teen brain development decision making essay

risk-takers, and are more likely to take negative experiences less heavily and positive experiences more so than adults. Luna, the developmental cognitive neuroscientist, compares it to an artist who begins with a block of granite and carves away any unneeded stone to create a sculpture. It guides how we think and learn step-by-step procedures, such as tying our shoelaces. Whats the worst thing that could happen if I snuck out after curfew? It is now shown that several major functional and morphological changes take place in the brain during adolescence. (A structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce structural images of the brain useful for anatomical and morphometric studies, (B) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures myelination and directionality of fiber tracts between anatomical structures, and (C) functional MRI (fMRI) measures patterns of brain activity within.

In fact, there are distinctive developmental changes during the shift from childhood to adulthood that city street at night essay occurs in almost all individuals during the adolescence stage. Traditional neurobiological and cognitive explanations for adolescent behavior have failed to account for the nonlinear changes in behavior observed during adolescence, relative to both childhood and adulthood. When youre a kid, youd check with Mom. Significant evidence suggests that the neuroanatomical changes described above are also occurring during adolescence in humans, but our methods for studying humans only provide an approximate index of such changes. As a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, Luna studies those changes that occur in the brain as children develop into adults. Caseys research shows how the adolescent brain is locked in a tug-of-war between the logical pull of the prefrontal cortex and the impulsive pull of the ventral striatum. Differential recruitment of prefrontal and subcortical regions has been reported across a number of developmental fMRI studies ; ). Impulse control, as measured by cognitive control tasks like the go/no-go task, shows a linear pattern of development across childhood and adolescence, as described above. Further, fMRI studies have shown limbic subcortical activity positively correlates with suboptimal choice behaviors. As Crones volunteers look up, they see a mirror that reflects a computer screen on which they can play casino-like computer games.

This developmental pattern may be exacerbated in those adolescents prone to emotional reactivity, increasing the likelihood of poor outcomes. Its levels reduce during adolescence, leading to mood swings and difficulties in controlling emotions. This interpretation is consistent with previous research showing elevated subcortical, relative to cortical, activity when decisions are biased by immediate versus long-term gains. However, both children and adolescents showed a less mature response in prefrontal control regions than adults.