From causal thinking to wisdom and spirituality: some perspectives on a growing research field in adult (cognitive) development
Kallio, Eeva (2015)
The Donner Institute, Åbo Akademi
Eeva K. Kallio, PhD in psychology, is a senior researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She is also an adjunct professor (docent) in Jyväskylä and Tampere Universities, and team leader of the group ‘Adult learning processes in education and work’ at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research. Her theoretical interests lie in the field of adult development, cognitive development especially, research into higher education and also the history of cultural cosmology. She has written some critical analyses regarding the concept of the term ‘postformal thinking’ as description of adult thinking forms. Currently she is finishing the first Finnish textbook on adult cognitive development, and serves as an editorial member and reviewer of numerous scientific journals. She is a founding member and the first president of the European Society for Research Adult Development (ESRAD) and a full member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). Her long time hobbies have been training in taiji (tai chi), Chinese metaphysics, cultural cosmology and listening to operas.
This article concentrates on the latest international trends in the research on psychological development of adults, and especially on the development of cognition. The field of research has been very fragmented, and researchers have kept creating new models one after another to describe their own lines of thought and also seeking for empirical evidence for their models. This has created a rather equivocal picture of the phenomenon itself. The present article attempts to identify the historical roots of the field, and introduces descriptive factors that could conceptually determine the gist of the phenomenon. In this context we will discuss, mainly, research going back to Piaget and Perry, epistemic development, integration of emotion and cognition, plus diverse research in the fields of wisdom and spirituality. The main claim is that these models follow similar a tendency towards holism and progress towards integrative thinking on various domains and fields of human psyche.