Neuroscience and brain physiology are growing areas of interest in psychology. The brain is one area that does not stop developing; we continue to experience change with significant adjustments during adolescence. As Chapter 4 discusses, the prefrontal cortex continues to develop during emerging adulthood and is linked to risk-taking behavior during adolescence. For this assignment, I would like you to think more about the complex development of the brain and observable behavior during adolescence.
Answer the following questions:
Read the attached National Geographic article, Beautiful Brains, by Dobbs (2011). The article presents recent neurological research and provides further explanation of adolescent brain development. I strongly recommend to review the Inside the Teenage Brain video provided in the Video Links section.
At some point in time as an adolescent, you likely made a poor decision. Or, maybe you have an adolescent at home who has poor decision-making skills. It seems like teens just do not plan or understand the risks of their behavior, like how incredibly dangerous it is to read/write texts while driving. Steinberg and Casey, however, offer an alternative view. Explain their view of teens decision-making capabilities and reasoning. Address their research evidence to support their claims as well as course material on brain structure and functioning. How does their conclusion fit with your own experience of being an adolescent?
Teens are known for making broad, dramatic statements like, Nobody came to my party. My life is over. Those of us who have made it through to adulthood are tempted to tell the teen that he/she is making a mountain out of a molehill it cannot be that bad. But why does the Dobbs reason that social connections and rejections may in fact be more important for a teen? Make a connection to course material on brain structure and functioning. Address why you agree or disagree with this viewpoint.
It seems maladaptive to have the prefrontal cortex develop later after all, we might be able to avoid the high driving accident rates in the 15-25 age group if that part of the brain completed development earlier. Why is it adaptive to delay prefrontal cortex development until the 20s? Address the brain development process that contributes to the delay. Use application of teen life to support your answer.
Considering legal and societal implications related to adolescent brain development, the law in many respects penalizes teens for behaviors that are not penalized for those over the age of 18 or 21. For instance, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana laws target teens, as do certain driving laws. Address your view of keeping the laws as they exist or for laws changing based on age. Provide specific support for your position on these laws.
Parents of teens may be both encouraged and discouraged to read this article. It puts adolescent brain development in a more positive light, but it does not change the way the brain develops teens will still make poor decisions as they progress toward independence from their parents/families. Describe advice that you would give to parents to help them understand their adolescents brain development while also supporting their teens interest for exploration and risk. Consider the environmental influences that may interact with brain development.
When answering the questions, use complete sentences. Please number your responses based on the questions above.
Your paper should be approximately 2-3 pages.
Use complete sentences. Always use spelling and grammar check.
Citing original authors is required when you are using someone elses idea (Example: Santrock et al., 2020). Paraphrase in your own words when using other authors ideas. Do not use quotes.