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Lecture 7

01:830:271 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Synaptic Pruning, Abusive Power And Control, Pituitary Gland

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1. When does the growth spurt typically occur for boys and for girls?
a. Girls typically start the growth spurt at about age 11, reach their peak rate of
growth at about 12, and achieve mature stature at about 15.
b. boys start the growth spurt at about age 13, hit peak growth at about 14, and reach
mature stature at about 17
2. Why do adolescents look so gangly and awkward?
a. Instead, the head, hands, and feet usually begin to grow first, followed by growth
in the arms and legs. The trunk and shoulders are the last to grow
3. What is myelination and why is it important?
a. acquisition of fatty insulation that makes neurons transmit information faster, and
synaptic pruning, which is the weeding out of unnecessary connections between
b. These changes mean that different regions in the adolescent brain are well
connected and information is rapidly conveyed between them, allowing
adolescents to process information more efficiently than children.
4. Which area of the brain is still developing in adolescence?
a. In addition, brain systems that are sensitive to reward (especially to rewards from
peers) reach maturity in adolescence, but the systems responsible for self-control
are not fully specialized until adulthood
5. How does the difference in timing of maturation of brain areas help explain the
increase in risk-taking in adolescence?
a. because the reward- and pleasure-seeking systems are more mature than the
systems for controlling behavior, the anticipated rewards and pleasure of risky
behavior sometimes swamp the adolescent’s ability to suppress the desire to
engage in such activities
6. What role does the pituitary play in sexual maturation?
a. The pituitary gland is the key player: It releases growth hormone and signals other
glands to secrete hormones. During the early elementary-school years, the
pituitary gland signals the adrenal glands to release androgens, initiating the
biochemical changes that produce body hair. A few years later, girls’ pituitary
gland signals the ovaries to release estrogen, which causes the breasts to enlarge,
female genitals to mature, and fat to accumulate. In boys, the pituitary gland
signals the testes to release the hormone testosterone, which causes the male
genitals to mature and muscle mass to increase.
7. How does the environment affect the timing of puberty?
a. For example, girls have their first menstrual period at a younger age when their
mothers used harsh punishment with them as preschoolers and young children
8. Other than hormones, what accounts for adolescents’ moodiness?
a. Instead, mood shifts are associated with changes in activities and social settings
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