Module 15 - Adolescence
Is the transition period from childhood to adulthood
Is the period of development ranging from puberty to independence
Developmental psychologists used to focus attention only on childhood
Lifespan perspective refers to the idea that development is a lifelong process
adolescence begins at puberty
-rapid maturation in which person becomes capable of reproduction
primary and secondary sex characteristics mature
-primary sex - reproductive organs
-secondary sex - body hair, changing voice, etc.
menarche (menstruation) and production of sperm occur (spermarche)
Puberty is the time of sexual maturation (becoming physically able to reproduce)
During puberty, increased sex hormones lead to
-primary and secondary sex characteristics
-some changes in mood and behavior
Height changes are an early sign of puberty
-because girls begin puberty sooner than boys, girls briefly overtake boys in height
Puberty is being documented as starting earlier and earlier in part because of the
hormones that are in the food chain
Puberty timing - the sequence of sexual maturation is predictable, but the time of onset
varies from person to person. Maturing early can have social advantages and also
increased expectations and risks.
Adolescent Brain Development
During puberty, the brain stops automatically adding new connections, and becomes
more efficient by 'rewiring' - rewiring starts around lower level cortex of brain -'pruning' away the connections not being used - our brain gets fine tuned as we grow -
what we don't use, we lose
-coating the well-used connections in myelin, in order to speed up nerve connection -
allows improved judgment, impulse control, and long-term planning
-upsurge in dopamine -a nerve transmitter that makes early adolescence a crucial time
to learn as much as you can
Frontal Lobes Are Last To Rewire - your emotions come before your judgment
The emotional limbic system gets wired for puberty before the frontal judgment centers
of the brain get wired for adulthood.
As a result, adolescents may understand the risks and consequences but give more
weight to potential thrills and rewards.
Teens have developed a mental accelerator, but are not in the habit of using the brakes.
Adolescent Cognitive Development
According to Jean Piaget, adolescents are in the formal operational stage. They use this
-think about how reality compares to ideals
-think hypothetically about different choices and their consequences
-plan to pursue goals
-think about the minds of others, including "what do they think of me?"
Upsurge of adolescent egocentrism
They feel as if they are in the center of everyone else's attention
The things that an adolescent does has much more impact to them than it would to an
If they make an error it will feel like the world's biggest tragedy because they feel like
everyone is looking at them 'what will they think of me'
Kohlberg's Moral Development
Adolescents see justice and fairness in terms of merit and equity instead of in terms of
everyone getting equal treatment
Adolescents may strive to advocate for ideals and political causes Adolescents think about god, meaning, and purpose of things and life in deeper terms
than in childhood
Try to make sure that people get a little more than life rather than being an even playing
ex - getting rid of monetary systems 'what if the world didn't run on money'
ex - religion - given to them in childhood and when they get into adolescents
they start thinking about it and they might go away from it they
might come back or they might change it
Lawrence Kohlberg - Levels of Moral Reasoning
looked at responses to hypothetical situations/ethical dilemmas
3 levels with 2 sub stages each
1. Preconventional Morality/Reasoning
-judgments of 'right' and 'wrong' are based on actual or anticipated
punishments and reward
-judgments are not based on internalized moral values
-up to age 9: "follow the rules because if you don't, you'll get in trouble, if u do
you might get a treat'
2. Conventional Morality/Reasoning
-moral judgments are based on conformity to expectations of social groups
-person adopts other people's values of 'right' and 'wrong'
-early adolescent: 'follow the rules because we get along better if everyone does
the right thing. Rules are there for the betterment of the collective group.'
3. Postconventional Morality/Reasoning
-moral judgments are based on general principles; following one's conscience
-principles have been internalized and are part of the person's value system
-later adolescence and adulthood: 'sometimes rules need to be set
aside/changed to pursue higher principles/a bigger idea'.
-mostly people who prize individualism
Example: Looting After A Natural Disaster
looting is a problem and if everyone did it there would be escalating chaos and greater