Did you know that big and important changes are happening in the brain during adolescence? Here are 7 things to know about the teen brain:. For girls, the brain reaches its biggest size around 11 years old. For boys, the brain reaches its biggest size around age But this difference does not mean either boys or girls are smarter than one another! Though the brain may be done growing in size, it does not finish developing and maturing until the mid- to late 20s.
Why Teens Are More Prone to Addiction, Mental Illness | Live Science
According to the CDC, more than 60 percent of teens have tried alcohol, more than 35 percent have used marijuana, and more than 14 percent have misused prescription drugs. While some experimentation among teens is inevitable, it is not inconsequential. Most teens who experiment with drugs and alcohol will not develop a substance use issue, but early use is a significant risk factor for developing an addiction. One advantage teens have over adults is that they learn more quickly. The human brain learns most quickly during early childhood.
By comparing the brain's response to a food reward in adult and teen rats, researchers have pinpointed some differences that might explain why adolescents take more risks and are more prone to addiction, depression and schizophrenia. Somehow they perceive and react to a situation differently. The study was performed in rats, but teenagers throughout the animal kingdom show the same risk-taking and impulsive behaviors as human teens, so the results are likely to be applicable in humans too, the researchers said.
The prestigious prize recognized their courage in speaking up against the established order — something teenagers are remarkably good at. Unfortunately, we often read negative reports about the behavior of teenagers, for example about binge drinking, reckless driving, disengagement from school, and even delinquency. Over the past decade, neuroscientific research has provided important insights into neurocognitive development during adolescence, helping us to understand the fickle behavior of teenagers. Researchers initially believed that adolescent brain development was associated mainly with impulsivity and risk-taking. The areas of the brain that are responsible for impulse control and other executive functions, such as efficient planning, are still developing until a person reaches at least the age of