Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 159–177 | Cite as

Organizing Components into Combinations: How Stage Transition Works

  • Michael Lamport Commons
  • Francis Asbury Richards
Article

Abstract

This paper investigates the nature of transition between stages. The Model of Hierarchical Complexity of tasks leads to a quantal notion of stage, and therefore delineates the nature of stage transition. Piaget's dialectical model of stage change was extended and precisely specified. Transition behavior was shown to consist of alternations in previous-stage behavior. As transition proceeded, the alternations increased in rate until the previous stage behaviors were “smashed” together. Once the smashed-together pieces became coordinated, new-stage behavior could be said to have formed. Because stage transition is quantal, individuals can only change performance by whole stage. We reviewed theories of the specific means by which new-stage behavior may be acquired and the emotions and personalities associated with steps in transition. Contemporary challenges in the society increasingly call for transition to postformal and postconventional responses on the part of both individuals and institutions as the examples illustrate.

stage transition steps in transition component actions combination actions transition processes 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Arlin, P. K. (1975). Cognitive development in adulthood: A fifth stage? Developmental Psychology, 11, 602-606.Google Scholar
  2. Arlin, P. K. (1977). Piagetian operations in problem finding. Developmental Psychology, 13, 247-298.Google Scholar
  3. Arlin, P. K. (1984). Adolescent and adult thought: A structural interpretation. In M. L. Commons, F.A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Vol. 1. Late adolescent and adult cognitive development. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  4. Armon, C. (1984). Ideals of the good life and moral judgment: Ethical reasoning across the life span. In M. L. Commons, F.A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Vol. 1. Late adolescent and adult cognitive development (pp. 357-380). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  5. Armon, C., & Dawson, T. L. (1997). Developmental trajectories in moral reasoning across the life span. Journal of Moral Education, 26(4), 433-453.Google Scholar
  6. Baer, D. M., & Rosales, J. (1994, May). Development cusps: A relevant concept for behavior analysis. Paper presented at the Association for Behavior Analysis, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  7. Basseches, M. A. (1984). Dialectical thinking as a metasystematic form of cognitive organization. In M. L. Commons, F. A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Vol. 1. Late adolescent and adult cognitive development (pp. 216-238). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  8. Benack, S., & Basseches, M. A. (1989). Dialectical thinking and relativistic epistemology: Their relation in adult development. In M. L. Commons, J. D. Sinnott, F. A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Adult Development: Vol. 1. Comparisons and applications of adolescent and adult developmental models (pp. 95-132). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Bidell, T. R., & Fischer, K. W. (1992). Beyond the stage debate: Action, structure, and variability in Piagetian theory and research. In, C. A. Berg & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Intellectual development. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Binder, C. (2000). Component/composite analysis and programming from the “real world.” Paper presented at the association for Behavior Analysis,Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  11. Bouchard, T. J., Jr. (1997). IQ similarity in twins reared apart: Findings and responses to critics. In R. J. Sternberg & E. L. Grigorenko (Eds.), Intelligence, heredity, and environment (pp. 126-160). New York: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  12. Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., & Segal, N. L. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Science, 250(4978), 223-228.Google Scholar
  13. Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., & Segal, N. L. (1991). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart: Response. Science, 252(5003), 191-192.Google Scholar
  14. Brendel, J. M., Kolbert, J. B., & Foster, V. A. (2002). Promoting student cognitive development. Journal of Adult Development.Google Scholar
  15. Colby, A., & Kohlberg, L. (1987). The measurement of moral judgement: Vol. 1. Theoretical foundations and research validation. New York: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  16. Commons, M. L., Danaher, D., & Meaney, M. (2002, June). Transition and stage in performance of Harvard University faculty and staff. Data presented at Society for Research in Adult Development Symposium, Pace University, New York City, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Commons, M. L., Danaher, D. L., Miller, P. M., Goodheart, E. A., Dawson, T. L. with Johnstone, J., Straughn, J. B., Weaver, J. H., Lichtenbaum, E., Krause, S. R., & Broderick, M. A. (2000). Hierarchical Complexity Scoring System (HCSS):Howto score Google Scholar
  18. Commons, M. L., & Miller, P. M. (1998). A quantitative behavioranalytic theory of development. Mexican Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 24(2), 153-180.Google Scholar
  19. Commons, M. L., & Richards, F. A. (1984a). A general model of stage theory. In M. L. Commons, F. A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Vol. 1. Late adolescent and adult cognitive development (pp. 120-140). NewYork: Praeger.Google Scholar
  20. Commons, M. L., & Richards, F. A. (1984b). Applying the general stage model. In M. L. Commons, F. A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Vol. 1. Late adolescent and adult cognitive development (pp. 141-157). NewYork: Praeger.Google Scholar
  21. Commons, M. L., & Richards, F. A. (1995). Behavior analytic approach to dialectics of stage performance and stage change. Behavioral Development, 5(2), 7-9.Google Scholar
  22. Commons, M. L., Trudeau, E. J., Stein, S. A., Richards, F. A., & Krause, S. R. (1998). The existence of developmental stages as shown by the hierarchical complexity of tasks. Developmental Review, 8(3), 237-278.Google Scholar
  23. Draney, K. L. (1996). The polytomous Saltus model: A mixture model approach to the diagnosis of developmental differences. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley.Google Scholar
  24. Fischer, K. W. (1980). A theory of cognitive development: The control and construction of hierarchies of skills. Psychological Review, 87, 477-531.Google Scholar
