Abstracting and Aligning Essential Features of Cognitive Development
Over the course of several decades, Demetriou and colleagues have constructed and refined a comprehensive theory of cognitive development that resembles, in many ways, earlier constructivist theories (e.g., Piaget, Bruner, Case, Fischer) while also integrating ideas from the psychometric tradition and generating testable hypotheses that have received empirical support. The theory is notable not only for its broad scope, but also because it addresses the importance of reflection, or
... on, or "cognizance," taking account of Piaget's [2001/1977] later work on reflecting abstraction as well as more recent research on metacognition, theory of mind, and the role of reflective reprocessing in executive function, or the conscious cognitive control of behavior. According to Demetriou, Makris, Spanoudis, Kazi, Shayer, and Kazali [2018, this issue], the core aspects of human cognition are captured by developmental g (psychometric g × age), which is comprised of attentional control, cognitive flexibility, working memory, cognizance, and inference. From infancy through adolescence, these core aspects work together via an iterative process to abstract common properties of representations, align them, and then reflect upon them, bringing them under conscious control, thereby transforming representations from episodic to realistic to rule-based to principle-based representations. Demetriou et al. [2018, this issue] state that "cognizance allows feedback loops where cycles of abstraction and alignment can become the object of further abstraction and alignment that are represented into new mental units." This results in systematic changes in the contribution of core processes to g.