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decorative star graphic Adolescence
& Adulthood

Puberty & Sexual Behavior

Ψ  Puberty is a developmental period ( approximately from 9 to 17 years ) of significant biological changes resulting in secondary sexual characteristics.

•  Link to The Signposts of Puberty

Cognitive & Emotional Changes

Ψ  One of the most significant changes in cognitive development during adolescence is the ability to think in the abstract.

Ψ  Piaget's cognitive Stage 4: formal operations, is achieved during adolescence. Children who attain the formal operation stage are capable of thinking logically and abstractly. They can also reason theoretically. Piaget considered this the ultimate stage of development, and stated that although the children would still have to revise their knowledge base, their way of thinking was as powerful as it would get.

Brain development: reason & emotion

Ψ  The adolescent's brain has an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, or executive officer, but a well developed limbic system, or producer of emotion.
•  This combination of weak control & strong emotion appears to result in many unthinking behaviors during adolescence.

•  Link to Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Reasoning

•  Link to Parenting Styles & Effects

Beyond Adolescence

    New Changes in cognitive speed: beginning in the late 50's; processing speed, perceptual speed & reaction time all slow.

    New Changes in memory: detail memory declines as we get older & is part of the normal aging process.

     Adulthood - Erikson's psychosocial stages:

•  Link to Stage 5: identity versus role confusion (adolescence, 12- 20) for more info.
 •  Stage 6: intimacy versus isolation (early adulthood, 20 - 40)
  •  Stage 7: generativity versus stagnation (middle adulthood, 40 - 65)
   •  Stage 8: integrity versus despair (late adulthood, 65 +)

anchor point Gender Roles, Love & Relationship - Two theories of male-female differences:

Ψ  Social Role Theory: This is the principle that men & women behave differently in social situations & take different roles, due to the expectations that society puts upon them (including gender stereotyping). This includes women taking positions of lower power, meeting ‘glass ceilings’, having home-making roles, etc.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ   Three common patterns are:
 •  Women take on more domestic tasks
   •  In occupations, women often have lower status
     •  Women & men often have different occupational roles.

Ψ  Evolutionary theory: uses reproductive goals as well as genetic & biological factors to explain the behavior. Sociobiology says that the double standard for male promiscuity has a biological basis — it is not moral or immoral; it simply is a strategy that produces more children.

anchor point Love & Relationship anchor point

Triangular Theory Of Love (Robert Sternberg) - Love's components:

love triangle

Passion - a feeling of strong sexual desire.
  Intimacy - a feeling of being intimate and belonging together.
   Commitment - the act of binding yourself to someone (intellectually & emotionally).

Ψ  According to Sternberg;

•   Passion only produces Infatuated love.
 •   Passion & commitment without intimacy produces Hollywood love.
  •   Intimacy & commitment without passion produces Companionate love.
   •   Intimacy & passion without commitment produces Romantic love.

Ψ  When choosing a partner a schema (shopping list) can be helpful.

Physical Changes: Aging

Ψ  Normal Aging - the uninterrupted process of normal development that leads to a progressive decline in physiological function and ultimately to death.

Ψ  Pathological aging - may be caused by genetic defects, physiological problems, or diseases, which accelerate the aging process.

Ψ  Reasons for aging:

1. Aging by chance theory - wear & tear
2. Aging by design theory - preset biological clocks

Ψ  Sexual changes with aging:

Ψ  Sexual changes in women: menopause - the time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently. Also called "change of life."

Ψ  Men may experience decreased sexual responsiveness in late adulthood.

•  Link to information on Suicide

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates