chapter  2
16 Pages

Differential Cognitive Development in Adolescent Girls

The pervasive physical changes accompanying puberty transform the body of a girl into a woman and the body of the boy into a man. Accompanying these changes in physical development are changes in relationships with parents (Steinberg, 1990), an intensification of conformity to gender-role stereotypes (Hill & Lynch, 1983), increases in self-esteem (Petersen, 1988), and increases in the capacity for abstract thought (Keating, 1990). The physical differences between men and women are obvious and undisputed, yet sex differences on many behavioral dimensions, especially with regard to cognitive abilities, often result in considerable debate. The topic of controversy regarding gender differ­ ences in cognitive differences varies from discussion of the nature and impor­ tance of these differences to their causes and consequences.