Preview Question 8: What tasks and challenges do adolescents face en route to mature adulthood?
Module 12 adolescence
Adolescence <ul><li>Module 12 </li></ul>
Adolescence Many psychologists once believed that our traits were set during childhood. Today psychologists believe that development is a lifelong process. Adolescence is defined as a life between childhood and adulthood. AP Photo/ Jeff Chiu
Adolescence: What major physical changes occur? <ul><li>Adolescence – the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence. </li></ul><ul><li>Puberty – the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a surge of hormones which may intensify moods and also triggers a 2 year period of rapid development (girls – age 11 and boys – age 13) </li></ul><ul><li>Primary sex characteristics—the reproductive organs and external genitalia—develop dramatically during this time (puberty). </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary sex characteristics—the non-reproductive traits such as breasts and hips in girls, facial hair and deepened voice in boys, pubic and underarm hair in both sexes—also develop rapidly at this time. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Puberty landmarks: in boys it is the first ejaculation (spermarche) usually occurring around the age of 14 years; in girls it is the first menstrual period (menarche) usually occurring around the age of 12 years. </li></ul><ul><li>The sequence of these physical changes is more predictable than is their timing (some girls experience their first by age 9 and some boys experience their first ejaculation by age 16.) </li></ul><ul><li>Early maturation in boys has benefits: being stronger and more athletic during their early teen years, they tend to be more popular, self-assured, and independent, though also more at risk for alcohol use and premature sexual activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Early maturation in girls can be stressful: if her body is out of sync with her emotional maturity and her friends’ development, she may begin to associate with older adolescents or my suffer teasing or sexual harassment. </li></ul><ul><li>Not only does our maturation affect us but also how others react to our maturation and physical development. REMEMBER: Heredity and environment interact. </li></ul>
Adolescent Cognitive Development <ul><li>Teens become capable of thinking, and thinking about other people’s thinking. They then begin to imagine what other people are thinking about them. </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitive abilities mature. </li></ul><ul><li>Myelin growth in the frontal lobe occurs during adolescence. </li></ul><ul><li>Frontal lobe maturation brings about improved judgment, impulse control and the ability to plan for the long term. </li></ul><ul><li>The emotional limbic system lags behind in development. This helps to explain the occasional teenage impulsivity, risky behavior, and emotional storms. </li></ul><ul><li>The brain that your teenager begins with in adolescence will not be the same brain when he/she enters adulthood. There is hope! </li></ul>
Frontal Cortex During adolescence, neurons in the frontal cortex grow myelin, which speeds up nerve conduction. The frontal cortex lags behind the limbic system’s development. Hormonal surges and the limbic system may explain occasional teen impulsiveness.
Developing Reasoning Power According to Piaget, adolescents can handle abstract problems, i.e., they can perform formal operations . Adolescents can judge good from evil, truth and justice, and think about God in deeper terms. William Thomas Cain/ Getty Images AP/Wide World Photos
<ul><li>In the early teen years, reasoning is often self-focused. They think that their private experiences are unique, that no one can understand. </li></ul><ul><li>Gradually as they move through the teen years, they achieve an intellectual summit (formal operational stage) and they become more capable of abstract logic. </li></ul><ul><li>They can accurately discern right from wrong be a moral person (to think morally and act accordingly). </li></ul><ul><li>Piaget believed that children’s moral judgments build on their cognitive development. Lawrence Kohlberg agreed (American psychologist) also. He proposed 3 basic levels of moral thinking. </li></ul>
3 Basic Levels of Moral Thinking <ul><li>Preconventional Morality: Before age 9, children show morality to avoid punishment or gain reward. </li></ul><ul><li>Conventional Morality: By early adolescence, social rules and laws are upheld for their own sake. </li></ul><ul><li>Postconventional Morality: Affirms people’s agreed-upon rights or follows personally perceived ethical principles. </li></ul>
Further Research <ul><li>Research confirms that children in various cultures ascend from preconventional to conventional. </li></ul><ul><li>Postconventional is more controversial. Those that ascend to this level are mostly European and North American, educated, middle class individualists. </li></ul><ul><li>As our thinking matures, our behavior becomes less selfish and more caring. </li></ul><ul><li>Character education classes focus on both moral issues and doing the right thing. They teach children empathy for others’ feelings and also self discipline to restrain one’s impulses. </li></ul><ul><li>Moral action feeds moral attitudes. </li></ul>
Morality As our thinking matures, so does our behavior in that we become less selfish and more caring. People who engage in doing the right thing develop empathy for others and the self-discipline to resist their own impulses.
Criticisms of Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development <ul><li>Does moral reasoning necessarily lead to moral behavior? </li></ul><ul><li>Kohlberg's theory is concerned with moral thinking, but there is a big </li></ul><ul><li>difference between knowing what we ought to do versus our actual actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Is justice the only aspect of moral reasoning we should consider? </li></ul><ul><li>Critics have pointed out that Kohlberg's theory of moral development </li></ul><ul><li>overemphasizes the concept as justice when making moral choices. Other </li></ul><ul><li>factors such as compassion, caring, and other interpersonal feelings may play </li></ul><ul><li>an important part in moral reasoning. </li></ul><ul><li>Does Kohlberg's theory overemphasize Western philosophy? </li></ul><ul><li>Individualistic cultures emphasize personal rights while collectivistic cultures </li></ul><ul><li>stress the importance of society and community. Eastern cultures may have </li></ul><ul><li>different moral outlooks that Kohlberg's theory does not account for. </li></ul>
Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development <ul><li>Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity . Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. According to Erikson, our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence also motivates behaviors and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which he sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality . If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy. </li></ul>
Adolescence: Social Development <ul><li>They try different identities. Identity – one’s sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent’s task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles. </li></ul><ul><li>Some take on roles similar to their parents, and some take on roles opposite of their parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Following the acquisition of identity is intimacy. Intimacy – in Erikson’s theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood. </li></ul><ul><li>In forming an identity they begin to drift away from parents. Arguments may occur more often, but this is not usually destructive. Some lead to estrangement and much stress. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Positive relations with parents support positive peer relations. </li></ul><ul><li>Teens who feel close to their parents are happy, healthy and do well in school. </li></ul><ul><li>Teens are “herd animals.” They talk, dress, and act more like their peers than parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Teens see their parents as having more influence in areas like religious faith, college and career choice. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a prevalence of emerging adulthood—the time from 18 years to the mid-twenties. These emerging adults have not yet taken on adult responsibilities and independence. </li></ul>
Emerging Adulthood Emerging adulthood spans ages 18-25. During this time, young adults may live with their parents and attend college or work. On average, emerging adults marry in their mid-twenties. Ariel Skelley/ Corbis