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Adolescence: Physical and Cognitive Development


CHAPTER 11 Adolescence: Physical and Cognitive Development Figure 11.4: The Decline in Age at Menarche. The age at menarche has been declining since the mid-1800s ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Adolescence: Physical and Cognitive Development

  • Adolescence Physical and Cognitive Development

Puberty The Biological Eruption
Puberty The Biological Eruption
  • Puberty
  • Stage of development characterized by reaching
    sexual maturity and the ability to reproduce
  • Onset of adolescence coincides with advent of
  • Feedback loop
  • Hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland, which
    in turn releases hormones that control physical
    growth and the gonads
  • Gonads respond to pituitary hormones by
    increasing production of sex hormones
  • Sex hormones further stimulate the hypothalamus,
    perpetrating the feedback loop

Puberty The Biological Eruption (contd)
  • Primary sex characteristics
  • Females ovaries, vagina, uterus, and fallopian
  • Males penis, testes, prostate gland, and seminal
  • Secondary sex characteristics
  • Breast development, deepening of the male voice,
    and the appearance of facial, pubic, and underarm
  • Not involved in reproduction

The Adolescent Growth Spurt
  • Girls growth spurt at age 10
  • Girls gain a little more than 13 inches in
    height spurt in weight continues for 2 years
    after growth spurt begins
  • Hips get wider due to having twice as much body
    fat as boys
  • Girls body shape more rounded
  • BOYS
  • Growth spurt at age 12
  • Peak reached 2 years later
  • Gain 14 ½ inches in height
  • Eventually boys become taller and heavier than
  • Boys shoulders get broader

Fig. 11-1, p. 228
Fig. 11-2, p. 229
Asynchronous Growth
  • Children who spurt earlier more likely to have
    longer torsos and shorter legs
  • No significant differences between early and late
    sprouters in the total height at maturity
  • Asynchronous growth
  • Different parts of the body grow at different
  • Hands and feet mature before the arms and legs do
  • Legs reach peak before shoulders and chest
  • Boys stop growing out of pants about a year
    before they stop growing out of their jackets

The Secular Trend
  • During the 20th century, children in the Western
    world grew more rapidly and wound up taller than
    children from earlier times.
  • Accompanied by an earlier onset of puberty
  • Known as a secular trend
  • Occurrence of a secular trend in height and
    weight has been documented in nearly all European
    countries and the United States.
  • Nutrition and medical advances contributed to
    height increase.

Fig. 11-3, p. 230
Changes in Boys
  • Pituitary gland stimulates the testes to increase
    output of testosterone.
  • Leads to further development of male genitals
  • First sign of puberty is accelerated growth of
    the testes, which begins at about 11½ years old.
  • Testicular growth accelerates testosterone
    production and other pubertal changes.
  • Penis begins a spurt of accelerated growth about
    a year later
  • Still later, pubic hair spurts
  • Underarm and facial hair appears about age 15.

Changes in Boys (contd)
  • Facial hair first appears on upper lip
  • Full shaving occurs in half of American boys at
    age 17
  • Voice deepens at age 14 or 15 because of the
    growth of the voice box or larynx and the
    lengthening of the vocal cords.
  • Testosterone triggers development of acne.
  • Boys more prone to acne
  • Males have erections from infancy but not
    frequent until age 13 or 14, resulting in
    nocturnal emissions.
  • Wet dreams

Changes in Boys (contd)
  • Mature sperm found in ejaculatory emissions by
    age 15
  • Ability to ejaculate precedes presence of mature
  • Half of all boys experience gynecomastia
    (enlargement of the breasts), which declines in a
    year or two.
  • At 20 or 21, young men stop growing taller
    because testosterone causes epiphyseal closure,
    which prevents the long bones from making further
    gains in length.

Changes in Girls
  • The pituitary gland signals the ovaries to vastly
    increase estrogen production at puberty.
  • Estrogen may stimulate growth of breast tissue
    beginning at age 8 or 9 (breast buds).
  • Breasts reach full size in about 3 years.
  • Mammary glands are not fully mature until a woman
    has a baby
  • Estrogen also helps widening of pelvis and
    rounding of hips.

Changes in Girls (contd)
  • At about age 11, girls adrenal glands produce
    small amounts of androgens that contribute to
    development of underarm and pubic hair.
  • Estrogen causes the labia, vagina, and uterus to
    develop during puberty.
  • Androgens cause the clitoris to develop
  • Vaginal lining varies in thickness according to
    the amount of estrogen in the bloodstream.
  • Estrogen brakes the female growth spurt before
    the ending of the male growth spurt.

