Developmental Psychology Essay

An essay is simply an argument or discussion paper. Hence, do not make the mistake of writing all the information concerning a particular topic. You need to be concise and at the time clearly articulate your arguments. A sentence should not include unnecessary words or fillers. Each paragraph should contain theme/purpose, which should then be supported by relevant evidence.  Below is an example of a Developmental Psychology Essay that you can use as a guide when working on your original essay paper.   


S.G. Hall’s characterization of adolescence as a time of “storm and stress” elicits a hot debate. Those who support Hall’s assertion use the turbulences, risky behaviors, and frequent mood swings associated with this stage to support the argument. The opponents base their argument on the facts that some individuals emerge from this stage without or with minimal turmoil. The debate is crucial to developmental psychology as it helps explain the various changes that occur during adolescence and their relativity to the individual’s behaviors. Boyd and Bee (2015) indicated that G.S. Hall is identified as the first psychologist to use scientific methods to study adolescence. According to the hall, adolescence starts when an individual is either twelve or thirteen years old and ends when he/she is between twenty-two and twenty-five years old. Some of the characteristics that defined this stage for Hall include hormonal changes, sexual maturation, and neurological development. Hall’s theory of recapitulation postulates that an individual goes through changes, and it follows the evolution scale of mind and body. The main areas of conflicts in this debate are based on the impacts of biological, social, and cognitive changes on the behaviors experienced during adolescence stage. This essay examines the effects of biological, social, and cognitive changes on the adolescent stage. The primary goal is to establish whether the three have any effect on the turbulent behaviors characterized by an adolescent. Biological, cognitive, and social changes associated with the adolescent stage influences the behaviors witnessed during this stage.

Biological, Cognitive and Social Changes Influence the Adolescence Behaviors

Biological changes that occur during adolescence influences the turbulent behavior characterized by this stage. Both psychological and physical developments characterize the adolescent stage. According to Johnson, Rhee, Whisman, Corley, and Hewitt (2013), the mind and body changes that occur during the adolescent stage influence the individual’s mood. The scholars associate the adolescent behaviors with the immaturity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotions. Moreover, the scholar posited that dopamine and serotonin are among the main neurotransmitters that regulate mood development during the adolescent stage.

Jaggers, Church, Tomek, Hooper, Bolland, and Bolland (2015) also postulated that biological changes that occur during the puberty stage contribute a lot to the high tendency toward storm and stress. The scholars associate the mood disruptions with the hormonal changes that are characterized by puberty. Therefore, the immaturity of the prefrontal cortex contributes to the crisis characterized by adolescence. This stage is characterized by an increase in hormones estrogen, and testosterone. Estrogen has various effects on the body and brain, which influence the turbulent behaviors during adolescence. Boyd and Bee (2015) posited that the hormone affects the generation of neurotransmitters in the prefrontal lobes, an essential brain area responsible for cognition and emotions. Lobe’s role includes changing emotional behaviors. Moreover, the scholar postulated that estrogen affects emotional arousal hence influencing the intensity of an experience. An increase in the production of testosterone in boys is associated with changes in behaviors and mood during the adolescence stage. It is linked to behaviors such as depression, aggression, and an increase in risk-taking.

Cognitive development is one of the main contributors to turmoil actions during the adolescence stage. Various cognitive hypotheses have been developed for reason adolescence is characterized by storms and stress. According to Crone and Steinbeis (2017), major changes in brain functioning occur during this stage. The scholar posits that puberty hormones may have effects on the function of the brains during the adolescence stage. Bourque et al. (2016) associate the adolescence stage with information gathering and experimenting. It is during this stage that the teenager starts thinking systematically. Every adolescent views the world differently. The storms and stress arise as adolescents try to experiment with the things they have learned.

Molloy, Ram, and Gest (2011) postulate that adolescents are bombarded with a lot of information; wrong use of this information sometimes leads the individuals to deviant behavior. Vetter, Altgassen, Phillips, Mahy, and Kliegel (2013) posited that, during this stage, the children become aware of the things that happen around them. However, they are not mature enough to put these events in the right context. Individuals at this stage prefer not to share their fears with others, Crone and Steinbeis (2017) associate this with the intense emotional reactions characterized with the adolescents. The scholar explains that individuals in this stage perceive that nobody understands them; this emanates from the egocentrism nature of the adolescents.

