Adolescent Thinking

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According to Berger, a characteristic of adolescent thinking that leads young people (ages 10 to 13) to focus on themselves to the exclusion of others. A young person might believe for example that his or her thoughts, feelings, and experiences are unique, more wonderful or awful than anyone else’s (Berger, 2007). According to David Elkind (1967), adolescent egocentrism, which includes a belief by teenagers that they are special and unique, accompanies the achievement of new mental abilities. Specifically Elkind proposed that adolescents construct an “imaginary audience” giving rise to heightened self-consciousness. Adolescents believe that others especially peers are watching them, thinking about them, interested in all their thoughts and behaviors. Elkin suggested that this is due in part to emerging formal operational thought which allows adolescents to think about their thinking that is characteristic of early formal operations. Adolescents take for granted that since they spend a large amount of time thinking about themselves, others must be doing the same thing, namely thinking about and monitoring them. They fail to realize that while they may be preoccupied with themselves others are not so inclined (Rycek, R) Previous studies (e.g., Elkind & Bowen, 1979) have usually found that adolescent egocentrism is more common in females and that it increases during early adolescence, peaks at about 14 to 16 years of age. According to Berger, the difference between egocentrism during adolescence and the same trait during preoperational thought is that adolescents, unlike younger children have a well developed theory of mind. They know that other people have their own thoughts. Their egocentrism does not ignore others. Instead it distorts their understanding of what others might be thinking about them. In egocentrism, adolescents regard themselves as uniquely special and much more socially significant than they actually are (Berger, 2007) Elkind gave several aspects...
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