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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: September 2009

9 - Accelerating the development of general cognitive processing


The problem space

I should preface this chapter by making the context of our work clear. Our main aim over twenty years of working on ‘cognitive acceleration’ has been an educational one, to improve the life chances of large numbers of students in the education system by increasing their ability to think effectively and so increase their general problem-solving ability and their academic achievement. To be sure, in order to achieve this aim we have had to consider in some detail theoretical models of cognition and of cognitive development, and it may be that the empirical results we have obtained will throw some light on these theoretical models, but the development of theory has not been our primary purpose. It follows that this chapter will be somewhat pragmatic and will take an eclectic view of models of cognition, drawing ideas from a number of sources as they appear to offer fruitful avenues towards our goal of devising educational methods for the acceleration of cognitive development.

Furthermore, I should clarify the particular aspects of ‘cognition’ and of ‘acceleration’ which will be addressed. Cognition will be used here quite specifically to refer to general processing capability, that is, a function of the mind which can be applied across all contexts. While it would be difficult to deny the predictive validity of multilevel models of the mind which include context-specific abilities and domain-specific talents as well as a general processing mechanism, it is the last of these which is the particular concern of our cognitive acceleration programmes.

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Cognitive Developmental Change
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