  25. Fischer, K. W., Hand, H. H., & Russell, S. (1984). The development of abstractions in adolescents and adulthood. In M. L. Commons, F.A. Richards, & C. Armon (Eds.), Beyond formal operations: Late adolescent and adult cognitive development (pp. 43-73). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  26. Fischer, K.W., & Kenny, S. L. (1986). Environmental conditions for discontinuities in the development of abstractions. In R. A. Mines & K. S. Kitchener (Eds.), Adult cognitive development: Methods and models (pp. 57-75). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  27. Fischer, K. W., & Lazerson, A.(1984). Human development: From conception through adolescence. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  28. Flavell, J. H. (1971). Comments on Beilin's “The development of physical concepts.” In T. Mischel (Ed.), Cognitive development and epistemology (pp. 121-128). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gewirtz, J. L. (1969). Mechanisms of social learning: Some roles of stimulation and behavior in early human development. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research (pp. 57-212). Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  30. Grotzer, T. A., McCarthy, K. G., Frome, K.W., & Commons, M. L. (June, 1987). The process of stage change. Paper presented at Beyond Formal Operations 3: Positive development during adolescence and adulthood. The Development of Adolescent and Adult Thought and Perception, Harvard University,Cambridge.Google Scholar
  31. Herrnstein, R. J. (1982). Melioration as behavioral dynamism. In M. L. Commons, R. J. Herrnstein, & H. Rachlin (Eds.), Quantitative analyses of behavior: Vol. 2. Matching and maximizing accounts (pp. 433-458). Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  32. Herrnstein, R. J., & Vaughan, W., Jr. (1980). Melioration and behavioral allocation. In J. E. R. Staddon (Ed.), Limits to action: The allocation of individual behavior (pp. 143-176). NewYork: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Holland, J. G., & Skinner, B. F. (1961). The analysis of behavior: A program for self-instruction. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Lovell, C.W. (2002). Development and disequilibration: Predicting counselor trainee gain and loss scores on the Supervisee Levels Questionnaire. Journal of Adult Development, 9(3), 233-238.Google Scholar
  35. McAuliffe, G. J. (2002). Student changes, program influences, and adult development in one program of counselor training: An exploratory inductive inquiry. Journal of Adult Development, 9(3), 203-214.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, P. M., Lee, S. T., & Commons, M. L. (2000, June). Scoring for stage and transition of losses in children and adult's lives. Data presented at Society for research in Adult Development Symposium, Pace University, New York City, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Miller, P. M., & Lee, S. T. (2000, June). Stages and transitions in child and adult narratives about losses of attachment objects. Paper presented at the Jean Piaget Society, Montreal, Qu´ebec, Canada.Google Scholar
  38. Mislevy, R. J., & Wilson, M. (1996). Marginal maximum likelihood estimation for a psychometric model of discontinuous development. Psychometrica, 61, 41-47.Google Scholar
  39. Moerk, E. L. (1992). Afirst language taught and learned. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
  40. Moore, R., & Goldiamond, I. (1964). Errorless establishment of visual discrimination using fading procedures. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 7, 269-272.Google Scholar
  41. Overton, W. F. (1990). Reasoning, necessity, and logic: Developmental perspectives. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Piaget, J. (1954). The construction of reality in the child. (M. Cook, Trans.). New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  43. Piaget, J., Inhelder, B., & Sinclair-de Zwart, H. (1973). Memory and intelligence. A Pomerans (Trans.). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  44. Richards, F. A., & Commons, M. L. (1990). Applying signal detection theory to measure subject sensitivity to metasystematic, systematic and lower developmental stages. In M. L. Commons, C. Armon, L. Kohlberg, F. A. Richards, T. A. Grotzer, & J. D. Sinnott (Eds.), Adult Development: Vol 2. Models and methods in the study of adolescent and adult thought (pp. 175-188). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  45. Richard, D. C., Unger, C. M., & Commons, M. L. (1988, April 22). Strategies as knowledge: Subjects' methods of determining causality during the shift from concrete to formal operations. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Buffalo, NY. (Available from the Dare Institute, 234 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138).Google Scholar
  46. Riegel, K. F. (1973). Dialectic operations: The final phase of cognitive development. Human Development, 16, 346-370.Google Scholar
  47. Rosales-Ruiz, J. (May, 2000). Divide and teach. Presented at the Association for Behavior Analysis, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  48. Rosales-Ruiz, J., & Baer, D.M. (1997). Behavioral cusps: A developmental and pragmatic concept for behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30(3), 533-544.Google Scholar
  49. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  50. Swan, T., & Benack, S. (2002). Narcissism in the epistemological pit. Journal of Adult Development, 9(3), 177-183.Google Scholar
  51. Sonnert, G., & Commons, M. L. (1994). Society and the highest stages of moral development. The Individual and Society, 4(1), 31-55.Google Scholar
  52. Terrace, H. S. (1961). Discrimination learning with and without “errors.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  53. Vygotsky,6L. S. (1966a). Language and thought. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  54. Vygotsky, L. S. (1966b). Development of the higher mental function. In Psychological research in the U.S.S.R. (pp. 44-45). Moscow: Progress Publishers.Google Scholar
  55. Wilson, M. (1989). Saltus:Apsychometric model of discontinuity in cognitive development. Psychological Bulletin, 105,276-289.Google Scholar
  56. Wolfsont, C. (2000, June). The brain gym and scoring adult developmental transition and stage. Data presented at Society for research in Adult Development Symposium, Pace University, New York City, New York.Google Scholar
  57. Wolfsont, C. (2002). Increasing behavioral skills and level of understanding in adults: A breif method integrating Dennison's BrainGymr balance with Piaget's reflective processes. Journal of Adult Development, 9(3), 185-201.Google Scholar
  58. Yan, Z. (2000, June). Always under construction: Dynamic variations in microdevelopmental transitions. Presented at the Piaget Society, Montreal, Qu´ebec, Canada.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lamport Commons
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francis Asbury Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationHarvard Medical SchoolRhode Island
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health CenterBoston

Personalised recommendations