Course of Psychology

Professor OKADA Tsutomu (Psychology)

[Theme] The Youth of Today?

What comes to mind when you hear the words "the youth of today"? I think that in many cases a lot of bad characteristics such as being rambunctious without any heed toward one's surroundings, littering, having bad manners, not worrying about outward appearance, and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that in every era throughout history, young people have always been criticized by their elders. The very same "adults" who are now frowning upon the behavior of their juniors most likely received the same sort of scorn from the older generation when they were young. What I am trying to get at here is that when we conjure up images of the youth of today, we always need to take a step back and do so from a calm perspective. Meanwhile, the world is changing rapidly along with our tools for communication, all of which is accompanied with matching changes in the nature of interpersonal relationships. Could it be that the younger generation (in psychology, we refer to them as "adolescents") living in such a society today has some sort of unique behavioral or psychological mechanisms? Could it perhaps be said that these are exactly the same characteristics that we have been mentioning all along in the developmental studies of adolescence?

In a nutshell, what you have just read describes the principle concerns, or perhaps I should say "questions" of my research. Finding answers to these questions is not going to be easy. It is going to involve many simple repetitions of processing collected data, analyzing it, and then arranging it according to objective indicators.

However, amidst all of these repetitions, I have come to be aware of several things. For example, I have consistently seen as in a diagram that there are three major patterns of human relationships among young people: relationship avoidance, crowd relationship, and emotional close relationships. I have also come to understand that using these patterns, one can see features such as someone's current state and methods of adaptation. What all this means is that we cannot lump all our images of young people together under one phrase such as "the youth of today."It is at this moment when you realize things you had not before that you truly taste the enjoyment of conducting research.

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