Are teen brains really different?

Are teen brains really different, or does it just seem like it?  We used to blame their behavior on hormones, but now we have evidence that teen brains really are different!

A study showed the differences in teenage vs. adult brains by using an fMRI scan (functional MRI).  The scans compared teenage brains to adult brains based on a series of questions and pictures.

The researchers found that teens responded using the part of the brain called the amygdala, which is a deep region of the brain that is associated more with “gut” or instinctual reactions.  This may explain the impulsive behavior seen in teens.  The adults used the frontal cortex of the brain, which uses reason and planning.   As teens got older, their thoughts shifted towards the front of the brain.

The frontal cortex is one of the last parts of the brain to fully develop, and we now know that it is not fully developed until the late 20s!

brain

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