Psychological Development: Child and Adolescent

  • Jennifer M. Gidley
Part of the Critical Studies of Education book series (CSOE, volume 3)


This chapter focuses on the psychological, particularly cognitive, dimension of the evolution of consciousness. After introducing the concept of psychological development, I discuss some of the challenges in researching the evolution of consciousness from the psychological standpoint and point to the need for a transdisciplinary approach. I present an overview of child and adolescent cognitive development pointing to the limitations of Piaget’s model, and then introduce some evidence of widespread changes in thinking occurring across the knowledge sector over the last hundred years: megatrends of the mind. The purpose of the chapter is to create conceptual bridges between psychological development and the futures of education.


Cultural Evolution Psychological Development Stage Theory Formal Operation Transdisciplinary Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. AIHW. (1999). Australia’s young people – Their health and well-being 1999. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Google Scholar
  2. AIHW. (2003). Australia’s young people 2003: Their health and well-being. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Google Scholar
  3. AIHW. (2007). Young Australians: Their health and well-being 2007. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Google Scholar
  4. Almon, J. (2000). The children of the 21st century. In C. Clouder, S. Jenkinson, & M. Large (Eds.), The future of childhood. Gloucestershire: Hawthorn Press.Google Scholar
  5. Aurobindo, S. (1914/2000). The life divine. 2nd American edition. (Originally published in the monthly review Arya 1914–1920). Twin Lakes: Lotus Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bassett, C. (2005, October). Wisdom in three acts: Using transformative learning to teach for wisdom [Electronic version]. In Sixth international transformative learning conference, East Lansing, Michigan. Accessed 10 Apr 2016.
  7. Bell, W. (1997/2003). Foundations of futures studies I: History, purposes, knowledge. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Berger, P. L., & Luckman, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  9. Bergson, H. (1911/1944). Creative evolution (A. Mitchell, Trans.). New York: Macmillan & Co.Google Scholar
  10. Bertalanffy, L. v. (1969/1976). General systems theory: Foundations, development, applications (Rev. ed.). New York: George Braziller, Inc.Google Scholar
  11. Bouma, G. (2006). Australian soul: Religion and spirituality in the 21st century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Braud, W., & Anderson, R. (1998). Transpersonal research methods for the social sciences: Honoring human experience. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Broude, G. (Ed.). (1995). Growing up: A cross-cultural encyclopedia (Encyclopedias of the human experience). Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
  14. Campbell, R. L. (2006). Jean Piaget’s genetic epistemology: Appreciation and critique.
  15. Chalmers, D. J. (1995). Facing up to the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2(3), 200–219.Google Scholar
  16. Chalmers, D. J. (1996). The conscious mind: In search of a fundamental theory (Philosophy of mind series). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Collins, J. K. (1991). Research into adolescence: A forgotten era. Australian Psychologist, 26(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Combs, A. (2002). The radiance of being: Understanding the grand integral vision: Living the integral life. St. Paul: Paragon House.Google Scholar
  19. Commons, M. L., Richards, F. A., & Kuhn, D. (1982). Systematic and metasystematic reasoning: A case for levels of reasoning beyond Piaget's stage of formal operations. Child Development, 53(4), 1058–1069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Commons, M. L., Ross, S., & Miller, J. G. (2008). Why postformal stages of development are not formal, but postformal. INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING: An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber. Accessed 29 July 2015.
  21. Cook-Greuter, S. R. (2000). Mature ego development: A gateway to ego transcendence. Journal of Adult Development, 7(4), 227–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dator, J. (2002). Advancing futures: Futures studies in higher education. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  23. Earley, J. (1997). Transforming human culture: Social evolution and the planetary crisis (SUNY postmodern series in constructive postmodern thought). New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  24. Einstein, A. (1920/2000). Relativity: The Special and General Theory (Translated Robert W. Lawson). Scholar
  25. Eisler, R. (2000). Tomorrow's children. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  26. Elgin, D. (1993). Awakening earth. New York: William Morrow and Co.Google Scholar
  27. Elgin, D., & LeDrew, C. (1997). Global consciousness change: Indicators or an emerging paradigm. San Anselmo: Millennium Project.Google Scholar
  28. Elkind, D. (1981). The hurried child. Reading: Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
  29. Elkind, D. (1998). Schooling the postmodern child. Research Bulletin, 3(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  30. Feuerstein, G. (1987). Structures of consciousness (Integrative explorations journal). Lower Lake: Integral.Google Scholar
  31. Gangadean, A. (2006a). A planetary crisis of consciousness: From ego-based cultures to a sustainable global world. Kosmos: An Integral Approach to Global Awakening, V(2), 37–39.Google Scholar
  32. Gangadean, A. (2006a). Spiritual transformation as the awakening of global consciousness: A dimensional shift in the technology of mind. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 41(2), 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gebser, J. (1949/1985). The ever-present origin. Athens: Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Gebser, J. (1970/2005). The invisible origin: Evolution as a supplementary process (Translated from “Der unsichtbare Ursprung”, 1970). Accessed 6 May 2007.
