Adolescent Egocentrism Concept by David Elkind

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Adolescent egocentrism is a concept that has attracted diverse views among different people. David Elkind developed this idea based on the personal fable and imaginary audience components (Bell & Bromnick, 2003). He argued that adolescents experience mentally constructed anticipations about what others think and the way they react to them. Elkind insisted that teens’ beliefs in their feelings’ uniqueness represent a personal fable, which strengthens adolescents’ egocentrism. However, I disagree with Elkind’s argument on the implication of an imaginary audience in influencing adolescent egocentrism because social and environmental constructs seem to play the most significant role.

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It is irrational to attribute a teenager’s behavior and egocentrism to an imaginary audience. I believe that nurture versus nature explains the concept better than Elkind’s assumptions based on the grounded theory. Foremost, inherently-acquired qualities influence adolescents’ worries and thoughts owing to hormonal changes. On the other hand, agreeing with the environmentalism model, children adopt the personalities from their surroundings (Bell & Bromnick, 2003). This reasoning discredits the assertion of an imaginary audience because adolescents tend to imitate what they observe or hear. Indeed, the empirical evidence fails to support Elkind’s supposition because gender differences rely on social influence rather than on cognitive development. Besides, self-consciousness and imaginary audience appear to be synonymous notions. The former may not signify the latter but it results from a subjective weakness or low self-esteem. Consequently, Elkind’s measures were impractical compared to Bell and Bromnick’s study metrics due to their subjectivity and imprecision (Bell & Bromnick, 2003). Analysis of a wide range of factors, including appearance, family, friends, bullying, and future, among others, provides an explicit picture of primary social and personal realities.

Undeniably, Elkind’s argument on adolescent egocentrism seems irrational because it lacks empirical support on how an imaginary audience would be more powerful than real social and personal constructs. I am convinced that environmental settings and ethical values influence the way people perceive others, thus shaping young teens’ personalities and thoughts. Teenagers often want to meet the expectations of their “real” society and motivations because they fear bullies or the adverse consequences of disobedience. Therefore, Elkind’s approach needs to be revised to integrate the actual rather than imaginary audience’s role in shaping adolescent egocentrism.


Bell, J. H., & Bromnick, R. D. (2003). The social reality of the imaginary audience: A grounded theory approach. Adolescence, 38(150), 205-219. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Adolescent Egocentrism Concept by David Elkind'. 4 February.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Adolescent Egocentrism Concept by David Elkind." February 4, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Adolescent Egocentrism Concept by David Elkind." February 4, 2022.