Wednesday

Peer Pressure: The Real Culprit


Teenagers do crazy things. They take drugs, have unprotected sex, ride with drunken drivers, and pretend to be asleep when it's time to do the dishes.

But it's not that they don't ponder the the potential consequences. In fact, a new study finds teens spend more time weighing risk than adults and in fact often overestimate the odds of a bad outcome. But the desire for acceptance among peers wins out in the decision-making process of a young mind.
Cornell University researcher Valerie Reyna and Frank Farley of Temple University conducted a review of scientific studies on the topics.

Compared to adults, teens take about 170 milliseconds more weighing the pros and cons of engaging in high-risk behavior, the researchers conclude. Adults scarcely think about risk, perhaps because they think they recognize risk intuitively. Teens, on the other hand, take time to mull the risk vs. benefit equation.

"In other words, more experienced decision-makers tend to rely more on fuzzy reasoning, processing situations and problems as gists [the essence of their actions] rather than weighing multiple factors," Reyna said.

Teens often decide that the benefits of risky behavior immediate gratification or peer acceptance—outweigh the risks, Reyna said. She figures its better to teach teens some "gist-based" thinking skills, such as putting risks into general categories rather than lecturing with specific data and details.

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2 comments:

Girly_Girl said...

"Teenagers do crazy things. They take drugs, have unprotected sex, ride with drunken drivers, and pretend to be asleep when it's time to do the dishes."

Well, so do adults! When I was a teacher, I taught at the high school level. Sure, there are some teenagers who are bad news, just like there are some adults who are less than stellar individuals. For the most part, though, my experiences with teenagers have been overwhelmingly positive.

Of course peer pressure plays a huge role in their lives. I think it's just a part of growing up.

Sheletha said...

Peer Pressure my ass. My mother used to tell us that "just because everybody else is ackin a fool don't mean you have to" We were taught to be our own person. Mommah would tell us that we could ack a fool if we want to but we would be competing with her when she found out. She said that she will never lose. I believed her.