Back to the old school

HighSchoolNew York Magazine has a fantastic article on the psychological impact of high school and how it affects you through your adult life.

It’s a fascinating subject because so much of developmental psychology has focused on childhood and yet our adolescent school years are probably the most formative for our view of the social world.

Not everyone feels the sustained, melancholic presence of a high-school shadow self. There are some people who simply put in their four years, graduate, and that’s that. But for most of us adults, the adolescent years occupy a privileged place in our memories…

Yet there’s one class of professionals who seem, rather oddly, to have underrated the significance of those years, and it just happens to be the group that studies how we change over the course of our lives: developmental neuroscientists and psychologists. “I cannot emphasize enough the amount of skewing there is,” says Pat Levitt, the scientific director for the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, “in terms of the number of studies that focus on the early years as opposed to adolescence. For years, we had almost a religious belief that all systems developed in the same way, which meant that what happened from zero to 3 really mattered, but whatever happened thereafter was merely tweaking.”

The piece is focussed on the American high school experience, with its weirdly formalised social structure – like a teenage Brave New World, but you can see the universal parallels.

Either way, it’s an excellent article that explores an oddly under stage of development. Recommended.
 

Link to New York Magazine on ‘Why You Truly Never Leave High School’.

5 Comments

  1. Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    People over 18 are supposed to be considered adults, but the story listed ages 15-25. I always wondered if experiences in one’s 20s could strongly influence character.

  2. Ben Ross
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    That is a good point. I do believe most problems come from childhood but then they are definately continued and made worse by highschool. I know it took me a while to get over some of the things in highschool.

    -Ben

  3. Raymond Zervaas
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Probably we’re all still subconsciously biased by
    the Freudian legacy. If we look at the enormous developments that take place during puberty and adolescence, how our social interactions change, how our personalities mature and how the brain undergoes vast changes, it seems very strange that such an anomaly still exists today.
    Many psychiatric problems start to develop during this life period, schizophrenia being one of the most dramatic. It really should be obvious that this period deserves much more attention.

  4. Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on musings|scraplog and commented:
    Shame this comes just after all the youth clubs closed. Shame we didn’t have this in 2001, when all that money was funnelled into the FalseStart Centres.

    But it’s not too late to learn from it, and if I ran a public sector performance-related consultancy, that has worked recently on both libraries and youth-related projects, based in Leicester (which doesn’t narrow it down as much as the naive reader might think), I’d be all over this like acne on an inbetweener.

    Yet another reason to follow my blog (as well as MindHacks): log in to WordPress, come back here, and click ‘follow’ on the black bar at the top left.

    • Erik not Eric
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      @plexity.
      I looked at your blog. Seems like a collection of rehashed personal opinions and politicized anecdotes, not an exploration – Quite different than Mind Hacks


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