Many explanations of young adolescent behavior are based on processes specific to young adolescents. This implies adults and other organisms do not exhibit behaviors exhibited by young adolescents. Based on Tolman's model of purposive behavior, young adolescents are argued to follow the same behavioral patterns as other beings. Young adolescents are argued to be hypersensitive to their social environment, as indicated by the imaginary audience, but based on a different rationale. Further, it is argued that adolescents may take great risks, but not due to false perceptions of invulnerability. Based on Tolman and Erikson's work, it is argued that individuals experience a state of disruption when faced with changing social reality and negative expectancy violations. Disruption is argued to lead to behaviors indicative of a "typical adolescent." The sample for this study includes 214 college students ages 18 to 21. College students were chosen as the sample to ensure if the hypotheses were supported, processes or events specific to young adolescence could not be the attributed cause. The respondents attended either a Southwestern University (n = 115) or a Northeastern College (n = 99). Results, obtained via cross-sectional survey, primarily support the proposed rationale and hypotheses. College-student respondents, overall, were significantly more likely to express a willingness to risk physical pain the greater their self-reported need to obtain the rewards associated with the risk. Respondents were also more sensitive to information depending on their desired goal-state and their level of satiation regarding their desired goal-state. Results also support the prediction that respondents would be lessable to separate others' concerns from their own when the topic of interest was of self-importance than when the issue was not. Other findings reveal individuals learn more about relevant than irrelevant information and that they exhibit greater stress and anxiety, and less self-esteem and stability of self when in a state of disruption. These findings argue a new approach be taken when interpreting adolescent behavior.