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This book investigates the role of intelligence and emotion in the everyday life of teenagers. Author John Mitchell argues that the behavior of teens is shaped by both higher and lower expressions of their natural intelligence. In the absence of competent guidance from caring adults, the lower expressions frequently prevail, producing a downward turn in rationality and a reduced capacity for problem solving.

The emotional life of teens is confused by their alternating cravings for togetherness and selfishness. Mitchell advances the case that during the teen years all relationships are laced with an egocentric selfishness that impedes the adolescent's capacity for genuine intimacy and love. The emotional life of teens is made even more turbulent by the fact their behavior is sometimes guided by the higher and sometimes by the lower expressions of their intelligence.

Table of Contents


Section I: Intelligence and Counter Intelligence
1. The higher levels of adolescent thought
2. The self in adolescent thought
3. The fictional and the fantastic in the adolescent thinking process
4. Why adolescents don't argue fairly
5. Idea manipulation
6. Why adolescents don't think clearly

Section II: Selfishness and Togetherness
7. The natural selfishness of youth
8. Pathological selfishness
9. The rise of Narcissus in youth culture
10. Social survival
11. The search for intimacy
12. Echo love
13. Concluding remarks: The mental and emotional life of teens


John J. Mitchell

John J. Mitchell, PhD, is a retired professor of educational psychology at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He is acknowledged as one of Canada's leading authorities on child and adolescent development, having written 15 books on childhood, adolescence, and related topics.