Why teenage behaviour can be so extreme

Posted on September 23, 2014

Photo: flickr

A new study published in the journal, Psychological Science, concludes that the minds of teenagers are much more sensitive to rewards than adults and they find it hard to adjust their behaviour when situations change.

Teenagers are generally known to make poor, impulsive, risky decisions, which most adults immediately know are wrong. Psychologists have generally believed that this is down to under-development in the brain’s ‘self-control centres': the frontal lobes.

The new research, though, suggests that it stems from a more fundamental process: the way rewards are processed in the brain. The rewards have a strong, perceptional draw and are more enticing to the teenager. Even when a behavior is no longer in a teenager’s best interest to continue, they will because the effect of the reward is still there and lasts much longer in adolescents than in adults.

Researchers warned that the disproportionate attention teenagers pay to rewards may make them particularly vulnerable to the allure of modern technology and may help explain teenage obsessions with texting and video games which can seem out of all proportion to the rewards they are receiving.

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Category(s):Teenage Issues

Source material from PSY Blog