The Teenage Brain: Spock Vs. Captain Kirk

Craig Gastauer

Craig Gastauer is currently Internal Director of Pedagogy at Vista High School in Vista, CA. He is proud to be working with great teachers and students to create a more learner-centered public high school experience.

teenage brainA teen’s body grows through radical changes during puberty. What parents do not notice are the complex but vital changes that are taking place in the brain. Ever wonder what’s going on in a teenager’s head?

This story from nprED takes us into a closer look at how a teenager’s brain responds to decisions and influences. It discussed that, while a teenagers always gets a bad reputation for making impulsive behavior, they actually know the right decision from the beginning. But when their peers are present, things get a little different.

Temple University psychology professor Laurence Steinberg ran an experiment with students, putting them in front of decisions alone and then in front of a crowd of their peers.

“This doubles the number of chances that adolescents take,” Steinberg told nprEd, “but has no effect on the number of chances adults take.”

“In short, an adolescent’s weakness is other adolescents,” writes Corey Turner of nprEd. “And we’re not just talking about peer pressure. The mere presence of peers makes them less cautious.”

Is there an answer to this problem?



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