Stability and Change in Early Adulthood
The age from the early 20 to 40 is regarded by many scientists such as Eisenberg, Erikson, Piaget, Bacon and others as the period of transition from adolescence to adulthood. As all the preceding and following life periods, this one also has some distinctive characteristics peculiar to all the individuals. In general, this period can be defined as the time of experimentation and exploration. The individuals undergo changes on all levels: physical, cognitive, social, and personal. Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to the concepts of stability and change in early adulthood. Referring to McGue et al. (1993), the personality of a person usually stabilizes in adulthood; however, though the genetic factors are regarded as forming the stable core of personality, there are the environmental influences, which can cause some personality changes.
On the physical level, the peak of strength usually is observed at the age from 20 to 30; no serious physical changes occur unless the diet or pregnancy took place. Finally, the decline or improvement of various aspects of health like vision, hearing, speed, endurance, and taste can be impacted by the lifestyle of a person. Speaking about some other changes on the physical level, one can mention different illnesses caused by the messy sexual relations, like gonorrhea, syphilis, etc.
Taking into account the socio-cultural influences on the other aspects of development, it is necessary to consider the cognitive development. There are various points of view offered by different scientists. According to Piaget, the ways of thinking in the early adulthood are the same, but some scientists disagree with it stating that thinking in adulthood becomes more pragmatic and realistic (Day, 1981). There also exists the idea that in early adulthood, people develop post formal thinking, which is responsible for the reflective judgment, relativism, dialectical thought. Some studies show that the level of intelligence declines with age, therefore, the new information is better conceived in adolescence. Still, according to the researches held in college, it is proven that the prejudices and hostile attitude also influence the cognitive processes.
The early adulthood is really characterized by establishing the economic and personal independence, self-exploration in terms of interests, work, and beliefs. It is necessary to remember Erikson’s theory, which states that stable intimate relationship is very important for adults. The lack of communication can lead to different mental disorders and social isolation. According to Levison’s concept, the social role has also a great impact on the person’s mood, confidence, and achievements.
Another important issue is that male and female individuals have some differences at all levels of development. As Professor Manning has stated in his interview, the differences in men and women lie in the brain organization; women have more grey matter in the brain while man have more white matter. Moreover, different parts of the brain are responsible for the same actions. Professor Simon Baron Cohen has enlightened that the level of testosterone influences the divergence in the male and female behavior. The higher the level of testosterone is – the more masculine the behavior of a person is, the stronger he or she is – the faster he or she runs. According to other Professor Manning’s researches, the biggest difference between men and women is that men have higher visual spatial skills than women. Speaking about the cognitive development, it is important to mention that women have a higher graduation rate while they study, but the same lack of confidence as in adolescence comparing to male representatives is observed. Finally, it is important to mention the difference in the emotional behavior between men and women. According to the researches mentioned in the third video and in Eisenbergs’s essay (2002), making emotional connection is much more difficult for men the same as empathy-related responding appears to be more common for female representatives.
To sum it up, it is necessary to say that early adulthood is an important period of an individual’s life, when his/her personality stabilizes on physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional levels. During this period, much depends on the environment, lifestyle, and gender of a person. Because of various physiological differences in brains and hormones, there exist the models of behavior, which are regarded as more feminine or masculine; however, though such models are common, the mosaic brain structure exists, which proves that a woman can get some male traits and visa versa.