High School Cliques

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In order to fully understand an adolescent, one first needs to understand their brain. During adolescence, the brain is essentially under construction. This growth occurs in the pre-frontal cortex, which is in charge of planning, impulse control, understanding the consequence and appropriate behaviors. Coupled with the gradual maturation of the pre-frontal cortex, the reward center of the brain is highly sensitive to social stimuli and rewards. The lack of development in cognitive abilities, such as the impulse control and the heightened activation of the reward center can lead to risky behaviors. Clinical and developmental psychologist, Laurence Steinberg describes this as "having the accelerator activated without having a good braking system in place." This activation of the reward center can be more stimulated in the presence of…show more content…
Thompson, 1997) Cliques create a social hierarchy where the leaders create the guidelines of the group while everyone else conforms or risk of exclusion and rejection. This can lead to peer pressure and forced conformity. However, there can be some positive aspects of cliques. They can provide a sense of belonging, support, protection; they can reinforce self-esteem, loyalty, identity formation and new friendships (J. Mandel 2010). When a child is moving from elementary to the new battlefield of middle school and into high school, cliques can be an important lifeline. Once in high school, the presence of cliques starts to fade and the classification of crowds begins. (M. Thompson1997) Crowds are larger than cliques and reflect the lifestyles or interests of individuals, e g., Brains, Druggies, Goths, etc. A great example of crowds can be found in the movie Breakfast Club. The movie portrayed, druggies, preps, jocks, geeks, and freaks. It was an example of how each crowd did not interact with each other and how the lines of these groups are well

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