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Cognitive development and brain plasticity

Cognitive development and brain plasticity

Character traits are a set of cognitive, behavioral and emotional patterns that determines how an individual behaves, thinks and feels. While intelligence quotient (IQ) is the total score derived from a number of tests done to assess human intelligence (Vytal & Hamann, 2010). One’s IQ and character have been viewed as the domains of normal human functioning. In cognitive development, personality traits involve certain abilities and processes. To measure IQ, ability tests are used while personality traits are measured using questionnaires. Theoretically, it is argued that the possibilities of measuring one’s personality traits through ability tests are quite high (Vytal & Hamann, 2010). For example, neuroticism can be measured by simply focusing on the aspect of self-regulation. Agreeableness can also be measured using an ability test. This is done by measuring the aspect of perspective taking in an individual. Conscientiousness can as well be measured using one’s self-control. On the other hand, openness is an aspect of personality traits but it is noted that it is strongly related to IQ.

A person’s character keeps on evolving throughout one’s life. Nevertheless, character still depends on ones inborn character traits, moral development and also early experiences (Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). The research argues that each one of these phases is accompanied by a “psychosocial crisis” and for one to proceed to the next phase; the previous one must be managed satisfactorily. Erickson (1959) believes that what a child learns or experiences when around family is quite essential in his or her personality development. The research argues further explains how a child’s needs should be met in a family surrounding. For example, children who undergo early toilet training or perhaps their toilet training is quite strict, they end up being rebellious people. Carl Rodgers, a psychologist, emphasized on how childhood experiences affects an individual’s personality development. Carl believes that there are certain periods in personality development that are quite critical (Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). For instance, there are certain periods; a child is very sensitive to. Infants show how responsive and how irritable they can get to change. Some cry constantly while others stay quiet and happy showing aspects of temperamental traits. There are children with personality disorders. These children experience difficulties when dealing with their peers or people in general. This is because they tend to be rigid, inflexible and unresponsive to changes and normal life stresses. Research by Zevin and Seidenberg (2002) noted that they also have difficulties when it comes to socializing and interacting with other people. These characteristics can be persistent in a child to the extreme, which results to interference of his or her healthy development, a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed mental health professional is highly recommended (Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). IQ tests are used to measure complex and multiple problem solving abilities. They are impacted upon by certain cognitive processes. According to Tay et al. (2017) the cognitive processes include abstract reasoning, a working memory, visual-construction abilities, visual-motor integration, verbal problem solving, word knowledge, object naming, verbal comprehension and sequential reasoning. Cognitive development undergoes four stages. These stages include: sensori-motor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete-operational stage and lastly formal operational stage. All these stages focus on the cognitive development of an infant to when it gets to maturity and the activities that are involved in each stage.

By day, more inventions are being made and getting more sophisticated materials and instruments. An example is the IQ tests. Clinicians are now able to determine any processes that are affecting the individual during testing. The clinician can also determine an individual’s cognitive strength and weaknesses (Smith, et al., 2009). For example, an individual might have limited word knowledge and might be poorly developed in vocabulary knowledge but has the ability to manipulate any visual information. This individual will be able to repeat what he/she has been told but lacks comprehension skills that will enable him or her to act appropriately in regard to that information. The ability to repeat the information congruent to the inability to apply or act on it will make others think that this individual chooses to defy verbal requests. Brain plasticity also referred to as neuroplasticity is the capacity of the brain to recover as well as to restructure itself in reaction to environmental miscellany (Vytal & Hamann, 2010). This advantageous potential of the nervous system, allows the brain to fully recover after injuries or certain brain disorders. It also helps to reduce the effects of revamped structures due to certain pathologies such as, insomnia, dyslexia and cognitive deterioration among many others (Hwang, Castelli & Gonzalez-Lima, 2017). Brain plasticity is linked to character and IQ in cognitive development. In the sense that, most people think that childhood and adulthood is a period of brain growth; young people are constantly learning new things and embarking on adventures contrary to older adulthood which is seen as a period of decline in cognitive abilities, forgetfulness, least interested in seeking new experiences (Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). Well, research indicates that brain plasticity can help adult minds grow and engage in more activities like the young adults. Similarly, people suffering from mental conditions such as schizophrenia, through brain plasticity can be able to retain their brain condition to a healthier lifestyle regardless of their condition (Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010). The only challenge is to identify what brain mechanism to apply and how to effectively exercise them. For instance, each time one learns a new dancing style, a change is reflected in our physical minds; new neural pathways on how to go about with the step are created.

In conclusion, it is noted that one of the most important findings in neuroplasticity is the discovery of how close ones senses are connected to cognition and memory. Intelligence quotient in cognitive development is pretty much the stronger opinion compared to character in cognitive development, simply because the aspects are co-related all round. Moreover, the capacity of change and reorganization is a critical feature for neural development.


Hwang, J., Castelli, D. M., & Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2017). The positive cognitive impact of aerobic fitness is associated with peripheral inflammatory and brain-derived neurotrophic biomarkers in young adults. Physiology & Behavior, 179, 75-89.

Smith, G. E., Housen, P., Yaffe, K., Ruff, R., Kennison, R. F., Mahncke, H. W., & Zelinski, E. M. (2009). A cognitive training program based on principles of brain plasticity: Results from the Improvement in Memory with Plasticity‐based Adaptive Cognitive Training (IMPACT) Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57(4), 594-603.

Tausczik, Y. R., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2010). The psychological meaning of words: LIWC and computerized text analysis methods. Journal of language and social psychology, 29(1), 24-54.

Tay, T. L., Savage, J. C., Hui, C. W., Bisht, K., & Tremblay, M. È. (2017). Microglia across the lifespan: from origin to function in brain development, plasticity and cognition. The Journal of physiology, 595(6), 1929-1945.

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Zevin, J. D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2002). Age of acquisition effects in word reading and other tasks. Journal of Memory and language, 47(1), 1-29.