , M-P , Hautamäki , J & Bornstein , M H 2015 , ' A longitudinal study of higher-order thinking skills : working memory and fluid reasoning in childhood enhance complex problem solving in adolescence ' , Frontiers in Psychology , vol. 6 , 1060 . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01060

Title: A longitudinal study of higher-order thinking skills : working memory and fluid reasoning in childhood enhance complex problem solving in adolescence
Author: Greiff, Samuel; Wuestenberg, Sascha; Goetz, Thomas; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina; Hautamäki, Jarkko; Bornstein, March H.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Teacher Education
University of Helsinki, Teacher Education
Date: 2015-07-27
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN: 1664-1078
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/159805
Abstract: Scientists have studied the development of the human mind for decades and have accumulated an impressive number of empirical studies that have provided ample support for the notion that early cognitive performance during infancy and childhood is an important predictor of later cognitive performance during adulthood. As children move from childhood into adolescence, their mental development increasingly involves higher-order cognitive skills that are crucial for successful planning, decision-making, and problem solving skills. However, few studies have employed higher-order thinking skills such as complex problem solving (CPS) as developmental outcomes in adolescents. To fill this gap, we tested a longitudinal developmental model in a sample of 2,021 Finnish sixth grade students (M = 12.41 years, SD = 0.52; 1,041 female, 978 male, 2 missing sex). We assessed working memory (WM) and fluid reasoning (FR) at age 12 as predictors of two CPS dimensions: knowledge acquisition and knowledge application. We further assessed students' CPS performance 3 years later as a developmental outcome (N = 1696; M = 15.22 years, SD = 0.43; 867 female, 829 male). Missing data partly occurred due to dropout and technical problems during the first days of testing and varied across indicators and time with a mean of 27.2%. Results revealed that FR was a strong predictor of both CPS dimensions, whereas WM exhibited only a small influence on one of the two CPS dimensions. These results provide strong support for the view that CPS involves FR and, to a lesser extent, WM in childhood and from there evolves into an increasingly complex structure of higher-order cognitive skills in adolescence.
Subject: cognitive development
complex problem solving
problem solving
working memory
fluid reasoning
DEVELOPMENTAL CASCADE
COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENT
INTELLIGENCE
IQ
PERFORMANCE
ABILITIES
CONSTRUCT
CAPACITY
VALIDITY
INFANCY
515 Psychology
516 Educational sciences
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