If press coverage is anything to go by, the general public could be forgiven for thinking that young people have little, if anything, positive to offer wider society. You might even argue that the media portrays a stereotype of the current generation of adolescents as narcissistic, hedonistic and lazy.
In spite of these prevalent stereotypes, the reflections of young people themselves, and the teaching professionals working closely with them every day, suggest that adolescents’ motivation to contribute positively to their communities is not only reasonably high but, in fact, rising.
Research from neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatrists finds that the foundations for creative exploration (imagining how things could be, not simply accepting them for what they are) are generally lacking during the pre-teenage years. However, they combine powerfully with an increased drive for reward and propensity to take risks during adolescence.
Our research will explore the relationship between young people’s creative confidence and their likelihood to try to make a difference in their local community through avenues such as volunteering and social action.