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Chapter 9

PSYC 2P12 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Attribution Bias, Amygdala, White Matter

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Cathy Mondloch

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PSYC 2P12 Chapter 9 – Cognitive and Socioemotional Development
In 1904, G Stanley Hall first identified a new life stage characterized by “storm and
stress”, which he called adolescence; a period of intense moodiness, emotional
sensitivity, and risk-taking. Adolescence became a distinct stage of life in the United
States during the 20th century when most children went to high school as routine. High
school boosted the intellectual skills of the whole cohort of Americans, but produced a
generation gap between these young people and their less educated, often immigrant
parents and encourage teens to spend their days together as an isolated, age
segregated group.
The sense of an adolescent society bonded together against their elders reached its
height during the late 1960s and early 1970s, with never trust anyone over 30 as its
slogan, the huge teenage baby-boom cohort reject the conventional rules related to
marriage and gender roles and transform the way we live our adult lives today,
Piaget believed that when children reach the formal operational stage, at around age
12, the ability to think abstractly takes a qualitative leap. At this stage teenagers are
able to reason logically in the realm of pure thought and at a scientific level. During
adolescence, we first become capable of logically manipulating concepts in our minds.
Even in our society must not make it to the final formal operational stage.
Kohlberg argued that during adolescence we become capable of developing a moral
code that guides our lives. According to Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, the lowest level of
reasoning is preconventional level of morality, in which people approach ethical
issues by considering the personal punishments or rewards of taking a particular action.
Preconventional level of morality is the intermediate level of moral reasoning, in
which people respond to ethical issues by considering the need to uphold social norms.
Finally the postconventional level of morality is the highest level of moral reasoning,
in which people respond to ethical issues by applying their own moral guidelines apart
from society’s rules.
Kohlberg was wrong when he said that children cannot go beyond punishment and
reward mentality. Developmentalists have discovered that our intrinsic sense of fairness
kicks in at a surprisingly young age. Carol Gilead has argued that Kohlberg’s stages
offer referred to is specifically male centered approach to moral thought. Elkind argues
that when children make the transition to formal operational thought at about age 12,
they can see beneath the surface of adult rules.
According to Elkind, when children first see other people’s flaws, this feeling turns
inward to become its obsession with what others think about their own personal flaws,
this leads to adolescent egocentrism – the distorted feeling that one’s own actions at
the center of everyone else’s consciousness. The intense self-consciousness that can
be caused by adolescent egocentrism is called the imaginary audience, and a second
component is known as the personal fable where teenagers feel that they are
invincible and that their own life experiences are so unique.
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