Peer Pressure Research Paper

Peer Pressure Research Paper-90
Two of the decks would lead to an overall loss, and two would lead to overall gains.

Two of the decks would lead to an overall loss, and two would lead to overall gains.The experimenters told players that some decks were “good” and others “bad” but did not tell players which were which.Steinberg and Gardner randomly assigned some participants to play alone or with two same-age peers looking on.

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They worry that the adolescent peer group has the power to prod its members into behavior that is foolish and even dangerous.

Such wariness is well founded: statistics show, for example, that a teenage driver with a same-age passenger in the car is at higher risk of a fatal crash than an adolescent driving alone or with an adult.

Now some experts are proposing that we should take advantage of the teen brain's keen sensitivity to the presence of friends and leverage it to improve education.

In a 2011 study, Steinberg and his colleagues turned to functional MRI to investigate how the presence of peers affects the activity in the adolescent brain.

Yet in the years following the publication of this study, Steinberg began to believe that this interpretation did not capture the whole picture.

As he and other researchers examined the question of teens were more apt to take risks in the company of other teenagers, they came to suspect that a crowd's influence need not always be negative.They scanned the brains of 40 teens and adults who were playing a virtual driving game designed to test whether players would brake at a yellow light or speed on through the intersection.The brains of teenagers, but not adults, showed greater activity in two regions associated with rewards (the ventral striatum and the orbitofrontal cortex) when they were being observed by same-age peers than when alone.In a seminal 2005 study, psychologist Laurence Steinberg of Temple University and his co-author, psychologist Margo Gardner, then at Temple, divided 306 people into three age groups: young adolescents, with a mean age of 14; older adolescents, with a mean age of 19; and adults, aged 24 and older.Subjects played a computerized driving game in which the player must avoid crashing into a wall that materializes, without warning, on the roadway.In contrast, adults behaved in similar ways regardless of whether they were on their own or observed by others.“The presence of peers makes adolescents and youth, but not adults, more likely to take risks,” Steinberg and Gardner concluded.Such findings, he says, suggest that “this network can be called on to process and store the kind of information taught in school—potentially giving students access to a range of untapped mental powers.” If humans are generally geared to recall details about one another, this pattern is probably even more powerful among teenagers who are hyperattentive to social minutiae: who is in, who is out, who likes whom, who is mad at whom.Their penchant for social drama is not—or not —a way of distracting themselves from their schoolwork or of driving adults crazy.In his latest experiment, published online in August, Steinberg and his colleagues used a computerized version of a card game called the Iowa Gambling Task to investigate how the presence of peers affects the way young people gather and apply information.In this variant on the game, a computer would indicate a card from one of four decks, and players could decide to reveal that card or pass.


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