  • Menarche
  • First menstruation
  • Occurs between ages 11 and 14
  • Some girls as earlier as age 9 some as late as
    age 16
  • Height-to-weight ratio contributes to age of
    menstrual cycle
  • Average triggering weight depends on the girls
  • Early starting in Westernized countries has

Fig. 11-4, p. 232
Regulation of the Menstrual Cycle
  • Estrogen and progesterone levels regulate the
    menstrual cycle.
  • Ovulation typically begins 12 to 18 months after
  • Most menstrual cycles begin in the first two
    years or so after menarche occurs without
  • If ovulating, a ripe ovum is released by the
    ovary when estrogen reaches peak blood levels.
  • Average menstrual cycle is 28 days
  • Menstrual cycle irregular for first few years
    after menarche but later assumes a regular pattern

Early Versus Late Maturers
  • BOYS
  • Early-maturing boys tend to be more popular than
    late-maturing boys and more likely the leaders in
    their school.
  • Some early-maturing boys engage in delinquency
    and aggression as well as sexual encounters they
    may not be prepared for.
  • Early-maturing girls tend to have lower
    self-esteem than male counterparts.
  • Early-maturing girls are conspicuous with height
    and developing breasts.
  • Even worse if development started in elementary
  • May be teased for it and may get lower grades

Body Image
  • Body image refers to how physically attractive we
    perceive ourselves to be and how we feel about
    our body.
  • By age 18, girls and boys are more satisfied with
    their bodies than they were in their earlier
  • Adolescent females tend to be more preoccupied
    with body weight and slimness than adolescent
  • Adolescent males may want to increase body mass.

Health in Adolescence
Causes of Death
  • Greatest causes of adolescent death
  • Accidents, mostly with motor vehicles
  • Homicides
  • Suicides
  • Death rates twice higher for males than females
  • Males take more risks
  • Poor adolescents living in urban areas of high
    population at greatest risk of homicidal death
  • Homicide rates greater for African-American
    adolescents than for European-American adolescents

Fig. 11-5, p. 211
  • Average girl needs 1,800 to 2,400 calories per
    day average boy needs 2,200 to 3,200 calories
    per day
  • At peak of spurt, adolescents use twice as much
    calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and nitrogen as
    during the other years of adolescence.
  • Irregular eating patterns contribute to
    adolescents nutritional deficits, especially
    skipping breakfast.
  • More likely to obtain less vitamin A, thiamine,
    and iron but more fat, sugar, and sodium than

Eating Disorders
  • Due to slimming down of American ideal, girls are
    more prone to eating disorders
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Life-threatening eating disorder characterized by
    extreme fear of being heavy, dramatic weight
    loss, a distorted body image, and resistance to
    eating enough to maintain a healthful weight
  • Female-to-male ratio of anorexia is 10 to 1
  • More affluent European-American females have body
    image issues.

Eating Disorders (contd)
  • Females with anorexia
  • Drop 25 of their body weight within a year,
    resulting in abnormalities in the endocrine
    system that prevent ovulation
  • General health declines
  • Every system in the body is affected, including
    respiratory and cardiovascular systems
  • At risk for premature development of osteoporosis
  • Mortality rate is between 4 and 5
  • Distortion of body image is major feature of the
  • Anorexic woman sees self in mirror as too heavy

Bulimia Nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Cyclical binge eating and purging
  • May include strict dieting
  • Fasting, laxatives, and demanding exercise regime
  • Tends to afflict women during adolescence and
    young adulthood
  • Eating disorders connected with depression
  • Eating disorders run in families, indicating
    genetic involvement eating disorders tend to
    involve obsessionistic and perfectionistic
    personality traits

Cognitive Development Piagets Stage of Formal
Piagets Stage of Formal Operations
  • Formal operations refers to the ability to
    abstract reason, classify objects, hypothesize,
    and formulate arguments.
  • Top level of Piagets theory
  • Adolescents have reached cognitive maturity in
    the formal operations stage.
  • Formal operations can begin as early as 11 or 12
    years old.

Hypothetical Thinking
  • Adolescents develop concept of what might be
    rather than what is.
  • Adolescents try on different clothes and
    attitudes to see which work best for them.
  • Some may experience anxiety due to pressure to
    pick the best career fit.

Sophisticated Use of Symbols
  • Solving mental activities with x as a factor a
    part of formal operations stage
  • Ability to manipulate symbols a part of formal
    operations stage
  • Adolescents can analyze metaphors in literature.
  • Adolescents may take on crystal clear solutions
    to religious, political, and social issues
    without tolerance for other issues that may be

Adolescent Egocentrism
  • Adolescents have difficulty sorting out issues
    that concern others from the things that concern
  • Imaginary audience
  • Adolescent placed at center stage of fantasies
  • Assumes others are concerned with their looks and
  • Explains why adolescents engage in looking in the
    mirror so much
  • Personal fable
  • Belief that ones thoughts and emotions are
    unique and special
  • Normal for male adolescent to think he is
  • Reason STIs occur Cant happen to me
  • Believe that no one has ever experienced the same
    things as themselves

Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities
Verbal Ability
  • As a group, females surpass males in verbal
  • Boys in the U.S. are more likely to be dyslexic
    and read below grade level.
  • Culture and heredity play a role in the mastery
    of verbal ability.

