Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The teen brain … under construction

EastBayRi.com (East Bay, RI) February 14, 2011

"Most would agree that unraveling the adolescent mind is not an easy thing to do. I clearly remember asking my own teenagers 'What were you thinking?' after one of them was caught in a risky behavior. Research conducted on more than 10,000 youths from across the country regarding such things as smoking, use of alcohol and/or drugs, or practicing unsafe sex found that one of the biggest reasons teens are so hard to figure out is because there is an impulsive element to their behavior.
As I looked further into the research I found multiple studies that were done over the last 10 or 12 years designed specifically to ask questions about what’s going through their heads, or what’s not going through their heads as they’re making these decisions and what’s not going through their heads is a big part of the story. What appears to be most interesting in the reams of research collected is that researchers have demonstrated that quite a bit of adolescent decision-making is not reasoned on – on any level. Often teens just go with the moment, they really don’t plan or even make a conscious decision, they get caught up in the crowd and just do it.
From a kid’s perspective, if you’re operating in a more reasoned, thoughtful mode – then you have the proverbial devil and the angel over your shoulder. If you’re operating in the more impulsive mode, you don’t even know the angel is there. Those things are not in your mind at all, and the devil’s only saying, 'This could be interesting.'" Read More

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