Developing Brain Is Source of Stability and Instability in Adolescence
[Source: Science Daily.com]
Scientists are presenting new research on how the brain develops during the dynamic and vulnerable transition period from childhood to adulthood. The findings underscore the uniqueness of adolescence, revealing factors that may influence depression, decision-making, learning, and social relationships.
The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
The brain’s “reward system,” those brain circuits and structures that mediate the experience and pursuit of pleasure, figured prominently in several studies. The studies shed light on adolescents’ ability to control impulsivity and think through problems; reveal physical changes in the “social brain;” document connections between early home life and brain function in adolescence; and examine the impact of diet on depressive-like behavior in rodents.
Today’s new findings show that:
- Adolescents can throw impulsivity out the window when big rewards are at stake. The bigger the reward, the more thoughtful they can be, calling on important brain regions to gather and weigh evidence, and make decisions that maximize gains (BJ Casey, PhD, abstract 128.04).
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