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Chapter 10

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Age 13, Suicide Of Amanda Todd, Pubic Hair

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Module 10.3: Adolescence (ohhh shiit)
- Many psychologists are concerned that spending time on the internet sets people up for
social isolation
- Research findings linking internet use, loneliness, and depression certainly haven’t helped
- On the other hand, some argue that Internet has become more of a platform for social
networking, at least moderate use of Internet is associated with greater social involvement
and stronger academic motivation
- Still, the Internet has its dangers
o On one hand, use may become pathological and people may turn to the net as a
way of coping with life’s problems just like turning to sex, drugs, and alcohol
o People can get hooked on the net and could lead to depression
- The internet can also be dangerous
o Bullying
o Humiliation
o Ex. Amanda Todd was humiliated by her peers after pictures of her were posted online
She eventually committed suicide
- So how does Internet affect adolescence?
Physical Changes in Adolescence
- The physical transition from childhood to adolescence starts with puberty and ends
in reproductive maturity
- Puberty begins at approx. age 11 in girls and age 13 in boys
o There is wide range amongst people
- The changes that happen in puberty are due to hormonal activity
o Physical growth is caused by the pituitary gland
o Hypothalamus begins stimulating the release of hormones such as
testosterone and estrogen and they contribute to the development of primary
and secondary sex traits in boys and girls
- Primary sex traits: changes in the body that are part of reproduction (e.g. enlargement of
the genitals, ability to ejaculate, the onset of menstruation)
- Secondary sex traits: changes in the body that are not part of reproduction
o Growth of pubic hair, increased breast size in females, and increased muscle mass in
- Girls:
o Menarche: the onset of menstruation
o Menarche happens around age 12
o The timing of it is affected by physiological and environmental factors like
nutrition, genetics, physical activity levels, and illness
o Even the absence of a father or the presence of a stepfather during
development is associated with early onset of menarche
- Boys:
o Considered to reach sexual maturity at spermarche
o Spermarche: their first ejaculation of sperm
o Around age 14
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- Interesting: puberty happens a lot earlier now than 100 yrs ago
o This is prob because of behavioral changes that increase body fat (e.g. poor
nutrition, insufficient exercise), and increased environmental stresses that
increase stress hormones in the body
- These changing bodies cause challenges like:
o Self-consciousness
o (eightened desire to be attractive and fit in
o Increasing sexual interest and experimentation
o Negative moods and adjustment problems due to hormonal fluctuations
- Adolescents who begin to physically develop earlier than their peers can face extra
o Early developing females often cope with being teased and having their bodies made
into objects of others’ attention
o Early developing boys are often regarded positively by both themselves and peers
o Still, both girls and boys who are early developers are at a greater risk of drug
and alcohol abuse and unwanted pregnancies
- Research shows that brain changes also occur
o Frontal lobes undergo a massive shift in myelination, speeding up neural firing
o Frontal lobes also undergo a wave of synaptic pruning, during which relatively
unused synaptic connection are broken, and make brain more efficient
o These changes increase ability for self-control
o But this self-control isn’t fully reached yet
Emotional Changes in Adolescence
- The physical and emotional changes are believed to be widely connected
o Ex. Mood swings and high risk behavior are attributed to raging hormones
But is it true that adolescents are all just horny animals?
- This belief has been in pop culture and in psychology since 1900s
o But this has been challenged by many anthropologists who discovered that in many
non-Western cultures, the transition from childhood to adulthood happened
pretty smoothly
- In the decades since, research has painted a somewhat mixed picture of adolescence:
o On the upside:
Majority of teens keep their forays into debauchery fairly minimal
They don’t let their larger lives get harmed beyond repair by their
- Navigating adolescence successfully leaves tens feeling:
o They know who they are
o Healthy social identity
o Learn to identify some of their passions and intrinsically fulfilling goals
- But there are some bumps on the way to this awesomeness
o They are prone to experiencing intense and volatile emotions
o Heightened feelings of anxiety and depression
o Learning how to regulate their emotions correctly is VERY important
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Research shows that one of the keys to regulating their emotions is to
be able to use a diverse set of self-control strategies
Adolescents with a limited number of adaptive strategies (e.g., learning to
suppress emotions, or conversely, learning to always reach out and talk to
people about their feelings) are at greater risk of developing depression and
- One of the most powerful ways of dealing with emotions is cognitive reframing
o Cognitive reframing: learn to look at our experience through a different frame
o Ex. Failure can be reframed as an opportunity to learn
o Ex. A threatening experience as a challenge to overcome
- The ability to reframe is one of the most important skills they need as they move into
- The ability to delay gratification
o Delay gratification: putting off immediate temptations in order to focus on longer-
term goals
o Ex. Should you party tonight or study for your test?
o Mastering this skill will lead to successful life
- An inability to delay gratification reflects a tendency to discount the future in order
to live in the moment,
o This can cause a lot of issues like:
Unsafe sex
Racking up credit card debt
Leaving everything to the last minute
o Failing to reach delay gratification limits people’s ability to live up to their
These people usually wonder what might have been when they are in
- Unfortunately, the ability (or inability) to delay gratification tends to be quite stable
throughout childhood and adolescents
o A study was done in 1960s to see what kids would do when faced with temptation
o They could have a marshmallow immediately, or if they wait 15 mins, they
could have 2
Pre-school kids find it REALLY HARD to wait
o These studies got famous because the length of the time the kids could wait for
the second marshmallow predicted how well adjusted they were in many
years later, in adolescence
The ones who could wait for the marshmallow at age 4 were better
adjusted at 15 and by the end of HS had even higher SAT scores
- Delay gratification is a skill that people can learn just like controlling emotions
o You can use cognitive reframing
o Even pre-school children can use them
They were told to imagine that the marshmallow wasn’t real and it was just a
This increased the avg waiting time
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