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Teen Brain Development
Many parents tend to believe that the changes affecting their teenagers are due to hormones, but that might not be the case. Below you will find studies and articles that link the actions of teens to their still-developing brains.




The Journal of Neuroscience, February 25, 2004, 24(8):1793-1802, 2/25/2004
Adolescent Brains Show Reduced Reward Anticipation
Why are teens more likely to engage in high-risk behavior? This study shows that teen brains are less developed in the areas that motivate behavior to obtain rewards making it more difficult for teenagers to achieve long term goals. Understanding how adolescent brains respond to motivational factors will be critical for shaping prevention messages that deter unhealthy or dangerous behaviors. Read the study.
Authors: James M. Bjork, Brian Knutson, Grace W. Fong, Daniel M. Caggiano, Shannon M. Bennett, and Daniel W. Hommer


The Washington Post, 6/3/2001
Are Teens Just Wired That Way?
Neuroscientist Jay Giedd noticed that teen brains appeared to change in unexpected ways as the youths matured through adolescence. Giedd realized that the most dramatic shifts around puberty occurred in the front of the brain, in an area believed crucial for advanced mental functions such as reasoning, making judgments and self-control.


U.S. News and World Report, 8/9/1999
Inside The Teen Brain: Young Minds Are Still Taking Shape
This article provides reasons why the brain and other chemical changes in the brain are responsible for the sudden changes in a teenager's behavior from not wanting to go to school, playing loud music, and not listening to parents.


Washington Post, 3/8/2000
Key Brain Growth Goes on Into Teens
Scientists have discovered that the brain undergoes surprisingly dramatic anatomical changes between the ages of 3 and 15. A research team reports the amount of gray matter in some areas can nearly double within as little as a year, followed by a loss of unneeded cells as the brain continues to organize itself.


Columbia University's Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Positive Action for Teen Health (PATH)/TeenScreen
PATH is working to close the gap between the promise of science and the unacceptably high rates of adolescent depression and suicide. Their goal is to ensure that every American teen receives a mental health check-up before graduating from high school, such as the TeenScreen® Program.


U.S. News and World Report, 8/9/1999
Teens and Adults Don't Always See The Same Signals
Teens and adults truly do not think alike. This article shows that when adults and teens are shown pictures of fearful faces, the adults correctly guessed the emotion, whereas at least some of the teens guessed wrong once.


familyeducation.com
Your Teen's Brain: It Really Is Different!
This article shows that teens and adults do not think alike because a teen's brain does not have the capability to do so. This is caused by the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain that controls how teens make rational decisions.


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Please note: Common Sense and its endorsing organizations do not necessarily endorse all content stemming from the links provided in this page. All resources in these web pages are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Advice and opinions on mental health and other medical issues should be obtained through consultation with a licensed and trained professional.


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