Reflective Judgment Theories

ReflectiveJudgment Theories

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ReflectiveJudgment Theories

Chapterten of the Book by Kail and Cavanaugh focusses on the changes thattake place in young adulthood. The chapter has highlighted thecognitive, physical, as well as personality development issues inyoung adults. From the chapter, the theories of reflective judgmentrelate to the reasoning adopted by adults, especially when they arefaced with dilemmas in real life. Adult thinking is more complex thanthat of adolescents and this indicates that, as they get old, adultsdevelop more sophisticated and advanced ways of thinking in life.During adulthood, a person has the ability to reason beyond formaloperations. The text illustrate the possible selves, as well asstages of reflective judgment theories as they apply to adults (Kail&amp Cavanaugh, 2013).

Someof the stages and levels of reflective judgment theories that applyto young adults include optimal level of development and skillacquisition. Based on the optimal level of development, adults areassumed to be at a high level of information processing. They havethe capacity to process complicated information and make informeddecisions when they encounter diverse situations. Skill acquisitionis another stage that characterizes the transition to adulthood. Inthis case, adults have the capacity to learn new things and acquirenew abilities, which they did not have during adolescence. Youngadults also have the ability to integrate logic and emotion to solveproblems that they may encounter in life. Before making any decision,they evaluate the outcome and what consequences the decision willhave on them and other members of society (Rathus, 2000).

Reflectivejudgment is also based on the incorporation of some selves such aspersonal stereotypes. While interacting with other people, adults areguided by stereotypes and the social beliefs that they haveinternalized about other people. Implicit stereotypes are likely arelikely to affect the behavior of adults when relating to otherpeople. Stereotype threat occurs when adults find themselves insituations whereby they are supposed to be judges of their own group.Reflective thinking in young adults is also based on life-spanconstruct. This is a sense of the past, present, as well as thefuture that is unified. This aspect is related to the personalexperiences that the adult has had in the past, as well as what otherpeople say about them. The selves of reflective judgment theoriesrelate to the manifestation of the unified sense. This is attributedto future expectations that the adults have regarding the changesthat will take place in their lives (Cronin &amp Mandich, 2005).

Asdiscussed in the text, reflective judgment theories are also based onthe social clock. This refers to the tagging of events in the futureand basing them to the time when the adult expects to complete them.Possible selves in young adults entail the belief that theirperformance in certain contexts and situations is dependent on whatthey do. Post-formal thought is key feature that characterizes youngadulthood. With this form of thinking, adults have the capacity tounderstand that truth tends to vary based on the situation. In thefirst three stages of reflective judgment, adults may not be aware ofthe uncertain nature of knowledge. In the fourth and fifth stages,young adults start acknowledging that indeed knowledge cannot betermed as certain (Sigelman and Rider, 2014).

Somestudents have the tendency to dismiss the value of education and thebenefits that can accrue from going to school. However, there aresome issues that may make them move from the lower levels ofreflective judgment and move towards the higher levels. One of thefactors that can make them rethink their stand on education ispersonal identity. With future expectations and aspirations in mind,adults can manage to embrace the value of education and put moreeffort in their studies. The realization that there are many futureresponsibilities and duties that await them makes young adults gainmotivation to work hard in school. In addition, the adults mayrealize that attending school will improve their standards of life(Aiken, 1998).

Thedevelopment of possible selves is also instrumental in shaping thebehavior of adults who may have dismissed the importance ofeducation. Through these selves, young adults are expected tospeculate where they want to be in the future. With a goodunderstanding of what they want to become and what they wish not tobecome, young adults can re-evaluate themselves and make the decisionto become more dedicated in their studies. Setting of personal goalsand aspiring to achieve these goals has a significant influence onyoung people who might have thought that education is not thatimportant. Students often set a number of goals that they want toachieve in life and indicate the timelines within which the goalsshould be achieved. The goal of becoming a prominent person insociety often motivates young people who dislike education to gainawareness on what they will gain from education. As students movefrom lower levels of reflective judgment, they also tend to choosewhom they interact within the school setting. They may startassociating with fellow students who acknowledge that education is ofgreat value (Whitbourne &amp Sliwinski, 2012).


Aiken,L. R. (1998). Humandevelopment in adulthood.New York [u.a.: Plenum Press.

Cronin,A., &amp Mandich, M. B. (2005). Humandevelopment and performance throughout the lifespan.Clifton Park, NY: Thomson/Delmar Learning.

Kail,R. V., &amp Cavanaugh, J. (2013). HumanDevelopment: A Life-Span View (6th ed).Belmont: Cengage Learning/Wadsworth.

Rathus,S. A. (2000). Psychology:The core.Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers.

Sigelman,C. and Rider, E. (2014). Life-spanHuman Development. London:Cengage Learning.

Whitbourne,S. K., &amp Sliwinski, M. J. (2012). TheWiley-Blackwell handbook of adulthood and aging.Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.