Cognitive Developmental Theory and Spiritual Development

Cartwright, Kelly B.
October 2001
Journal of Adult Development;Oct2001, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p213
Academic Journal
Traditional conceptions of cognitive development have failed to account for changes in adult cognition as well as more subjective and intuitive features of human experience. This paper reviews recent theories and research in cognitive development and spirituality with the aim of providing connections between the two domains. Neo-Piagetian and postformal theories of cognitive development suggest that advances in cognition are domain-specific, dependent on individual experience, and can occur at any point in the lifespan. However, theories of spiritual development have not adequately addressed these points. Thus, a novel account of spiritual development is presented that addresses these features with respect to individuals' changing conceptions of their relation to an External Power.


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