The Adolescent Brain

This month, National Geographic highlights what we already know about teenagers: they make poor decisions, are experiencing severe shifts in hormones, struggle with self-control, and struggle through the growing pains of becoming an adult. At least, this is what I have heard from others – I personally never made poor decisions as a teenager or suffered with self-image and esteem.

While most researchers have asserted that very little brain development occurs in teenage years (as the brain does not tend to get much larger and the hardened skull develops). However, new research suggests that during adolescence and until 25 years of age, the human brain experiences massive reorganization and development – a process not dependent (entirely) on size. The process of development can cause some instability, primarily manifest during adolescence.

These studies help explain why teens behave with such vexing inconsistency: beguiling at breakfast, disgusting at dinner; masterful on Monday, sleepwalking on Saturday. Along with lacking experience generally, they’re still learning to use their brain’s new networks. Stress, fatigue, or challenges can cause a misfire.

To read more about this study, see the article in National Geographic.

2 thoughts on “The Adolescent Brain

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Relative to teens, this information is consistent with what I have previously read, although it doesn’t resolve the question of nature vs. nurture. In other words, to what extend do experiences and relationships affect the kind of personality that finally develops in the late 20’s? From what I have read of identical-twin studies, I’m guessing not very much. Who we become is in our genes.

  2. Pingback: Old Dog, New Tricks | Still Skeptical After All These Years

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