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This is a concept that is directed related to adolescent cognitive development and is a rough mirror of the pioneering work of cognitive developmental change first conducted by Jean Piaget. The concept of Adolescent Egocentrism was first raised and discussed by psychologist David Elkind. Elkind stated that this cognitive trait is a normal part of adolescence and is a limitation that is inevitable. It is simply a normal part of growing up. According to researches like Elkind, Adolescent Egocentrism is when teens and near teens exhibit a false belief that others are highly focused or attentive to their behavior. This behavior first surfaces around 11-12 years old and continues in most adolescents until they are 15-16 years old, although observable traits of the behavior are often still seen in young college age adults as well, especially women. (One study showed that young college age women, when placed into stressful situations such as their first year of college, may actually show more of the behaviors than when they were in their mid-teens.)The behavior carries with it two theoretical terms: Imaginary Audience and Personal Fable. Imaginary audience is the belief that indeed, people are very interested in the adolescent and that they (the adolescent) somehow are a key focus of other’s attention. (Everyone is looking at me.) The Personal Fable is a form of egocentrism where the adolescent cannot believe that others are capable of sharing the same feelings or intensity of experiences. Simply, no one knows what it is like to be me. Ex: You couldn’t know how embarrassed I was when I dropped my drink at the mall. Everyone was looking at me (Imaginary Audience.) and when my friends said that they knew what it was like to feel this was I was humiliated. Imagine that! They thought they understood how I felt! No way!” (Personal Fable)Yes, the behavior is very self centered and egocentric, but then again, so are most adolescents. It is normal and will outgrown under typical developmental conditions.
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