PSY_214_chapter_3_notes

PSY_214_chapter_3_no - PSY 214 Adolescent Psychology Chapter 3 Notes For most people this is a difficult chapter because a lot of the terminology

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PSY 214 – Adolescent Psychology Chapter 3 Notes For most people, this is a difficult chapter because a lot of the terminology is unfamiliar. And, unlike physical development, cognitive development is not obvious so many people are not even aware that it’s going on. Nonetheless, the cognitive changes that occur in adolescence are at least as profound as the physical changes. Consequently, this set of notes is a little longer than the ones for the other chapters. First, there’s the material on Piaget, whose research on cognitive development helps us understand why children and adolescents act the way they do. He believed that the way people understand the world around them changes in predictable ways as we grow and mature largely because of biological brain maturation (but parents and teachers must also provide support and encouragement). A typical 8 year old is very different than a typical 18 year old not only physically but also in the ways they are able to process information and solve problems. The 4 major stages of cognitive development that Piaget identified are listed and described briefly at the bottom of page 67 and on page 68. A huge change occurs when children enter the concrete operations stage at around age 6 because, for the first time, they can begin to think about and solve problems logically. Similarly, another huge change begins to occur around age 11 as children begin, for the first time, to be able to think about things and solve problems that are very abstract. It turns out that this ability to think abstractly has a huge impact on adolescent behavior. For example, young adolescents are able to think about ideal or perfect conditions in a way that younger children simply are not. A 13 year old can describe the characteristics of an ideal friend or teacher or parent in much more detail than an 8 year old who may only be able to think of 1 or 2 obvious traits (like “They’re nice.”) This is one of the reasons why most adolescents become very critical of other people, and themselves as well, because no one and nothing measures up to their understanding of how perfect it could be. Of particular importance is physical appearance, especially to girls. Now a blemish or slight flaw is cause for great alarm, whereas before it was no big deal. And this ability to imagine perfect conditions is also one of the reasons parents are no longer are idolized by their children – who are now convinced that, compared to perfect parents, theirs are hopelessly clueless. Another change in thinking that is associated with Piaget’s formal operations stage is the ability to the see many aspects of a situation rather than just one or two. Your textbook mentions metaphor and sarcasm as examples, but there are many others that affect adolescent behavior more profoundly. For example, an adolescent has a much more accurate understanding than a younger child of
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why people act the way they do. An adolescent can take into consideration motives, situational variables, mood, gender, stress levels, and many other
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This note was uploaded on 12/17/2009 for the course PSY 214 taught by Professor Dr.judyleach during the Spring '07 term at St. Louis CC.

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PSY_214_chapter_3_no - PSY 214 Adolescent Psychology Chapter 3 Notes For most people this is a difficult chapter because a lot of the terminology

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