Saturday, 26 June 2010

Teenage Brains Research

Amelia Hill writes in The Guardian about new research into teenage brains which has found that they're less developed than was previously thought. Teenagers may look like adults but their brain structure is similar to that of much younger children, and brains continue developing well into adulthood.

Dr Iroise Dumontheil of University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience puts it like this:"'It's not the fault of teenagers that they can't concentrate and are easily distracted. It's to do with the structure of their brains. Adolescents simply don't have the same mental capacities as an adult."

Teenagers have 'chaotic thought patterns', caused by an excess of grey matter (the cell bodies and connections that carry messages within the brain). Adults have less grey matter, and their brains work more effectively. Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who led the research, explains: "What our research has shown is that there is simply too much going on in the brains of adolescents ... The result is that their brain energy and resources are wasted and their decision-making process negatively affected."

Why teenagers can't concentrate: too much grey matter