Inside the Adolescent Brain
I love brain research. That may seem an odd thing to say, but I find recent advances in brain imaging and what it reveals about our brains fascinating.
I also love brain research because I’m a parent, and one of the interesting things that brain imaging and research has revealed is how much longer the brain takes to develop than we’d imagined. In particular, the prefrontal cortex – the place where decision making lies – develops far more slowly than we’d thought in general and develops even more slowly in boys than girls in particular. Which helps to explain a lot about the behavior of our adolescent children!
I was first introduced to brain research along these lines when a friend recommended a book that I now highly recommend to any one raising or working with teens called WHY Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen. I’ve read several books by the principal author, David Walsh, and found then all fantastic.
In this week’s TEDTalk, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore moves in a similar direction as she shares some of the fascinating highlights of brain research and the insight this gives us into the behavior of adolescents. But Blakemore, who studies the social brain, doesn’t only help you understand teenagers; she also helps you understand yourself, emphasizing that all of us have the capacity to keep learning, keep adapting, and keep moving forward throughout our lives. Enjoy!
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