cros0191: November 2011 Archives

In the article I read it stated that to reduce adolescent risk taking a different approach is needed, one that recognizes how adolescents reason. For decades adolescents have been bombarded with facts about the risks they take, most of them involving automobiles, addictive substances, and sexuality. Yet efforts to scare young decision makers with facts and numbers seem to be not affecting the young crowd at all. There is even evidence that some risk-awareness raising programs such as DARE, actually increase the behaviors they are designed to prevent. In our text Lilienfeld stated that adolescents routinely encounter new adult-like opportunities to engage in potentially harmful activities, but their brains aren't ready to make well- reasoned decisions.
The article had also stated that teens fall victim to what is known as the "Immortality Myth" meaning that young people think they are immortal and invulnerable to harm. However the article did contradict itself by saying that research actually proved the exact opposite when it came to the adolescent mind and their perceived risks. a growing body of scientific data shows that young people are actually well aware of their vulnerability. Adolescents estimated some of their risks quite accurately, and even overestimated their risks of negative outcomes like contracting HIV the first time having unprotected sex. Although young individuals do display an optimistic bias, adults display the same fallacy in their thinking, so this does not explain why adolescents take risks that most adults avoid.
Dr. Reyna and her colleagues have reached a startling and highly counter intuitive conclusion about the reasons for adolescent risk taking: Young people take risks not because of a belief that they are invulnerable, but because they engage in too much rational calculation when making choices. Adolescents mentally weigh their risks against perceived benefits. Research has also suggested that the trouble is to get young brains to compute a quick and categorical "NO" rather than weighing the odds. Adolescents took about a sixth of a second longer than adults to get to the obvious "No," when asked questions such as is it a good idea to swim with sharks? a sixth of a second may not seem long, but it reflects a major difference between the brains of adolescents and adults. The areas of the brain that quickly grasps situations in order for one to make a good "judgement call" is located specifically in the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are still maturing in an adolescent and don't reach full maturity until early to mid twenties for most people. So does the cognitive changes in adolescents effect the bad decisions they make? Although more research can still be done to test this theory, our text and the article I read do favor the side of development when it comes to these teens making life or death choices. The best thing one can do as an adult or a parent is to reduce the harms as much as possible until the adolescent brain is fully matured to see not only the positive outcomes of a bad decision if any, but the negative ones as well.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211124302.htm
http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=77188
http://www.parenting.cit.cornell.edu/documents/Adolescents-and-Risk-Reyna.pdf

In the article I read it focuses on the real meaning behind the phrase "s/he's just a friend." The article had stated that at the beginning of a friendship the boy and girl will have mutual feelings for each other, meaning they do not think of their relationship anymore than just friendship, but all the time spent with each other eventually changes the relationship into something more. This is known in Psychology as proximity: physical nearness, and a predictor of attraction, seeing someone on a frequent basis creates an perfect opportunity for relationship formation. Have you ever noticed when you were younger you always had a crush on the boy/girl that lived next door to you? Or the guy/girl that waited at the bus stop with you every morning? These are examples of how proximity works when it comes to forming relationships. Would you still have a crush on that particular person if you didn't see them on a daily basis?
However in the article I read it also stated that opposites attract. This contradicts what we've learned in Psych 1001 which states in our text book that like attracts like. The article continued to explain that having a friend of the opposite gender excites us mentally, but not enough research has proven this to be true. This does not explain then why some girls may prefer girls over guys and some guys may prefer guys over girls when it comes to what attracts and excites them. Our book also makes a valid argument that having things in common with someone or also known as similarity, can become a predictor of attraction as well.
Another key aspect the article stated on why boys and girls can't just be friends is due mainly because of attitude and nature.Flirty nature more specifically can cause jealousy, and irritation especially when the guy flirts with someone other than his so called friend and naturally the sexual tension may be there. This can end the friendship abruptly. Although there is more support and evidence proving that guys and girls can't just be "friends," more research still needs to be conducted to test out any other hypotheses as to why this became the golden rule. Those of us who have seen the 1991 film My Girl directed by Howard Zieff, have experienced first hand how awkward a friendship can get when spending too much time with one another can start to turn into something else.

Sources:http://living.oneindia.in/relationship/love-and-romance/2011/girl-boy-friendship-041111.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200109/can-men-and-women-be-friends

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