There appear to be three areas that recent research has shown brain development in adolescence and emerging childhood. The areas of the research were considering the aspects of synaptic pruning, myelination and cerebellum which were viewed within the problem of overproduction. Thus the synaptic pruning takes place actively in the age of 12-20 years, when “the average brain loses 7 to 10 percent of its grey matter” (Arnett, 2007). Thus such simplification of synapse improves the work of the human brain; but there is one disadvantage, as the work of brain becomes more specialized, it gets less flexible.
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The next issue is myelination, which was considered to act within the period of puberty, but now the scientists think it lasts through the period of teens. The function of myelination is the same with the synaptic pruning: the brain operates faster and more effectively, but then it becomes less flexible. But the result of the recent research that I find most poignant is that cerebellum is of crucial importance for making decisions, understanding humor and other aspects; besides the cerebellum continues to grow until the mid-20s.
I would like to tell you about two stages of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. The first stage concerns the first level of preconventional reasoning, which presupposes that a person obeys the rules in order to avoid punishment. I believe this stage is a feature of children who do not understand yet what is right and what is wrong; and try to follow the rules not to be punished. For example, the kid is not allowed to play on the carriageway, his mother prohibited him to do that and if she appears to see that he plays there, he is sure to be punished; this is the only reason for him to obey the rule.
The next stage I am going to describe is the third one. It presupposes that a person tries to conform to some specific rules and principles of behavior. Thus the ‘good’ wife is believed to be a caring mother, a passionate lover, a devoted friend, a business woman and a housewife.
I am going to describe the relation of moral reasoning, moral evaluations and moral behaviors in terms of worldviews approach to moral development according to Jensen. A person wants to know what is right and what is wrong; the aspect of moral reasoning answers this question by giving explanations for different kinds of behavior. Then a person comes to know about the right and wrong behavior and makes conclusions on the issue and can judge upon the behavior; it concerns the aspect of moral evaluation, which “in turn prescribe moral behavior” (Arnett, 2007).
Moral behaviors become basic principles for worldviews. Thus there exist three types of ‘ethics’, which are based on people’s actions and worldviews; the ‘ethic of autonomy’ presupposes that individual has right to do whatever they like without doing harm to others. The aspect of ‘ethic of community’ presupposes that a member of the community has certain obligations towards other members of this community. According to the aspect of ‘ethic of divinity’ the individual is a “spiritual entity, subject to the prescriptions of a divine authority” (Arnett, 2007); thus obeys religious traditions of society.
The next issue I am going to discuss is media influences in terms of gender socialization in adolescence. The media possess great influential rates in terms of forming the views and opinions. Adolescents are very perceptive towards outer influences and attempts to influence their opinion. The media influences gender socialization in adolescence with help of magazines which represent strict gender diversities. Other types of mass media are also aimed at focusing on gender socialization in adolescence.
Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen. (2007). Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: a Cultural Approach. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.