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Introduction of Adolescent Psychology

Adolescent Psychology is the ... psychology of the adolescent. The study of how the thinking process develops through puberty, for instance. Basic Psychology classes in college usually include Child Psychology and Adolescent Psychology, and they are pretty popular, because people can all relate to going through those things themselves. Adolescent psychology is an entity of a major branch of psychology- Developmental psychology which also constitutes Child and Adult psychology. Any concise definition of adolescence falls short of a comprehensive description of the term because every definition reveals the bias or major interest of the author. Often a technical term is invented in order to create a social condition and a social fact and such has been true with respect to the term, Adolescence. As defined by the Websters New Collegiate Dictionary [1977], adolescence refers to the, process of growing up or to the period of life from puberty to maturity. Linguistic ally as well the word is a Latin word meaning to grow up or to come to maturity. If we start at the beginning as it were and set out to define the term adolescence from a psychological perspective, then immediately two aspects become apparent.

First that adolescence as a period cannot even be defined in a way that makes it a period of development independent or immune of human judgment. In other words the question is as to whether adolescence is a social construction Second that it usually has to be defined with the sort of ambiguity that has left the door open for rival theories of adolescence [Vaness, 1960].

Taking for example, Buhlers [1954] definition which has most likely reached general acceptance among developmental psychologists: Adolescence is an in-between period beginning with the achievement of physiological maturity and ending with the assumption of social maturity- that is with the assumption of social, sexual, economic and legal rights and duties of the adult. The definition is biological at the outset, but except for the word sexual, its termination is entirely in social terms. In other words, the termination of adolescence is subject to the particular customs of the culture- it is cultural specific. Adolescence is thus subject to human judgment. It has the implication that adults can willfully prolong adolescence by decisions about what defines the termination of it. Adolescence as a concept is said to have appeared in literature in the 15th century. Prior to that during the Middle Ages children were treated as miniature adults. Children and adolescents were believed to entertain the same interests as adults and, since they were simply miniature adults, they were treated as such, with strict, harsh discipline. In the Middle Ages neither the adolescent nor the child was given status apart from the adult [Muuss, 1989]. During the 18th century Jean Jacques Rousseau offered a more enlightened view of adolescence.

Rousseau, a French philosopher, did more than any other individual to restore the belief that a child is not the same as an adult. In Emile [1762], Rousseau argued that treating the child like a miniature adult is not appropriate and is potentially harmful. He believed that children up to the age of 12 or so should be free of adult restrictions and allowed to experience their world naturally, rather than having rigid regulations imposed on them. Social and historical conditions have led a number of writers to argue that adolescence has been invented [Finley, 1985; Hill, 1980; Lapsley, 1988]. While adolescence clearly has biological foundations, nonetheless social and historical occurrences have contributed to the acceptance of adolescence as a transitional time between childhood and adulthood. This is denoted the Inventionist View of adolescence. Adolescence is marked by two significant changes in physical development. First physiological changes or the dramatic change in size of and shape. puberty.



According to G. Stanley Hall [1904], adolescence starts at the age of 12 or 13. In principle, at least, the outset of adolescence can be determined objectively, for example, by the presence of the gonadotropin hormone in the urine. It lasts until anything from 22 to 25 [Kalat, 1990].In other words, its termination is determined by the achievement of the societys criteria of psychological maturity. And so we have a biological definition of the beginning of adolescence and a sociological definition of its termination. A South African psychologist Nsamenang [1996], argues that adolescent psychology has since been a Eurocentric enterprise. This implies, regrettably, that research efforts have so far failed to capture what adolescence truly is in its global context. Instead, scholars have tended to create, or more accurately, to recast, the African or other non-western images of adolescence in the shadow of Euro-American adolescence. Other authorities have more explicitly endeavored to define adolescence: Stone and Church, 1973; Bandura, 1970; Ingersoll, 1981; Sisson, Hersen and Van Hasselt, 1987; Sprinthall and Collins 1988 state that, Adolescence is a stage in a persons life between childhood and adulthood. Crider, Goethais, Kavanaugh and Solomon [1983] state that,

Adolescence is usually defined as the period that begins with the onset of puberty and ends somewhere around age eighteen or nineteen. Atwater [1992] states that,

Adolescence is the period of rapid growth between childhood and adulthood, including psychological and social development.



