Science Looks at the Teen Brain

We all have our little rituals. This is one of mine.

On Sunday morning, I always read the Sunday supplements while I’m eating breakfast. Because most of the contents of USA WEEKEND and PARADE relate to faux famous people, many of whom I’ve never heard of, it’s been rather pointless the last few years.

Yesterday, though, PARADE had an interesting article called “Inside the Teenage Brain.” If you write for young adults, enjoy reading YA novels, or have a teenager of your very own, the article may be of interest to you. It focuses on recent scientific research proving that the teenage brain is still growing and changing, and simply doesn’t work the same way as an adult’s brain.

Apparently the prefrontal cortex is one of the last parts of the brain to develop, not maturing until the late 20’s. And scientists now believe that this area of the brain is responsible for such skills as organizing, strategizing, and controlling impulses. Not that these tasks are impossible for teens, but they may be more difficult than we previously realized. Check out the article if you’d like to learn more about this research.

This little tidbit was in USA WEEKEND. In the “Who’s News” section I learned that Sean Astin, one of the stars of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is making a movie of Number the Stars, Lois Lowry’s 1990 Newbery winner about the Nazi occupation of Denmark during WWII, and the rescue of Jewish Danes. It’s about time someone made a film version of this beautiful story. I hope it will be true to the book, which would be impossible to improve upon.

7 comments on “Science Looks at the Teen Brain

  1. Thanks for your comment, Cynthia. I guess it should come as no surprise that the teen brain is different from ours!

  2. My son turned 13 in August and he is such a teenager! Thankfully, I remember meeting at woman last year at jury duty “tryouts” who shared a book with me she had read on the same subject. While, I have not picked up the book (title is something like… Yes, Your Teenager IS Insane!) this article was helpful.

    Quick questions what is YA?

    Also, I illustrated a book, Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings: When someone you love has cancer… a helpful, hopeful book for kids,
    my cousin, Ellen McVicker wrote for me. Ellen lives in Aurora, CO.

    I plan on subscribing to your post to read more of your writings (and CONGRATULATIONS!)

  3. Hi Nancy,

    Wish I had a 13-year-old around for inspiration! YA is “young adult,” and I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows that. In answer to your question, I haven’t figured out the “feed” thing yet, but it’s on my list. When I visit your blog, I’ll leave a comment to let you know when I have!

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