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Adult DevelopmentCognitive Aspects of Thriving Close Relationships$
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Jan D. Sinnott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199892815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892815.001.0001

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The Development of Complex Thought in Adulthood

The Development of Complex Thought in Adulthood

Some Theories and Mechanisms that Grow with Interpersonal Experience

(p.11) 2 The Development of Complex Thought in Adulthood
Adult Development

Jan D. Sinnott

Oxford University Press

Postformal thought appears key to adult development, learning, wisdom, and mature functional satisfying relationships. The concepts and skills of postformal thought derive from cognitive-developmental theory, Native wisdom traditions, and new sciences such as quantum physics, chaos theory, theories of self-organizing systems, and general systems theory. Postformal thought is a type of complex logical thinking that develops in adulthood when we interact with other people whose views about some aspect of reality are different from ours. It allows a person to deal with everyday reasoning contradictions by letting that person understand that reality and the meaning of events are co-created with others. Both objectivity and a necessary subjectivity are useful in our epistemological understanding of the world. Postformal thought enables an adult to bridge two contradictory scientifically reasoning positions and reach an adaptive synthesis of them.

Keywords:   postformal thought, adult development, necessary subjectivity, adaptive synthesis, learning, cognitive-developmental theory, objectivity

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