Adolescent Thinking and Transition to Formal Operations
Adolescent thinking is a phenomenon that is hard to explain. Many investigations have been conducted to analyze the way adolescents perceive and comprehend information. Adolescence is a period when a personality is not a child anymore though he or she is not an adult person as well. This period can influence the further development of the personality and predetermine particular behavioral and habitual patterns for the rest of life. Two major groups of factors impact adolescent thinking: physical and cognitive development.
The most significant feature of physical changes is puberty. It is a process of becoming mature, which is accompanied by the drastic transformation of hormones and an adolescent brain. Biological changes (menstruation in girls, sperm production in boys) and the alternation of brain structures influence the process of thinking. Cognitive development is even more important to the variations in the thinking processes.During adolescence, the abilities to make moral judgments and think abstractly are formed. It is also called hypothetical-deductive reasoning. Adolescents become able to explore the problem from various perspectives, consider possible solutions, and make the most appropriate decision. Developed egocentrism is typical for teenagers. Personal fable and imaginary audiences represent the types of self-centeredness.
It is typical for teenagers to experience personal fable during cognitive development. They become keen on the idea of their personal significance. An average adolescent becomes assured that he or she is unique. An extreme self-assurance may lead to negative consequences, such as taking part in dangerous activities (substances use, smoking). Imaginary audience presupposes the teenagers’ constant feeling that somebody’s watching them. For instance, imagine a girl who thinks that she is fat and not pretty and that someone is always looking at her. She becomes obsessed with the idea of weight loss, which may result in such illnesses as anorexia or bulimia. Parents who are dealing with changes in their children’s thinking should be patient first of all. They should develop a feeling of confidence with their children, always speak to them, and discuss their problems.