A Research Agenda for Understanding the Dynamics of Skill Formation
8 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011
Date Written: October 4, 2010
Many current social problems have their roots in deficits in abilities. Ability deficits open up early in life and persist. They produce inequality and reduce productivity. Evidence from a variety of studies shows that there are critical and sensitive periods for development. Sensitive periods come earlier in life for cognitive traits. The age pattern is less pronounced for noncognitive traits. This pattern is associated with slower development of the prefrontal cortex. Noncognitive traits stimulate production of cognitive traits and are major contributors to human performance. The powerful role of noncognitive traits and the capacity of interventions to improve these traits is currently neglected in public policy discussions.
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