10 simple rules for dating my teenage
This process of maturation, once thought to be largely finished by elementary school, continues throughout adolescence.
Turns out this product of my genes and loving care, the boy-man I had swaddled, coddled, cooed at, and then pushed and pulled to the brink of manhood, had been flying down the highway at 113 miles an hour. He didn't like it that one of the several citations he received was for reckless driving. These imaging tools offered a new way to ask the same question—What's wrong with these kids?These studies help explain why teens behave with such vexing inconsistency: beguiling at breakfast, disgusting at dinner; masterful on Monday, sleepwalking on Saturday.Along with lacking experience generally, they're still learning to use their brain's new networks.The slow and uneven developmental arc revealed by these imaging studies offers an alluringly pithy explanation for why teens may do stupid things like drive at 113 miles an hour, aggrieve their ancientry, and get people (or get gotten) with child: They act that way because their brains aren't done! This view, as titles from the explosion of scientific papers and popular articles about the "teen brain" put it, presents adolescents as "works in progress" whose "immature brains" lead some to question whether they are in a state "akin to mental retardation." The story you're reading right now, however, tells a different scientific tale about the teen brain.Over the past five years or so, even as the work-in-progress story spread into our culture, the discipline of adolescent brain studies learned to do some more-complex thinking of its own.Meanwhile, dendrites, the branchlike extensions that neurons use to receive signals from nearby axons, grow twiggier, and the most heavily used synapses—the little chemical junctures across which axons and dendrites pass notes—grow richer and stronger.
At the same time, synapses that see little use begin to wither.
To succeed, you must override both a normal impulse to attend to new information and curiosity about something forbidden. Ten-year-olds stink at it, failing about 45 percent of the time. In fact, by age 15 they can score as well as adults if they're motivated, resisting temptation about 70 to 80 percent of the time.
What Luna found most interesting, however, was not those scores.
The brain doesn't actually grow very much during this period.
It has already reached 90 percent of its full size by the time a person is six, and a thickening skull accounts for most head growth afterward.
And by age 20, their brains respond to this task much as the adults' do.