  35. Gidley, J. (2001). Globalization and its impact on youth. Journal of Futures Studies, 6(1), 89–106.Google Scholar
  36. Gidley, J. (2004). The metaphors of globalisation: A multi-layered analysis of global youth culture. In S. Inayatullah (Ed.), The causal layered analysis (CLA) reader: Theory and case studies of an integrative and transformative methodology. Taipei: Tamkang University.Google Scholar
  37. Gidley, J. (2006). Spiritual epistemologies and integral cosmologies: Transforming thinking and culture. In S. Awbrey, D. Dana, V. Miller, P. Robinson, M. M. Ryan, & D. K. Scott (Eds.), Integrative learning and action: A call to wholeness (Studies in education and spirituality, Vol. 3, pp. 29–55). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  38. Gidley, J. (2007). The evolution of consciousness as a planetary imperative: An integration of integral views. Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research and Praxis, 5, 4–226.Google Scholar
  39. Gidley, J. (2010a). Globally scanning for megatrends of the mind: Potential futures of “Futures Thinking”. Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, 42(10), 1040–1048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gidley, J. (2010b). An other view of integral futures: De/reconstructing the IF brand. Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, 42(2), 125–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Goerner, S. (2004). Creativity, consciousness, and the building of an integral world. In D. Loye (Ed.), The great adventure: Toward a fully human theory of evolution (pp. 153–180). Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  43. Goodenough, U., & Deacon, T. W. (2006). The sacred emergence of nature. In P. Clayton (Ed.), Oxford handbook of science and religion (pp. 853–871). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Grossman, D., Degaetano, G., & Grossman, D. (1999). Stop teaching our kids to kill: A call to action against TV, movie and video violence. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  45. Habermas, J. (2008). Between naturalism and religion: Philosophical essays. London: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  46. Hall, G. S. (1904). Adolescence (Vols. 1 and 2). New York: Appleton.Google Scholar
  47. Healy, J. M. (1998). Failure to connect: How computers affect our children’s minds – And what we can do about it. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  48. Jantsch, E. (1980). The self-organising universe: Scientific and human implications of the emerging paradigm of evolution. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  49. Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Kincheloe, J., & Steinberg, S. (1993). A tentative description of post-formal thinking: The critical confrontation with cognitive theory. Harvard Educational Review, 63(3), 296–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kincheloe, J., & Steinberg, S. (1999). A tentative description of post-formal thinking: The critical confrontation with cognitive theory. In J. Kincheloe, S. Steinberg, & P. H. Hinchey (Eds.), The post-formal reader: Cognition and education (Vol. 63, pp. 55–90). New York: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  52. Kincheloe, J., Steinberg, S., & Hinchey, P. H. (Eds.). (1999a). The post-formal reader: Cognition and education (Critical education practice). New York: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  53. Kincheloe, J., Steinberg, S., & Villaverde, L. E. (1999b). Rethinking intelligence: Confronting psychological assumptions about teaching and learning. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Klein, J. T. (2004). Prospects for transdisciplinarity. Futures, 36(4), 515–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kohlberg, L. (1990). Which postformal stages are stages? In M. L. Commons et al. (Eds.), Adult development, volume 2: Models and methods in the study of adolescent and adult thought. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  56. Kohlberg, L., & Gilligan, C. (1971). The adolescent as a philosopher: The discovery of the self in a postconventional world. Daedelus, 100(4), 1051–1086.Google Scholar
  57. Kovác, L. (2002). Two cultures revisited. World Futures: the Journal of General Evolution, 58, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kramer, D., A (1983). Post-formal operations? A need for further conceptualization. Human Development, 26, 91–105.Google Scholar
  59. Labouvie-Vief, G. (1990). Modes of knowledge and the organization of development. In M. Commons, C. Armon, L. Kohlberg, F. Richards, A, T. A. Grotzer, & J. D. Sinnott (Eds.), Adult development, volume 2: Models and methods in the study of adolescent and adult thought (pp. 43–62). Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  60. László, E. (2006). The Chaos point: The world at the crossroads. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  61. László, E. (2007). Science and the Akashic field: An integral theory of everything. Rochester: Inner Traditions.Google Scholar
  62. Malott, C. S. (2011). Critical pedagogy and cognition: An introduction to a postformal educational psychology (Explorations of educational purpose). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mandt, A. J. (1986). The triumph of philosophical pluralism? Notes on the transformation of academic philosophy. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 60(2), 265–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Manoussakis, J. P. (2006). After god: Richard Kearney and the religious turn in continental philosophy (Perspectives in continental philosophy). New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Miller, R. (2001). Making connections to the world: Some thoughts on holistic curriculum. Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, 14(4), 29–35.Google Scholar
  66. Molz, M., & Gidley, J. (2008). A transversal dialogue on integral education and planetary consciousness: Markus Molz speaks with Jennifer Gidley. Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research and Praxis, 6, 47–70.Google Scholar
  67. Montuori, A. (1999). Planetary culture and the crisis of the future. World Futures: the Journal of General Evolution, 54(4), 232–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Morin, E. (2001). Seven complex lessons in education for the future. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  69. Morin, E., & Kern, A. B. (1999). Homeland earth: A manifesto for the new millennium (S. Kelly, & R. Lapoint, Trans.) (Advances in systems theory, complexity and the human sciences). Cresskill: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  70. Murphy, M. (1992). The future of the body. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher.Google Scholar
  71. Nicolescu, B. (2002). Manifesto of transdisciplinarity (V. Karen-Claire, Trans.) (Suny series in western esoteric traditions). New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  72. Nicolescu, B. (2003). Definition of transdisciplinarity [Electronic version]. Accessed 8 Mar 2008.
