A research paper on intellectual growth could begin:
It is an obvious fact of life that human beings physically grow from birth until late adolescence. However, human beings also have the capacity for lifelong intellectual growth. Intellectual growth involves the expansion of knowledge to the point where the individual can apply reason, also known as judgment, to a situation.
Four Stages of Intellectual Growth
According to psychologists, there are four stages of intellectual growth in the human lifespan. The first stage is dependence, in which knowledge comes from authority and the world is frequently seen in terms of black and white. Individuals then mature into the emergence stage, in which authority is supported by a growing sense of reason in the individual. Learning then comes about by the ability to search for answers. The third stage in independence, where knowledge is gathers through reasoning and the individual's understanding. Here people have learned enough to understand how to think. The fourth stage is interdependence, where the individual can evaluate situations and knowledge.
Piaget's theories of cognitive development are one basis for intellectual growth. Piaget also divided human intellectual development into four stages:
- Sensorimotor (birth to age 2)
- Pre-operational (ages 2-6)
- Concrete operations (ages 6-12) and
- Formal operational (ages 12 and up)
Intellectual growth allows the individual to move from a simple concrete understanding of the world to one that is abstract and complex.