Psychological Changes during Adolescence

Adolescence is primarily marked by the capability to reproduce. However, in addition to biological changes associated with sexual maturation, cognitive, motivational, social, and emotional changes also occur to further direct the individual toward becoming an adult. Thinking becomes more abstract during adolescence, allowing individuals to improve their reasoning abilities. Additionally, personal relationships can become stressful during this time as young adults break away from their families in order to gain more independence.


Emotions are various physical and mental reactions associated with mood, personality, and motivation. The states of “feeling good or bad, energized or enervated” are at the center of emotion and mood. These states influence reflexes, perception, cognition, and behavior and are influenced by both internal and external causes. Emotional states can exist as part of a free-flowing stream of feelings (mood) or be the result of a specific cause (emotional episodes).

Infant Morality

The majority of infants and toddlers display altruistic behavior in laboratory settings, leading scientists to believe morality is ingrained in a child’s mind via evolution. Throughout history, humans have spent most of their time living in hunter-gatherer groups. These groups "were egalitarian, they had no social hierarchy or permanent leaders, and people shared food," a life-style that provided a foundation for moral behaviors. However, self-control and social control have hindered the harmonious notions of innate morality.

Logical Connectives

Logical connectives, such as “AND”, "OR", and "IF...THEN", are abundant in language and cognition. Experiments have found that reasoning with logical connectives can be error-prone, as humans tend to “construct a ‘minimalist’ one-possibility representation”. Connectives with only a single possibility, involving conjunctions like "AND" or "OR", are usually accurately assessed. However, when a connective signifies multiple possibilities, humans tend to erroneously infer only a single conclusion.


Incentives, such as money, are used by researchers to obtain and encourage participants for experiments. Some studies have found that participant performance is directly related to the value of the incentives provided. One study concluded that giving performance-based incentives produced a higher successful task completion rate compared to giving a flat-fee payment. This suggests that people respond favorably when they know that their compensation is directly related to the quality of their performance.

Conceptual Change

Conceptual change is when an individual's understanding of a concept changes and evolves over time. In order to achieve conceptual change, one must first uncover any problems with one's current understanding of the concept, then identify an effective strategy for incorporating the new, corrected information. Change at a deep level can be hard to achieve, since many factors, including knowledge and viable alternatives, influence whether and how conceptual change occurs. The relationship of "the initial and new conceptions determines the difficulty of learning.

Analogical Reasoning

Analogy is the cognitive process of analyzing information and meaning from one object and applying it to another object. It is an essential part of human existence, as it is used to communicate with others, solve problems, provide explanations, and form emotional relationships. Additionally, analogies are an important feature of language, as they comprise the comparisons, arguments, and metaphors used in everyday speech. Cognitive science research is used to understand the nature of analogy.


Dominance is a state of asserting control over others, usually as a result of possessing higher social status relative to other individuals. Though many assume dominance is sustained through aggressive behavior, "aggression is simply one way to attain dominance." Dominant individuals, in fact, are usually able to utilize their status to achieve their goals without the active use of aggression.


Extremely social creatures, humans have developed highly sophisticated and intricate methods to nurture the "social, emotional and cognitive skills" that support this evolutionary attribute. Socialization, therefore, encompasses many different rules, functions and results. Due to the importance of socialization in child development, many theories regarding this mechanism have been formed, many of which seem contradictory.


Shame is a universal emotion among humans. As it manifests in many different forms, the concept of shame has not been standardized within the academic field of psychology. However, a general definition of shame would be a "global negative evaluation of self." This emotion is often accompanied by behavior patterns that repair one's mood or social self image, such as an increase in social insensitivity and narcissism (via aggression or blaming others) or an attempt to enhance self esteem by "acting independently."


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