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Avoiding Social Risk in Adolescence

Blakemore, S-J; (2018) Avoiding Social Risk in Adolescence. Current Directions in Psychological Science , 27 (2) pp. 116-122. 10.1177/0963721417738144. Green open access

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Abstract

Adolescence is a period of life often characterized by behaviors that, prima facie, are irrational, such as seemingly excessive risk taking and impulsivity. However, these behaviors can be interpreted as adaptive and rational if one considers that a key developmental goal of this period of life is to mature into an independent adult in the context of a social world that is unstable and changing. It is proposed that for adolescents, the social risk of being rejected by peers outweighs other potentially negative outcomes of decisions, such as threats to one’s health or the prospect of getting caught. Furthermore, peer influence in adolescence can lead to prosocial as well as antisocial behaviors. Neurocognitive mechanisms of peer influence include the social reward of being accepted by one’s peer group, arousal, and increased mentalizing, which is associated with development of the social brain network. The findings from cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology studies fit with recent public health evidence that the opinions of peers are particularly important to adolescents in areas such as school antibullying and antismoking campaigns.

Type: Article
Title: Avoiding Social Risk in Adolescence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0963721417738144
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417738144
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Multidisciplinary, Psychology, adolescence, social cognition, decision making, Peer Influence, Decision-Making, Behavior, Brain, Perception, Adulthood, Children, Health, Impact, Cohort
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10049283
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