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Boston University
Psychological & Brain Sciences
CAS PS 241
Stacey Doan

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCH 4 Sex differences in body growth in adolescence Boys Girls Growth spurt Starts at age 12.5 Starts at age 10 Proportions Shoulders broaden, Hips broaden longer legs Muscle-fat makeup Gain more muscle, Gain more fat aerobic efficiency LE PUBERTY for women • Body image – conception and attitude toward physical appearance o Affects self-esteem o Compared to Hispanic girls, Caucasian girls are more likely to internalize the cultural idea of female attractiveness • Individual differences in timing of puberty o Heredity o Nutrition, exercise  Body fat, leptin in girls  You need a certain amount of fat to get puberty, so athletes and dancers tend to get puberty later o Geographical location  If you grow up in more poverty stricken areas it is more likely to be delayed o SES  Nutrition and stuff o Ethnic group  African American girls start earlier o Early family experiences o Secular trends  The onset is getting earlier and earlier • Social factors affecting the timing of puberty o Small as compared to genetics, nutrition and health o Early menarche  High stress  Father absent  Prolonged abuse o Late menarche  Warm relationship with biological father  Supportive families  Older siblings • Evolutionary model of pubertal timing o Humans have evolved to be sensitive to specific features of their early childhood environments o Exposure to different environments biases children toward acquisition of different reproductive strategies • So belsky thinks that if you have high levels of stress early on, puberty will start earlier (physical stress) o Contrary to the theory of belsky, current evidence suggests that girls are primed to delay pubertal maturation following episode of malnutrition, disease, or metabolic imbalance o Higher class girls tend to experience pubertal timing earlier  Effects of social class absent when lower classes do not suffer from malnutrition • Socioemotional stress o Socioemotional stress=father absence, parental alcohol abuse, illness in parents, family conflict o Physical stress slows down development, socioemotional stress may increase o Despite lower ses and nutrition, socioemotional stress leads to earlier timing of puberty o Divore: most studies suggest that girls reared in father-absent homes reach menarche several months earlier than their peers reared in father-present homes and display greater pubertal development in 7 grade  Mother absence does not see not have an accelerating effect on girls’ pubertal maturation Father absence: what is the mechanism? o Increased exposure to unrelated adult males, especially stepfathers and mothers’ dating partners o Research on a variety of mammalian species indicates that exposure to pheromones produced by unrelated adult male conspecifics accelerates female pubertal development • history of psycholopathology in mothers  early timing of pubertal maturation in daughters o 2 mediators  Stressful interpersonal relationships in the family  Biological father absence/step father presence • Exposure to unrelated male has a stronger correlation to timing of pubertal maturation • Step father with high dyadic stress, onset of puberty is much earlier than most Summary • A history of psycholopathology in mothers would predict earlier pubertal maturation in daugthers • This relation would be mediated by discordant family relationships and fathers absence/stepfather presence • There is a relationship…? • Females whose childhood experiences include both substantial exposure to unrelated father figures and relatively high levels of discord between their mothers and these father figures may be at considerable risk for early pubertal maturation • Physical stress makes puberty come later, while emotional stress will make puberty come earlier Summary of results of huge graph • The greater maternal harshness predicted earlier age of menarche • That earlier age of menarche predicted greater sexual risk taking • And that maternal harshness exerted a significant indirect effect, via earlier menarche, on sexual risk taking (greater harshness = earlier menarche and greater sexual risk taking) but only a direct effect on other risk taking • Maternal harshness directly affects risk taking • Maternal harshness and sexual risk taking is mediated by residualized age of menarchy People are starting puberty earlier and earlier • WHY? o Nutrition, obesity, and leptin? o Exposure to extra hormones in chemicals o Increase in educational stress • So like boys? o Not correlated with maternity sensitivity. Theres no marker of a single event that will signify puberty o Correlated with body size at 6 months. o Correlated with father absence CONSEQUENCES OF TIMING OF PUBERTY • Girls – early maturing o Unpopular, withdrawn, low confidence o More deviant behavior o Negative body image o More long term problems o Much more likely to be depressed • Boys – early maturing o Popular o Confident, independent o Positive body image EMOTIONAL STATES • Emotions: labile o Emotions are up and down • Independence: testing boundaries • Relationships: highs and lows • Imaginary audience • Personal fable PIAGET’S THEORY: formal operational stage • Hypothetico-deductive reasoning o Deducing hypotheses from a general throy o Can reason in the abstract o Pendulum problem – adults can figure out which one swings the longest by systematically doing it, but kids will just guess and check all the way. • Consequences of abstract thought o Self consciousness and self focusing  Imaginary audience  Sensitivity to criticism  Personal fable o Idealism and criticism o Planning and decision making  Inexperience  Overwhelming options  More likely to choose short term over long term goals MORALITY OF CHILDREN • Morality – the distinguishing of right from wrong • History of theories o Freud – self desires vs social norms o Piaget – moral development stems from individual/environment interactions  Child moves from heteronomous to autonomous orientation regarding rules o Durkheim  Morality based on attachment to a group (learned respect for group rules and symbols)  Guilt and anxiety seen to be child’s motives to adhere to moral principles  Moral development result of society controlling individuals’ interests/needs/impulses o Kohlberg  Disagreed with moral development research of time. Shift in thinking and to believe that love, sympathy, empathy, bonding and attachment are motivations for one’s moral growth  Evidence: preschoolers exhibit helping behavior before fearing punishment o Kagan  Believed that feelings play important role in making judgements  Noted that a society’s moral issues are decided by how intensely people react to them (ex: abortion) • How can be certain of causality here? o Hoffman  Empathy is key in moral motivation o Kohlberg ( most influential)  Developed new method for measuring moral development  Thought children were more thoughtful than other psychologists  Thought children’s ways of thinking develop from social experiences  Focus on how children make life judgments  Created hypothetical story pitting one more moral dilemmas against each other  Heinz dilemma o Kohlberg’s measures  1-2: preconventional • Judgments based on obedience and punishment  3-4 conventional • Judgments based on roles/stereotypes “good” vs. “bad” people; respect for rules/authority • Respect for rules/authority not in place until adolescence  5-6: Postconventional • Judgments based on agreement between groups, mutual respect, concepts of rig
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