We think of adolescents as synonymous w risk

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We think of adolescents as synonymous w/ risk decisions & risky behavior that people engage in Adolescence is when you separate from caregivers and begin to be interested in reproducing and finding a mate o Period when you detach from your parents, try new things, compete w/ others for reproductive partners o Other animals like rats, fish, and chimpanzee also have adolescence What marks adolescence in other species is disbursal o Disbursal – you leave territory that was defined by parents or primary caregivers and find new territory Occurs at puberty in most species including humans o Adolescence is marked by risk since you leave your home to forge out something new Organisms that are more risk tolerant are better equipped to deal w/ risk – survival and reproductive advantage Hormones Teenagers can make decisions that look to outsiders as if they are excessively risky o Most of the time the decisions are byproducts of general willingness to take risks
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o Risks can be really adaptive for an individual – willingness to try new things is part of adolescence is Major developmental thing occurring during transition from childhood to adolescence is puberty o Puberty – changes in body from childlike state unable to reproduce to being productively mature adult o Puberty is focuses on whether you can produce eggs or sperm & whether you engage in sexual behaviors The process of puberty involves 2 different hormonal processes regulated by hypothalamus Hypothalamus is master hormonal regulator & maintains homeostasis – it turns on 2 hormonal axes o (1) Turns on adrenal glands – glands above kidneys that produce hormones Hypothalamus turns on hormonal production by adrenal gland around age 6-7 Adrenal hormone like DHEA is responsible for some of the earliest puberty changes Changes composition of sweat which changes body odor o (2) Gonadarche – hypothalamus signals gonads (ovaries or testes) to produce sex hormones Males – testes produce testosterone, testosterone levels increase by factor of 10 over adolescence Body gets bigger, increase in muscle, hair starts growing on face, voice gets lower Men also need estrogen for testosterone to work properly Female – ovaries produce estrogens and estradiol Related to menstrual cycle, causes breast development, changes body composition o Menarche – onset of your first period Post-pubertal girls have higher body fat on average than pre- pubertal girls Women also need testosterone – levels double over course of adolescence Gonadal hormones affect composition of your body but also affect limbic system o Limbic system is part of the brain that responds to emotion and rewards o Testosterone – important for how salient or how important rewards are you As boys increase in testosterone levels, rewards from risk-taking behaviors are more obvious Teenagers are aware of potential negative consequences, but the
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