PSYC 437 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Hypothalamus, Gonadotropin, Gonad
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Review for Midterm 2: Biological Development
Common Stereotypes About Puberty:
Puberty is a time of raging hormones random fluctuations in hormones, which
have a powerful effect on the mood
-In adolescence daily activities have a larger affect on the mood than hormones.
They have large fluctuations than adults do, that’s why they are moody.
Puberty has a sudden onset, beginning with out warning
-No, the day you are born development begins. It sets the foundations for puberty.
And puberty is probably signaled by a fat content, it is a gradual process
Puberty starts at one specific point in time
-Changes occur over many years, unfolds across time and different stages.
Basic changes that occur during puberty:
Rapid increases in height and weight
Primary Sex Characteristics
Secondary Sex Characteristics
Changes in Body Composition
Changes in Circulatory and respiratory systems
Feedback loops in the Endocrine System:
What puberty is all about is the set point changing
A set point is established for levels of a particular hormone
Endocrine System monitors levels and releases hormones when levels go below
the set point
The role of the HPG axis in Puberty:
Hypothalamus: Monitors levels of Androgens and Estrogens, and communicates
with the pituitary gland
Pituitary gland: Secrets gonadotropins, which are hormones that control the
Gonads: structures that release the sex hormones (testes in males, ovaries in
The Growth Spurt:
Marked increase in height and weight. Accelerated growth begins in early in
puberty. Acceleration occurs earlier for females than males
Growth A Synchronicity: the rate of acceleration is greater for parts of the body
that are the furthest from the center. The legs, arms, and head are larger in
proportion to the torso.
The Development of Primary and Secondary Sexual Characteristics:
Primary: Maturation of sexual organs used in reproduction
Secondary; Changes that reflect the maturation of sexual organs but don’t
necessarily correlate. Girls getting breasts and boys getting facial hair.
Onset of mensturation (menarche). Begins at later stages of puberty. Despite
popular myths, it does not make the onset of puberty.
The first ejaculation:
First ejaculation is an important marker
The impact of puberty on self esteem, moodliness and sleep cycles:
Possible impact on self-esteem (Quicker and greater recovery for boys than girls)
-There is some support for the greater range of mood during the day
-Mood shifts mapped closely to their activities
-This has less to do with hormonal stability but more with having a lot of contexts
during the day.
Changes in Sleep Patterns:
-Delayed phase preference: Not a behavioral thing, internal clocks are being reset
and has huge implications for public policy.
Impact of Puberty on Relationships in the family:
Conflict with the family
Stereotype: Adolescents angry and defiant. (All human relationships are
associated with conflict, conflit increases in homes as the child enters puberty)
Differences in puberty across cultural and socioeconomic subgroups factors that affect
the timing of puberty:
-Early maturation is a risk factor for antisocial behavior
-Seems to be at elevated risk for truancy, substance abuse, status violations, and
-Low Self-Esteem, high rates of depression and eating disorders, anxiety disorders
-More likely than their peers to become involved in antisocial behavior
-Early onset of sexual behavior
-Going through changes before you or the environments are ready.
-Tends to have low self-esteem, negative self-concepts, and feel inadequate
-Are seen as more immature by peers, and tend to be unpopular
The Secular Trend:
-The tendency for puberty to begin
-Occurs in the most industrialized countries (puberty doesn’t start if the health is
compromised. Could you American high fat diet have anything to do with this?