The social development during the adolescence stage contributes to the storms and stress. A desire for independence characterizes this stage; however, at this stage, parents are more concerned about their children; hence they keep monitoring them against their will. According to Buchanan and Hughes (2009), the fact that an individual at this stage is not allowed to enjoy their privileges of the adult yet they have surpassed the childhood age contributes to the troubled relationship with their parents. During this period, the child spends much time with peers and less time with adults, especially their parents. As a result, there is a high possibility for the friends to influence the child’s behaviors and to think. Shulman, Harden, Chein, and Steinberg (2016) posited that the close child relationship with their peers than with their parents results in the crisis. They perceive that the things they learn from their peers as the best while their parents believe that the behaviors may lead them to problems.

In his model of human development, Erik Erikson characterizes the adolescence stage with identity and role confusion. The scholar posits that individuals at this stage struggle to know themselves. As a result, they experiment with various ideas and roles, trying to discover themselves. Johnson et al. (2011) postulated that this confusion facilitates turbulent behavior during the stage. The child’s relationship with adults and especially their parents are very poor; the child perceives the parent’s control as a barrier that prevents them from discovering their capacities. Therefore, destructive behaviors result from an identity crisis.

Biological, Cognitive and Social Changes Does Not Influence the Adolescent Behaviors

Jackson-McLain’s (2010) research study postulated that the contribution of the hormones to adolescent mood disruptions is very minimal Bourque et al. (2016) support this argument identifying that hormonal changes only influence the mood during the early stages of adolescence when the rate is of change is very high. Bourque et al. (2016) posit that if the immaturity of the prefrontal cortex contributes to the storms and stress characterized with the adolescence, then children below the adolescence stage should have the same behaviors or even worse, given that their prefrontal cortex PFC is less developed than that of adolescents.

Kilford, Garrett, and Blakemore (2016) also dispute the assertion that biological, social, and cognitive development is the cause of the storms and stress during adolescence. The scholars postulated that there are some cultures where adolescents never experience these behaviors. Moreover, the degree of the behaviors varies from one community to another. Witherspoon and Ennett’s (2011) research study indicated that storms and stress are less experienced in traditional cultures than in modern cultures. Therefore, based on these findings, the scholars posited that storms and stress should not be associated with the cognitive, biological, and social developments only; further research needs to be conducted. The degree of the turbulent behaviors varies from one person to another; this influenced Dagestan et al. (2016) to argue against the universal characterization of adolescence time with storm and stress. More recent researchers have contradicted the perception that cognitive, biological, and social developments influence adolescence’ turbulent behaviors. The research has identified environmental factors as the main contributor to the behaviors. The scholars postulated that where the child is brought up influences how they behave at adolescent age.

This debate has become very controversial in the recent past. Nevertheless, it can be resolved, science has developed hugely in this era, and thus it is possible to conduct a more comprehensive study on the issue. The consequences of recognizing adolescence as a time of storms and stress can facilitate children’s development. If the parents realize that their adolescent children are facing struggles, they can hire professionals to help them. Moreover, they can work hard to ensure a close relationship with their children.


Biological, cognitive, and social changes associated with the adolescent stage influences the behaviors witnessed during this stage. Research findings by various scholars associate the various developmental trajectories with the increased risk of storm and stress during the adolescent stage.  The biological changes, such as increased hormones influence the behaviors of the individuals at this stage. The immaturity development of the prefrontal cortex also is identified as one of the reasons for high emotions characterized by adolescence. Research studies have also pointed out the social transition as the case of turbulent behaviors. A high need for identity influences adolescents to trust their peers than they trust their parents; this result in conflicts since parents perceive this stage as critical hence they tend to monitor their children. However, various scholars dispute that biological, cognitive, and social transitions are the main factors that influence the turbulent behaviors in adolescence. The scholars argue that many adolescents go through the transition smoothly, yet they have undergone the same cognitive, biological, and social developments.


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