Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by suboptimal decisions and actions that are associated with an increased incidence of unintentional injuries, violence, substance abuse, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. Traditional neurobiological and cognitive explanations for adolescent behavior have failed to account for the nonlinear changes in behavior observed during adolescence, relative to both childhood and adulthood. This review provides a biologically plausible model of the neural mechanisms underlying these nonlinear changes in behavior.
Your teenage daughter gets top marks in school, captains the debate team, and volunteers at a shelter for homeless people. But while driving the family car, she text-messages her best friend and rear-ends another vehicle. How can teens be so clever, accomplished, and responsible—and reckless at the same time?
The brain develops very rapidly in the first years of life, and all the structure and building blocks are present by the age of 9. The different centres of the brain develop and become functionally connected over time. The last part to mature is the pre frontal lobe.
Many parents do not understand why their teenagers occasionally behave in an impulsive, irrational, or dangerous way. At times, it seems like teens don't think things through or fully consider the consequences of their actions. Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decisions. There is a biological explanation for this difference.
Perhaps, she and her colleagues thought, the reward-sensitivity has something to do with how they learn. Specifically, she discovered, teens are great at learning because of the nifty way their brains thread together memory-formation processes that are separate once you get out of your teen years. Players were presented with butterflies of different colors, and they had to figure out which flower the butterflies liked and predict their behavior.
But do you know why they say that? Because of scientific studies like this one by Dr. Your neurons are still developing, and connections between different parts of your brain are still forming.
Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. When I was studying for my PhD at the University of California at BerkeleyI spent an awful lot of my weekends asking teenagers to lie still in a magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanner. While they were lying as still as they could they also had to answer questions they saw on the screen.
The principal, guidance counselor, and teachers had been so good to my kids and really helped me get them through a few chaotic teenage years, so I wanted to give something back. An idea that began as a single lecture turned into a two-day symposium with sessions for teachers, parents, and kids. Two friends and colleagues filled out the roster of speakers: David Urion, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School who also treats children with cognitive impairments, including autism and learning disabilities; and Maryanne Wolf, the director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University. David is a neurologist and an expert in ADHD and, among other things, has spent a lot of time trying to understand the effect of learning disabilities on children and adolescents.
The teen brain is sensitive to positive feedback. These mental high-fives might help them learn some tasks faster and better than adults. Teens can get a bad rap for their behavior.
Parents often blame such erratic temperament on surging adolescent hormones, but it turns out that the brain has something to do with it, too. Silvia Bunge, assistant professor of psychology, tells about her research team's work, showing that adolescent minds haven't yet developed the same reasoning abilities as adults, and her hopes that this research can improve education methods, as well as the legal system. Neuroscience research has shown that while teenagers' feet may be done growing by the end of high school, their brains are not.