Defines adolescence as the period between childhood and adulthood with much personal growth- physical, psychological and socialthat gives the period its special place within the field of developmental psychology. Santrock [1993],

Defines adolescence as, the developmental period of transition between childhood and adulthood that involves biological, cognitive and social changes. In Biological Cognitive changes changes involve this involve thought, physical intelligence, and context, development. language.

Social changes involve relationships with other people in emotions, in personality and in the social context.

What Is Psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes. With its broad scope, psychology investigates an enormous range of phenomena: learning and memory, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, thinking and language, personality and social behavior, intelligence, hild development, mental illness, and much more. Furthermore, psychologists examine these topics from a variety of complementarypsychological perspectives. Each psychological perspective is underpinned by a shared set of assumptions of what people are like, what is important to study and how to study it. Some conduct detailed biological studies of the brain, others explore how we process information; others analyze the role of evolution, and still others study the influence of culture and society. Because psychology is a science it attempts to investigate the causes of behavior using systematic and objective procedures for observation, measurement and analysis, backed-up by theoretical interpretations, generalizations, explanations and predictions. The classic contemporary perspectives in psychology to adopt these strategies were the behaviorists, who were renowned for their reliance on controlled laboratory experiment and rejection of any unseen or subconscious forces as causes of behavior. And later, cognitive psychology adopted this rigorous, scientific, lab based scientific approach too.

Early History
Psychology is really a very new science, with most advances happening over the past 150 years or so. However, it's origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, 400 500 years BC. The

emphasis was a philosophical one, with great thinkers such as Socrates influencing Plato, who in turn influenced Aristotle. Plato thought young children should do sports and music while, at adolescence, study of science and math should proceed. Plato identified 3 aspects of human development: desire, spirit, and reason. Plato emphasized the onset of rational thought in adolescence requires a change in educational curriculum Plato believed character should be developed during early childhood years According to Aristotle: self-determination occurs at adolescence; egocentrism. Aristotle argued adolescence was a time of learning to make choices; establishing self-determination and selfcontrol. Middle ages children and adolescents as adults; short life span. The debate about importance of early years in character building persists until even now. During Middle Ages children of all ages were treated with strict, harsh discipline. Children could be killed for stealing bread. There was no special status given to children or adolescents; all were adults

During the 18th century the view of childhood and adolescence began to emerge with the French romanticist philosopher John Jaques Rousseau. Rousseau did more than any other to forward this enlightened view. Rousseau argued treating children as adults was harmful. Rousseau forwarded a view of developmental stages. Stage: Infancy - the first 4 or 5 years of the childs life, Stage: Savage - between 5 to 12 years of age, Stage: Sage - between 12 to 15; self-consciousness, curiosity, exploration, Stage: Philosopher - age 15 to 20; emotional maturity; altruism, virtues and morals appear In 1790-1840 schools were more available but still not common; apprenticeships beginning at age 12. In 1840-1900: economic gap between classes widened; an industrial revolution; children who were in school stayed longer and some pursued college.

Contribution of Adolescent Psychology

Philosophers used to discuss many topics now studied by modern psychology, such as memory, free will, attraction etc. In the early days of psychology there were two dominant theoretical perspectives. An American psychologist named William James (1842-1910) developed an approach which came to be known as functionalism. He argued that the mind is constantly changing and it is pointless to look for the building blocks of experience. Instead, focus should be on how and why an organism does something. It was suggested that psychologists should look for the underlying cause of behavior and the mental the processes involved. This emphasis on the causes and consequences of behavior has influenced contemporary psychology. Structuralism was the name given to the approach pioneered by Wilhelm Wundt. The term originated from Edward Titchener, an American psychologist who had been trained by Wundt. Structuralism relied on trained introspection, a research method whereby subjects related what was going on in their minds while performing a certain task. However, it proved to be unreliable method because there was too much individual variation in the experiences and reports of research subjects.

Despite the failing of introspection Wundt is an important figure in the history of psychology as he opened the first laboratory dedicated to psychology in 1879, and its opening is usually thought of as the beginning of modern psychology. Wundt was important because he separated psychology from philosophy by analyzing the workings of the mind using more objective and standardized procedures.