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V.M.WESTERBERG'S SUPER BRIEF DEVELOPMENTAL THEORIES SERIES
SCHAIE’s LIFESPAN COGNITIVE THEORY
Klaus Warner Schaie suggests that adults' thinking follows a set pattern of 7 stages:
[Not everyone goes through all the stages within the suggested time frames]
1. The ACQUISITIVE STAGE [under 18] encompasses all of childhood and adolescence, and the
main developmental task is to acquire information for its own sake.
2. The ACHIEVING STAGE [20’s-30’s] Young adults no longer acquire knowledge merely for its own
sake but as preparation for participation in society. They use what they know to pursue goals, such as
career and family.
3. The RESPONSIBLE STAGE [30’s-40’s] is the stage where the major concerns of middle-aged
adults is about solving practical professional and personal situations, including protecting and
nourishing their spouses, families.
4. The EXECUTIVE STAGE [40’s-50’s] is the period in middle adulthood when people take a broader
perspective than earlier, including concerns about the world, society, politics. They deal with complex
relationships on multiple levels.
5. The REINTEGRATIVE STAGE [50’s-60’s] is the period of late adulthood during which the focus is
on tasks that have personal meaning.
6. The RE-ORGANIZATIONAL STAGE [60-65]. People who enter retirement reorganize their lives
and intellectual energies around meaningful pursuits that take the place of paid work.
7. The LEGACY CREATING STAGE [65+] Near the end of life, older people may create instructions
for the disposition of prized possessions, make funeral arrangements, provide oral histories, or write
their life stories as a legacy for their loved ones. All of these tasks involve cognitive competencies
within a social and emotional context.