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Adolescent brains biologically wired to engage in risky behavior, study finds
Date:6/3/2010

ain is directly responsive to prediction errors.

Researchers measured so-called positive prediction error signals in the participants' brains as the participants discovered the results of their answers and the size of their rewards.

Teenagers showed the highest spikes in these prediction error signals, which likely means they had the largest dopamine response.

Dopamine is known to be important for the motivation to seek rewards. It follows, then, that the greater prediction error signals in the adolescent brain could result in increased motivation to acquire more positive outcomes, and therefore greater risk-taking.

Poldrack is confident future studies will further explore the biological reasons for stereotypical adolescent behavior. As to whether any study can absolve teens of blame for their antics, he said, "That's a question for the philosophers."


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Contact: Gary Susswein
susswein@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-4945
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

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