Social Influence on Positive Youth Development: A Developmental Neuroscience Perspective

Eva H. Telzer, Jorien van Hoorn, Christina R. Rogers, Kathy T. Do

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Susceptibility to social influence is associated with a host of negative outcomes during adolescence. However, emerging evidence implicates the role of peers and parents in adolescents’ positive and adaptive adjustment. Hence, in this chapter we highlight social influence as an opportunity for promoting social adjustment, which can redirect negative trajectories and help adolescents thrive. We discuss influential models about the processes underlying social influence, with a particular emphasis on internalizing social norms, embedded in social learning and social identity theory. We link this behavioral work to developmental social neuroscience research, rooted in neurobiological models of decision making and social cognition. Work from this perspective suggests that the adolescent brain is highly malleable and particularly oriented toward the social world, which may account for heightened susceptibility to social influences during this developmental period. This chapter underscores the need to leverage social influences during adolescence, even beyond the family and peer context, to promote positive developmental outcomes. By further probing the underlying neural mechanisms as an additional layer to examining social influence on positive youth development, we will be able to gain traction on our understanding of this complex phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
EditorsJanette B. Benson
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)9780128151136
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
ISSN (Print)0065-2407


  • Adolescence
  • Brain development
  • Family
  • Peers
  • Positive adjustment
  • Social influence
  • fMRI


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