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Brain Changes Could Explain Teen Behavior

Dr Sarah Blakemore, a neuroscientist at University College London (UCL) says that apart from hormonal changes certain brain changes also occur in teenagers that leads to their// typical behavior.

"What this brain imaging data … suggests is that it is just not hormones that are causing teenagers to be their typical selves it could also be the fact that their brains are developing as well," she said. Till now it was supposed that before puberty, the brain apparently switched off, but recent studies suggest that the brain keeps on growing regardless of age.

Blakemore and her team did functional MRI scans on teens as well as young adults who were asked to think about certain decisions like wanting to go to movies. "We know that kind of task involves the prefrontal cortex," Blakemore said. "It is as if the pattern of brain activity shifts from the back of the brain to the front of the brain during adolescence to do these kinds of empathy tasks." These findings were presented at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting.

In a second prospective study, her team studied 150 adolescents and asked them to analyze their feelings and how others would feel about it. "We found that that decision-making process became quicker with age. It suggests that the ability to take someone else's perspective is refined with age. It becomes more efficient," she said.

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