Differences in formal reasoning in terms of frontal lobe functioning



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Texas Tech University


Modem research in Neo-Piagetian theory has provided new interpretations of classical Piagetian concepts and developmental changes. Specifically, full cognitive development in adulthood does not appear to be as universal as may have earlier been believed. Some mature adults do not appear to develop the full range of cognitive complexity seen with formal and post-formal operational thought. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore differences between adults who do and do not show formal operational thought (as measured by the Logical Reasoning Test developed by Bumey in 1974). It was originally hypothesized that these groups would show significant differences in terms of frontal lobe performance on neuropsychological assessment tasks, as well as significant differences on a working-memory span task. Specifically, it was predicted that the formal operational adults would show superior performance on the neuropsychological battery, as well as larger working memory spans. Data collection and analysis has confirmed some, but not all of the author's hypotheses. Analysis using a series of multiple regression models has yielded valuable information regarding the Logical Reasoning Test, and has suggested future research possibilities.



Critical thinking, Frontal lobes, Cognition, Reasoning, Decision making