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Mental Skills

Perception:
     Children learn about the world by perceiving the things around them and paying attention to the stimuli in their environment. They are very good at this, and these perceptual skills are well-developed right from birth.

Memory:
     Children's memory skills develop as they grow, and the better their memory usually depends on the technique that they use to memorize. Younger children tend to use very simple strategies - like repetition, whereas older children will use imagery and categorization. One development that enhances memory is meta-memory - which is the knowledge and understanding of ones own memory abilities.

Language Comprehension and Use:
     Language comprehension is the ability of children to understand that symbols of language, and language use is the ability to produce these symbols to communicate. As with the other skills, these skills also increase with age.

Quantitative Skills:
     One of the earliest indications of children's ability to use quantitative skills is counting. As well, children develop their own strategies for arithmetic problems - such as counting on the fingers.

Problem Solving and Reasoning:
     With respect to problem solving, at first children usually only consider a problem from one perspective. AS they grow and gain more ideas of the complex rules that govern the world, they take into account more information than is present in the immediate situation. Reasoning can be both deductive and inductive. Deductive reasoning is used when one goes from general information to specific information to arrive at an answer. It has been proposed that reasoning that uses this chain-like way of thinking is largely dependant on memory skills. Inductive reasoning doe snot lead to one solution to a problem, but to solutions that have different levels of possibly solving the problem. In this sort if reasoning the person takes a specific situation and generates many general solutions. It is thought that children as young as three years old are able to use this form of inductive reasoning.

Adult Cognitive Functioning:
     There exist two types of knowledge - fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the ability to perform mental tasks such as the manipulation of abstract symbols - such as mathematics. Crystallized intelligence is specific knowledge of the world that we have acquired throughout our lives. Therefore, crystallized intelligence is often higher for older people than younger, and fluid intelligence higher for younger than older. In general, crystallized abilities increase with age and fluid ones decrease.


Related Links

Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive Development
Development Theories
Counseling Therapy