G. STANLEY HALL'S : Brilliance and NonsenseADOLESCENCE: Brilliance and Nonsense

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Abstract

G. Stanley Hall's two-volume work on adolescence is assessed from the perspective of modern psychology, 100 years after he published it. A surprising number of similarities exist between Hall's views of adolescence and our own, and several of those similarities are discussed here. Some of the most striking differences between Hall's views and the views of today's psychologists are also discussed, specifically, Hall's grounding of his beliefs about adolescent development in a Lamarckian evolutionary psychology that assumed the inheritance of acquired characteristics and memories; his views of sexuality, especially masturbation; and his claim that religious conversion is normative in adolescence. The cultural and historical context of Hall's views is then discussed, with an emphasis on how an awareness of the context of Hall's views can enhance our awareness of the context of our own views today.

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