Visual-Spatial Ability
  • Visual-spatial ability (VSB)
  • The ability to visualize objects or shapes and to
    mentally manipulate and rotate them
  • Important ability in art, architecture, and
  • By age 8 or 9, boys begin outperforming girls in
  • Most notable on mental rotation tasks
  • VSB ability of boys may be due to evolutionary
    factors as well as sex hormones.
  • Environment plays a role
  • Ex. toys for boys (Legos, Erector sets) versus
    the toys for girls
  • Boys engage in more sports, which is associated
    with better performance of visual-spatial skills

Fig. 11-6, p. 239
Mathematical Ability
  • Male adolescents generally outperform female
    adolescents especially in geometry and word
  • No sex differences in understanding math concepts
    at any age.
  • Teaching expectations and involvement with math
    from dad contribute to mathematical advancement
    of boys girls less likely to be encouraged in
    math advanced teachers more likely male
    teachers spend more time helping males with math

Moral Development
Moral Development
  • Many adolescents engage in postconventional moral
  • They deduce proper behavior
  • Postconventional moral reasoning based on
    persons own moral standard and personal values
  • Stages 5 and 6
  • Stage 5
  • Legalistic and contractual
  • Laws stem from agreed upon procedures many
    rights have great value and should not be
  • Stage 6
  • Based on universal ethical principles of human
    life, individual dignity, and reciprocity
    (behavior that is consistent with these
    principles is considered right)

Moral Behavior and Moral Reasoning
  • Positive relationship between a persons level of
    moral development and his or her behavior
  • Group discussion of moral dilemmas elevates
    delinquents level of moral reasoning

Evaluation of Kohlbergs Theory
  • Evidence supports that moral judgment develops in
    children in upward sequence.
  • Postconventional thought first found in
    adolescents formal operational thinking a
  • Kohlberg underestimated the role of cultural,
    social, and educational institutions as well as
  • Postconventional thinking absent in developing
    countries and infrequent in the U.S. e.g.,
    principles such as freedom and tolerance of
    differences are not universally admired

The Adolescent in School
The Adolescent in School
  • Adolescents are influenced by opinions of peers
    and teachers.
  • Self-esteem reflective of their skills
  • Middle-school teachers more likely to exert more
    behavioral control than teachers in elementary
  • Conflict arises
  • Transition to middle and high school results in
    decline in grades and participation in school
  • More difficult for girls due to puberty
  • Drop in self-esteem and increase in psychological
  • Schools can ease distress by creating a warmer
    climate and establishing schools within a school.

Dropping Out
  • Early predictors
  • Below grade-level reading and excessive absences
  • Other factors
  • Low SES, low grades, poor problem-solving
    ability, low self-esteem, problems with teachers,
    dissatisfaction with school, substance abuse,
    being old for ones grade level (retention is not
    the same as remediation), and being male
  • Middle-class youth who feel bored with school,
    alienated, or strongly pressured to succeed are
    at risk.

Preventing Drop Out
  • Successful prevention programs include
  • early preschool interventions
  • identification and monitoring of high-risk
  • small class size, individualized instruction, and
  • vocational components that link learning to
    community work experiences
  • involvement of families or community
  • positive school climate that provides clear and
    reasonable educational goals, student
    accountability for behavior, and motivational
    systems that involve penalties and rewards

Adolescents in the Workforce
Prevalence of Adolescent Employment
  • One-half of high school sophomores, two-thirds of
    juniors, and almost three-fourths of seniors have
    a job during the school year.
  • 2 to 3 million adolescents work illegally.
  • Employed lower-income adolescents work longer
    hours than working middle-class teens.

Pros and Cons of Adolescent Employment
  • Potential benefits of employment include
  • developing a sense of responsibility,
    self-reliance, and discipline
  • learning to appreciate value of money and
  • acquiring positive work habits and values
  • enhancing occupational aspirations
  • Lower SES adolescents work to supplement family
  • Middle-class teens use income for personal
    purchases, such as clothing, iPods, CDs, DVDs,
    gear, and car payments.

Pros and Cons of Adolescent Employment (contd)
  • Most working teens in jobs with low pay, high
    turnover, little authority, and little chance of
    advancement typically perform repetitive tasks.
  • Teens working more than 11 to 13 hours per week
  • lower grades, higher rates of drug and alcohol
    use, more delinquent behavior, lower self-esteem,
    and higher levels of psychological problems than
    other students not working
  • Working teens less monitored, spend fewer hours
    with family, and granted more decision-making
  • Hours worked per week needs to be limited