Northwestern Events Calendar


Psychology Colloquium Series: The power of peers during adolescence

When: Thursday, April 12, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Swift Hall, 107, 2029 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Public

Contact: Andrew Dennewitz   847.467.5027

Group: Department of Psychology

Category: Academic


Dr. Leah Somerville, of Harvard University, will speak at Northwestern as part of the Department of Psychology's Colloquium Series.

The power of peers during adolescence

During adolescence, peers come to occupy a central role in daily life. The social reorientation processes that are foundational to adolescence are instrumental to building mature social competencies. However, our recent work suggests that adolescents are still in the process of refining key skills and strategies that would shield them from some of the more complex and challenging aspects of social life. My talk will examine this theme in two functional domains. First, I will show how adolescents and adults use social feedback in very different ways to inform their views of themselves and other people, providing insight into why adolescents experience typical reductions in self-esteem. Second, I will discuss work assessing when and why adolescents’ risky decision making tendencies are malleable to peer influence. Results indicate that peer influences on decision making are subtle and complex, and are likely guided by different underlying social motivations in adolescence compared to young adulthood. By applying new approaches to examining developmental changes in these social processes, this work is revealing new insights into the phenomena themselves, and the underlying processes that render peers so powerful during adolescence.

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