Identity is that which makes an individual who he is. It gives one a sense of belonging and being. Berk et al (2009) argue that it is among the various stages of life that one has to go through in the cycle of development. There are several factors which lead to the development of this sense of identity. Culture and cognition are among them.
According to Berk et al (2009), culture is the society’s way of doing things. Since man is a social creature, he has to belong in a given society. At the adolescent stage, the individual seeks to have that sense of belonging. As such, they tend to identify with the culture of the community in which they belong. They tend to do things that are approved by their culture. For instance, the boys tend to take the roles defined for men in the society while the girls tend to take up the women’s roles. This is a way of identifying themselves with their culture.
Cognition is the way of thinking or the pool of intelligence. Again, adolescents are known to be well aware of this. They seek to experiment on new things and learn more about life. As they explore, they tend to follow what they already know; the intelligence gained from their environment, life’s experiences and so on. Berk et al (2009) indicate that this way of thinking is greatly influential for personal identity for the adolescents. This is the reason as to why youths from a given environment, region or countries tend to act differently from those in another. Their experiences are different and they are exposed differently. As such, they tend to have different forms of identity. Based on the above arguments, it is clear that culture and cognition have a great role in determining the identity of youth; it helps them in being conscious of who they actually are.
Berk, E.L. et al. (2009). Study Guide with Practice Tests for Development through the Lifespan. New York, NY: Pearson Publishers.