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Intellectual Development

  1. David Yun Dai

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0448

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Yun Dai, D. 2010. Intellectual Development. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University at Albany, State University of New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Intellectual development concerns how individuals develop their higher mental functions, such as understanding abstract ideas, mastering complex skills, formulating logically organized thoughts, and solving novel problems, which allow them to deal effectively with life challenges and lead successful lives. The terms intellectual development and cognitive development are often used interchangeably. However, it can be argued that the scope of intellectual development should be broader than cognitive development, as it goes beyond the development of specific cognitive structures and functions to encompass issues of the effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of a living system trying to achieve its goals in a complex and sometimes treacherous environment. Intellectual development is clearly associated with knowledge acquisition through experience and formal instruction, yet intellectual development connotes the growth of a mind that has more pervasive, transferable power than narrowly defined knowledge and skills or expertise.


  • intellectual development;
  • constructivism;
  • nativism;
  • dynamic systems;
  • developmental variability