The Psychological Underpinnings of Bieber Fever

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You're interested. Don't lie.

Why do 12-year-old girls like Justin Bieber?

Today, research suggests that girls are developing faster than ever before. They reach preadolescence faster than their male counterparts. Yet they're expected to act, think, and behave like a small child. It will be a few years before the boys catch up with them physically and emotionally.

Thus, they need an outlet.

Girls at this age are already thinking about what their ideal bodies might look like and processing their heightened fears and concerns about succeeding socially.

They're also striving to be liked by others. It's more important than ever.

"In adolescence, the extent to which you perceive you are liked by others is related to subsequent feelings about yourself more so than at any other time in development," adolescent researcher Mitch Prinstein says at Psychology Today.

Therefore, younger girls get a crush on Justin Bieber because it's a safe route to explore the feelings and thoughts that they don't know what to do with yet.

This, he argues, is why the music industry is, in part, most strongly dominated by the whims of preadolescent girls. Bieber equals profits. "[The music industry] is an 12 year old girl's world, and we all just live in it," Prinstein argues further.

It's the same reason why they like Twilight too. And why it's sold to them.

"Enter the [Justin Beiber]. Or any other male prototype of a young, not sexually threatening, highly popular object of affection. This icon can serve many important psychological functions for the tween girl.

She may develop romantic feelings directed toward him, but because he has the image of purity and gentleness, she does not need to imagine the pressure of assertive sexual advances she is not ready for. He sings about unconditional love and acceptance, devotion, and romance.

To the insecure tween girl who frets about her appearance, this is music to her ears. And as one of the most popular people on the planet, his acceptance translates to the highest sense of her own self worth." (Read on.)

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