DEC 11, 2017 7:54 AM PST

The Teen Brain: It Gets Better


Teenagers can be challenging to be around. Hormones, attitude and all the drama can make it a hard part of life. Most of that is due to brain development. While 18 is the age of legal adulthood, the brain isn't fully developed until about age 25. The limbic system, which is all about immediate gratification, pleasure, and impulse develops sooner than the pre-frontal cortex which is where logic and long-term planning comes in. The striatum is another part of the brain that is very active in adolescence. It's where rewards are processed, and teens love rewards because the striatum is highly engaged when they feel rewarded. It's also where risk-taking happens. Teens will risk much more than adults if they think a reward is involved.

From an evolutionary angle, this risk and reward are what works in the animal kingdom. Going away from the safe family, and into the unknown is necessary for animals, and in humans, the same urges are hardwired into the brain's development, but the choices available for teens are not just maturity and new places. Drug use, risky behavior, and other negatives are often in the environment of teens, and it's hard for them to resist. So, be patient, teens will eventually catch up, they won't be like this forever. In the meantime try to encourage risks like taking a class they wouldn't usually think of, or joining a new activity.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 16, 2019
Here's What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Orbiting the Sun
The Earth orbits the Sun once every 365 days, or one full year. It does this while whizzing through the vacuum of space at break-neck speeds of up to 110,0...
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
This is Why You Shouldn't Mess With Beached Whales
When large whales die, one of two things can happen: 1) their bodies can sink to the bottom of the ocean and go on to support smaller life forms; or 2) the...
JAN 15, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 15, 2020
2019 Was The Second Warmest Year on Record
Independent analyses from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that 2019 was the second warmest year on recor...
JAN 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 21, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX Blew Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in Mid-Air
SpaceX completed a substantial milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program this week, an undertaking that involved one of the commercial space compa...
FEB 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 02, 2020
These Fish Beach Themselves When it Comes Time to Mate
Most fish probably cringe at the idea of beaching themselves on purpose, especially since they can’t breathe out of water. But this is something that...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made up the American Space Agency’...
Loading Comments...