Adolescent Rationality and Development: Cognition, Morality, and Identity, Third Edition, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Adolescent Rationality and Development

Cognition, Morality, and Identity, Third Edition

By David Moshman

© 2011 – Psychology Press

302 pages

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Paperback: 9781848728615
pub: 2011-01-06
Hardback: 9781848728608
pub: 2011-02-25
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About the Book

Frequently cited in scholarly books and journals and praised by students, this book focuses on developmental changes and processes in adolescence rather than on the details and problems of daily life. Major developmental changes associated with adolescence are identified. Noted for its exceptionally strong coverage of cognitive, moral, and social development, this brief, inexpensive book can be used independently or as a supplement to other texts on adolescence.

Highlights of the new edition include:

  • expanded coverage of thinking and reasoning.
  • a new chapter on metacognition and epistemic cognition.
  • expanded coverage of controversies concerning the foundations of morality.
  • a new chapter on moral principles and perspective taking.
  • a new chapter on the relation of personal and social identity.
  • a new chapter addressing current controversies concerning the rationality, maturity, and brains of adolescents.
  • more detail on key studies and methodologies and boldfaced key terms and a glossary to highlight and clarify key concepts.

Rather than try to cover everything about adolescence at an elementary level, this book presents and builds on the core issues in the scholarly literature, thus encouraging deeper levels of understanding. The book opens with an introduction to the concepts of adolescence, rationality, and development and then explores the three foundational literatures of adolescent development - cognitive development, moral development, and identity formation. The book concludes with a more general account of rationality and development in adolescence and beyond.

Appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on adolescence or adolescent development offered by departments of psychology, educational psychology, or human development, this brief text is also an ideal supplement for courses on social and/or moral development, cognitive development, or lifespan development. The book is also appreciated by scholars interested in connections across standard topics and research programs. Prior knowledge of psychology is not assumed.


"The biggest achievement of the book is that complex ideas are presented in an accessible and very readable manner. The reader is guided through the information and encouraged to make up their own mind as to the implications of what is being said, excellently modelling the main argument of the book. … The main readership for the book is likely to be those studying adolescent development academically. It would, however, be excellent reading material for those educators leading educational policy and those who are interested in the legal rights of adolescents." – Dr. Mark Bowers, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, in Young Minds Magazine

"David Moshman’s book has become a standard required book for adolescent development. His breadth of knowledge and the empirical details of adolescent judgment and reasoning are engaging and intriguing to read. He answers age-old questions about adolescent development with a fresh new look, drawing on a wide range of research programs and theoretical traditions about development." - Melanie Killen, University of Maryland, USA

"This book provides a concise yet impactful review and synthesis of the literatures on cognitive, identity, and moral development. This is an outstanding portrayal of adolescents from a holistic and integrative perspective." - Seth J. Schwartz, University of Miami, USA

"This is the sort of book that most if not all students… should encounter in a text for a course they take on adolescence. Too many of the current texts … are filled with glitzy material centered around pop culture… Moshman … is covering material that most other texts do not. " - Deanna Kuhn, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA

"This is a greatly expanded, conceptually more elaborate, and enriched edition of Moshman’s introduction to adolescence. The writing is clear and the examples are engaging. He departs from the textbook trend to fill pages with myriads of unrelated facts, in order to focus on the central aspects of adolescent development. He invites the reader to consider a picture in which the constructions of cognitive powers, of moral ideals, and of personal identity come together to give coherence and meaning to the diverse experiences of adolescence." - Augusto Blasi, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

"A stupendous achievement. … [The book brings] … coherence to cognitive, moral, and identity development during the adolescent years. [The author] stimulates students … to think about the big picture. … A brilliantly "simple" writing style. … It’s amazing how much [he] covers … in such a short book." - John C. Gibbs, The Ohio State University, USA

"The chapters [on moral development] represent the finest synthesis of the field I have ever encountered in a textbook. … Students … will come away … with a deep understanding of what development and rationality are all about, and how these ideas can illuminate key issues in this period of life. … The revised edition [is] right on track, targeting areas of exciting new research. … I will certainly snap it up and read it with great enthusiasm." - Charles C. Helwig, University of Toronto, Canada

"The pared-down nature of the book makes it easy to supplement with primary readings … I have previously used this book for …Adolescent Cognition … for advanced undergraduates. … I plan to use the new edition." - Kathleen M. Galotti, Carleton College, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part 1. Cognitive Development. 1. Piaget’s Theory of Formal Operations. 2. Inference, Thinking, and Reasoning. 3. Metacognition and Epistemic Cognition. 4. The Construction of Rationality. Part 2. Moral Development. 5. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development. 6. Justice, Care, and Virtue. 7. Principles and Perspective Taking. 8. The Construction of Morality. Part 3. Identity Formation. 9. Erikson’s Theory of Identity Formation. 10. Identity as a Theory of Oneself. 11. Personal and Social Identity. 12. The Construction of Identity. Part 4. Development Beyond Childhood. 13. Rational Moral Identity. 14. Pluralist Rational Constructivism. 15. Rationality, Liberty, and Education. 16. Adolescents as Young Adults.

About the Author

David Moshman is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from Rutgers University in 1977. He currently serves as book review editor for the Journal of Applied Development Psychology. In addition to his many publications on adolescent development, he is the author of Liberty and Learning: Academic Freedom for Teachers and Students.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Personality