1. What are growths spurts and when do they occur?
A growth spurt is a rapid increase in height and weight that begins at about age 10 and ½ in girls and 12 and ½ in boys. It reaches its peak age at 12 for girls and 14 for boys. About 6 years after the start of a growth spurt girls and boys reach their adult height.

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2. Describe each of the four sections (Sexual Development, Early and Late Developers, Adolescent Sexual Activity, Teenage Pregnancy and Childbearing)- highlight the ages of significant bodily changes and milestones, and list any statistics provided.
Sexual Development: Boys: At the age of 11 and ½ boys experience puberty which is the onset of sexual maturation. The initial sign of puberty is growth of the testes which begins around age 11 and 1/2. About a year later they experience a growth spurt in height. In addition to the growth spurt boys experience enlargement of the penis. The growth of pubic hair and facial hair it develops at a later time. The last change of male maturation is the deepening of the voice. Girls: For girls growth spurts begin their puberty. Pubic hair and breasts begin to develop shortly after. A women’s menstrual cycle begins on average between the ages of 12 and 13. Things like health and nutrition effects when you will begin your menstrual cycle. Heavier girls tend to mature earlier than thinner girls.
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Early and Late Developers: Boys: The ages of puberty in boys differs greatly. For example, some 14 year old boys still look like children and some look like adults. For those who mature earlier, their advantages are that they do better in sports and in social activities and they receive respect from their peers. The advantages for boys who mature later are that they develop a stronger sense of identity because they are not pressured to grow too quickly. Girls: For girls that mature early they may experience mixed emotions. They may be admired by other girls or they may be embarrassed by being treated in a sexual manor by boys.
Adolescent Sexual Activity: Sexual activity involving adolescents has change immensely over the past century. Fifty years ago it was expected that boys and girls waited until marriage to have sexual intercourse, but major changes have occurred since then. “3/4 of all males and more than ½ of all females between the ages of 15 and 19 have had intercourse; the average age for most intercourse is 16 for boys and 17 for girls” (Stodghill, 1998). In addition, boys and girls view sexual activity differently; girls tend to feel worse about their sexual experiences more than boys do (46% versus 65%) (Lewin, 1994a).
Teenage Pregnancy and Childbearing: Since the beginning of the 1990s, the rate of women between the ages of 15 to 19 bearing children has steadily declined 16%. The rate of teenage pregnancies has gone down as well. This decrease can be attributed to the decrease of sexual activity and the increase in the use of contraceptives (ex. Condoms, Birth Control Pill, etc). These causes can be accredited to greater awareness of STIs and effects of teenage pregnancy. While it is good that these rates have declined, the United States is still the country with the leading teen birth rate. This is suspected because other leading countries have more extensive sexual education programs implemented in schools.

3. Describe Piaget’s formal-operational thought. Explain the pros and cons of formal operational thought.
Piaget’s formal-operational thought was that he thought at a certain stage of cognitive development, children begin to think in abstract terms. He conducted an experiment with his associate Barbel Inhelder in which he gave children of different ages a number of different objects. He then asked them to separate the objects into a pile of things that would float and a pile of things that would sink. After finishing sorting the objects, the children were asked to test their predictions, and explain why some objects floated and some objects sank. He found that the younger children were not good at predicting which objects would float and they were not able to explain why. Also he found that the older children were better at predicting and were able to make comparisons and relations between the objects.

  • it did not take into consideration that there is a distinct cognitive development and everyone progresses in an orderly, sequential fashion
  • Assuming that young infants did not understand much about the world
  • Underplayed the importance of social interaction and culture in cognitive development

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4. According to Elkind what are the two fallacies of thought and why do they occur?

The imaginary audience
§ This occurs because teenagers feel they are being constantly observed and judged by others due to their appearance and behavior. This is the cause of self-consciousness.
The person fable
This occurs because a teenager unrealistically senses their own uniqueness. For example, a teenager feels that their peers don’t understand the love they feel towards a boyfriend/girlfriend because the love is unique.
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Morris, Charles and Maisto, Albert. An Introduction to Psychology: 10th Edition. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ. 2000.