The teen brain is a marvel of smarts. It’s just not all filled in (yet).
By Elizabeth Cooney, Boston Globe-- June 28, 2010
"... Smart kids doing stupid things: It’s the teen brain paradox. Extraordinarily quick to learn and rapidly reaching fluency in abstract thought, teens still make bonehead decisions, perhaps more so when routines relax in summer. But that’s because they’re operating with brains that are still a work in progress.
Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain takes the longest to develop. Frontal lobes — the seat of judgment — are the last pieces to be fully connected to the parts of the brain that sense danger or solve calculus problems. A growing body of neuroscientific evidence places full brain maturity at about age 25, well past the point when young people begin to drive, drink, vote, or go off to war.
“We all know what the frontal lobe does,’’ said Dr. Frances Jensen, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston. “It’s insight, judgment, inhibition, self-awareness, cause and effect, acknowledgment of cause and effect. And big surprise: It’s not done in your teen years. Hence [teens’] impulsiveness, their unpredictable behavior, their lack of ability to acknowledge and see cause and effect, despite the fact they are getting 800s on their SATs and can be cognitively highly functional and memorize at a much more impressive rate than we as adults do later.’’..."
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