From the standpoint of developmental psychology, there have been several different sets of theories regarding the process of thinking in early adulthood. While the majority of sources hold consensus that the development of thought processes within human beings is complete in adolescence, there are also theories that a stage of cognitive development lies beyond the conventional wisdom to include what is commonly referred to as a post formal stage, which, simply put, involves the human mind processing thought beyond logic and being able to critically analyze, evaluate various options, and choose an option based upon analysis (Arack).
In this essay, the question of whether or not the post formal stage exists will be answered. To begin, an irony occurred to the researcher in the consideration of the answer to this question itself, and that irony is the fact that in order to be able to answer the question, the ability to analyze various pieces of information on their merit and develop an opinion/answer to this question seems to indicate the existence of post formal stages in itself.
If everything past adolescence was acted upon based on what was formed in the mind up to the time of adolescence, it is doubtful that this essay would have much substance at all. Going beyond the theoretical, however, the researcher will now justify the assertion that post formal exists. The very essence of the human experience indicates that post formal is something that plays a vital role in human development, from birth to adulthood and into old age.
This is evidenced by the fact that many people find themselves changing their opinions on a virtually endless number of topics and situations as their life experience increases, outwardly defeating the idea that we are on a sort of psychological auto-pilot once adulthood approaches and that the mind at that point is merely a clearinghouse for thoughts, with no ability to change thought processes.
Another key consideration and evidence of post formal existence are the many examples of people who learn skills and pursue additional education late in life, which would be impossible if the mind were not able to embrace new ideas and information, referred to by those who are advocates of the existence of post formal as “shifting gears” (Arack). In closing, both from the standpoints of example and academic research, there is sufficient evidence to support the existence of post formal stages. While many of the complexities of the human mind may never be understood, this seems to be something that can be objectively proven.