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Cognitive Abilities in Life Span Developmental Model


Nowadays, the idea of creativity as a phenomenon primarily associated with the younger human developmental phases is deeply rooted in social consciousness. However, some theories suggest the people take a look at creativity from a new perspective. For example, according to the Peak and Decline Model, a person achieves the peak of his/her creative abilities in the late ’30s (Whitbourne & Whitbourne, 2011). One of the best examples of the given theoretic approach is the famous British writer, J. K. Rowling, who wrote and published her famous book about Harry Potter in 1997 when she was 32. Her last book about the magician was published in 2007 when she was 42, and her best compositions thus were created exactly in the period indicated in the model as the most productive.

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According to the Life Span Developmental Model, the individuals experience the evolution of their cognitive abilities throughout life, and with the right approach to education and self-perception at the later developmental stages, one can achieve significant results in the expression of creativity (Haase, Heckhausen, & Wrosch, 2013). For example, a prominent designer, Coco Chanel, returned to the fashion industry in 1954 when she was 71 and launched a collection that included many iconic items strongly associated with the brand even today.

Biological Process

The biological process that can reflect the major idea of the Peak and Decline Model is the process of blossoming. Similarly to the individual’s cognitive development, at the early stage of development, a plant gathers sufficient strengths and accumulates the necessary elements from the external environment at the early stage of development to support its growth and flourishing. Approximately in the midst of its lifespan, when the conditions are especially favorable, the plant starts to blossom. And then, after the climax of flowering is achieved, the plant’s development declines.

Social Changes

In case the Life Span Developmental Model is commonly accepted, it is possible to presume that the social changes will be related primarily to the transformation of the educational system, and standards and principles of employment. The current education system is based on the idea that young people achieve better academic results than older ones.

However, the provision of the right approach and methods in education may provoke significant cognitive development in older people as well (Lerner, Agans, DeSouza, & Gasca, 2013). And when an older person obtains equal opportunities for the academic development he/she also may achieve great results in their professional growth. In this way, employers would provide equal opportunities for the employment and promotion of older candidates when they believe that not only young people can show the best of their abilities at work.


According to the researchers, the adequate and appropriate mode of communication with patients diagnosed with dementia is essential to the efficiency of medical treatment (Weitzel et al., 2011). Patients with dementia have different problems with verbal expression, and they may have distinct cognitive impairments. However, such techniques as asking patients’ permission for conduction of medical procedures, simplified explanations, and using reminiscence may be helpful in communicating with the diagnosed individuals because the techniques are aimed at the achievement of mutual understanding and addressing the long-term memory that usually remains functional.

The effectiveness of the communication technique depends on the nursing staff or caregivers’ abilities to correlate the selected communicational patterns with the individual characteristics of the patient and the specific areas of brain dysfunction that he/she was exposed to due to disease development.

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It is mentioned that the neutral mode of communication is the most harmful, and for the achievement of better results in treatment, the medical staff needs to employ the techniques that would ensure the recognition and acknowledgment of the older person (Weitzel et al., 2011). In this way, the technique that addresses the reminiscence seems to be the most prospective one because it is directly related to the interrelation with the patients’ personality and identity, stimulation of brain functioning (memory), and establishment of sound relationships based on attention and interest.


Haase, C. M., Heckhausen, J., & Wrosch, C. (2013). Developmental regulation across the life span: Toward a new synthesis. Developmental Psychology, 49(5), 964-972.

Lerner, R. M., Agans, J. P., DeSouza, L. M., & Gasca, S. (2013). Describing, explaining, and optimizing within-individual change across the life span: A relational developmental systems perspective. Review of General Psychology, 17(2), 179-183.

Weitzel, T., Robinson, S., Mercer, S., Berry, T., Barnes, M., Plunkett, D.,… Kirkbride, G. (2011). Pilot testing an educational intervention to improve communication with patients with dementia. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development (JNSD), 27(5), 220-226. doi:10.1097/nnd.0b013e31822e0738

Whitbourne, S. K., & Whitbourne, S. B. (2011). Adult development and aging: Biopsychosocial perspectives. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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