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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 7, 2016
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Lazy, Selfish, Worse than Ever? Scholar discusses youth generation for Hunsberger lecture

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jan 14/13| For Immediate Release


Michael W. Pratt, Professor
Department of Psychology
519-884-0710 ext. 2824 or


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
519-884-0710 ext. 3070 or

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University will welcome developmental psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett as this year’s Hunsberger Memorial Lecturer. Arnett will deliver his lecture, titled “Lazy, Selfish, Worse than Ever?: Truth vs. Lies About Young North Americans,” on Friday, Jan. 25, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Science Building, room N1001 at Laurier’s Waterloo campus. A reception will follow in room N2005.

Many researchers and journalists have focused on the supposedly deplorable state of the rising generation of young people, who are “lazy,” “selfish” and “worse than ever.” Furthermore, it is often said that today’s youth wish to avoid adulthood at all costs and remain “perpetual adolescents.” Are these negative stereotypes actually true? Arnett presents a critical analysis of these claims, drawing from a wide body of research, including his own. According to Arnett, these negative stereotypes are not only false, but also the complete opposite of what the research evidence shows. In truth, today’s emerging adults are remarkably hardworking and generous, and their behavior is better in multiple ways than their counterparts’ behavior decades ago.

Arnett is a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Massachusetts, and is author of several widely used textbooks in adolescent psychology. He is the author of Emerging Adulthood and co-author of When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up?

Laurier’s annual Hunsberger Memorial Lecture was created in honour of Bruce Hunsberger, a Laurier professor of psychology from 1974 to 2003. Hunsberger served as the chair of the department for many years and was an influential scholar in the psychology of religion, prejudice and applied social psychology. He was also a recipient of the William James Award from the American Psychological Association.


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