Risk taking in adolescence

Discussion 8: Risk taking in adolescence

(1) Explain the experiment that Gardner and Steinberg conducted. Who were the participants, and what specifically, did they do? What were the results of the experiment? (2) In your own words, what does this tell us about the impact peers have on the individual in the adolescent years? (3) Broadly, why are the findings of this article important when conceptualizing the impact of peer relationships on school? Why are the findings important when conceptualizing peer relationships in terms of both informal (interactions with peers), and formal (specific school instruction) learning?

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When responding to peers remember to bring in new information from your chapter or the article, ask questions, and continue a dialog. Remember each response to a peer should be at least 200-300 words.

Welcome to topic 8!



Welcome to topic 8! This topic we will be covering adolescence – a time known for its trials and tribulations! But, that is not just because teens try or even want to have a difficult time! It has to do with the rapid development that is taking place. That will be our focus this topic.

Adolescence! Think back for a moment about your teen years. What was good about that time, and what were some struggles? Frequently some positives are more freedom and enjoying time with friends. Some challenges come with fitting in at school, figuring out self-identity and conflict with parents. Many of these outcomes are a result of developmental changes. For instance, research has shown that as we enter our teen years, are stress that was once only moderated by the presence of a primary caregiver (usually mom) can now be moderated by peers. This suggests that in these years, our friends and peers become important to us from an adaptive standpoint. Additionally, because our cognitive ability becomes so much more advanced in our teen years we are able to take on multiple perspectives – which is good, but has some byproducts like concern with what others might be thinking about us! We also begin to develop our own identities, need more sleep and become more aware of ourselves. As adults we grow out of the challenges related to these developmental outcomes. But in the teen years, we frequently struggle as we mature, resulting for some, a tumultuous time.



First, review the slides here:

Adolescence Slides
Adolescence Slides – Alternative Formats

Next read this article by Gardner and Steinberg. It discusses how risk taking behavior changes as a result of age. Are we more risky as adolescence, emerging adults or early adults? Why? This article conducts a study attempting to answer this question and posits why they may have found what they found. As you read think about what the results mean for adolescents.

Gardner & Steinberg, 2005

I will upload the article above

Topic 8 Original Discussion Response: 11/21 Topic 8 Peer Responses (2): 11/22

Below is peer response (1). I will sent you peer response (2) as soon as it becomes available:

RE: Discussion 8: Risk taking in adolescence

Gardner and Steinberg experimented to come to conclusions regarding two main subjects surrounding development and risk-taking. Firstly, they wanted to know whether age affects risky behavior, including risky decision making and preference, predicting it would decrease as adolescents and children grew older. Secondly, they wanted to assess the influence that peers had on a decision taker versus when the decision is taken alone, without peer pressure. To do this, the two researchers used multiple tools to assess different things to reach a complete conclusion. They used a computer game that they named “Chicken” to measure the tendency to take risks among the age groups and singular risk-taking versus when the game is played with an audience of peers. The player controls a car that drives at a constant speed with a traffic light above it in the game. Whenever the traffic light turns yellow, the player must decide when to stop the car, knowing the fact that driving longer would mean more points gained during the round, and risking that a brick wall would appear at a random, unknown time, causing the player to lose all points gathered.

Additionally, the YDMQ test and a modified version of the BRPM scale were used as well. The participants were a large sample of equal amounts of three age groups adults, with a median age of 37; youths, with a median age of 19, and adolescents with a median age of 14 with equal gender and ethnic proportions in each as well. They concluded, by the end of the experiment, that adolescents were more likely to take risks when with peers than other age groups are and that adolescents are more geared towards risk-taking when in groups. This research paper shows that peers’ presence is hugely influential to a child’s growth and development, thus impacting the child’s moral growth and ethical understanding of society, which would, in turn, affect how the adolescent would be when they are a full adult. This article is essential as it highlights how much a student is affected by life in school during their years of adolescence. The parent and teacher must make sure their peer group does not influence the child into delinquency, and unethical actions will have grave consequences.

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