  73. Piaget, J. (1950). Introduction à l’épistémologie génétique (Vol. 1: la pensée mathématique). Paris: Presses univ. de France.Google Scholar
  74. Piaget, J. (1950/1964). The psychology of intelligence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  75. Piaget, J. (1955). The child’s construction of reality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Piaget, J. (1971). Structuralism (C. Maschler, Trans.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  77. Piaget, J. (1972). Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood. Human Development, 15(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1966/2000). The psychology of the child. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  79. Priest, G. (1991). The limits of thought – And beyond. Mind, 100(3), 361–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Ray, P. (1996). The rise of integral culture. Noetic Sciences Review, 37(Spring), 4.Google Scholar
  81. Riegel, K. F (1973). Dialectical operations: The final period of cognitive development. Human Development, 16, 346–370.Google Scholar
  82. Russell, P. (2000). The global brain awakens: Our next evolutionary step. Melbourne: Element Books.Google Scholar
  83. Schwartz, E. (1999). Millennial child: Transforming education in the twenty-first century. New York: Anthroposophic Press.Google Scholar
  84. Sinnott, J. D. (1998). The development of logic in adulthood: Postformal thought and its applications. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Slaughter, R., & Inayatullah, S. (2000). The knowledge base of futures studies CD-ROM. In (Vols. 1–4). Brisbane: Foresight International.Google Scholar
  86. Steinberg, S., & Kincheloe, J. (Eds.). (2004). Kinderculture: The corporate construction of childhood. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  87. Steiner, R. (1894/1964). The philosophy of freedom: The basis for a modern world conception (GA 4) (M. Wilson, Trans.) (Rev. ed.). (Original work published 1894). Spring Valley: The Anthroposophic Press.Google Scholar
  88. Steiner, R. (1971). Ancient myths: Their meaning and connection with evolution (GA 180) (1st English ed.) (M. Cotterell, Trans.) [7 Lectures, Dornach, Switzerland, Jan 4 to 13, 1918]. Toronto: Steiner Book Centre.Google Scholar
  89. Steiner, R. (1972). The driving force of spiritual powers in world history (GA 222) (1st English ed.) (D. Osmond & J. Collis, Trans.) [7 Lectures, Dornach, Switzerland, March 11 to 23, 1923]. Toronto: Steiner Book Centre.Google Scholar
  90. Sternberg, R. J. (1998). A balance theory of wisdom. Review of General Psychology, 2(4), 347–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Swimme, B., & Tucker, M. E. (2006). The evolutionary context of an emerging planetary civilization. Kosmos: An Integral Approach to Global Awakening, V(1), 7–8.Google Scholar
  92. Tacey, D. (2003). The spirituality revolution: The emergence of contemporary spirituality. Sydney: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  93. Tarnas, R. (1991). The passions of the western mind. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  94. Taub, L. (2002). The spiritual imperative: Sex, age and the last caste. Tokyo: Clear Glass Press.Google Scholar
  95. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1959/2004). The future of man. New York: Image Books, Doubleday.Google Scholar
  96. Thompson, W. I. (1998). Coming into being: Artifacts and texts in the evolution of consciousness. London: MacMillan Press Ltd.Google Scholar
  97. Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1993). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  98. Wang, Z. (2004). An antidote to modern test-oriented education: Toward a constructive postmodern education. Paper presented at the Forum for Integrated Education and Educational Reform, Santa Cruz, CA.Google Scholar
  99. Wasserman, D., Cheng, Q., & Jiang, G.-X. (2005). Global suicide rates among young people aged 15–19. World Psychiatry: Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 4(2), 114–120.Google Scholar
  100. Whitehead, A. N. (1929/1985). Process and reality. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  101. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology: Consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  102. Wilber, K. (2006). Integral spirituality: A startling new role for religion in the modern and postmodern world. Boston: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar
  103. Zajonc, A. (Ed.). (2004). The new physics and cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Mind and life series). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Gidley
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable FuturesUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

Personalised recommendations