Teenage Brain Term Paper

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Cleve Harrison
PYSCH 1030
Guerin
9 March 2013
Inside the Teenage Brain
Every human being on the face of the earth went through those fun, party filled teenaged years. During this time most everyone experienced mostly the same awkward moments. The time when teens feel they know everything, and are an adult. How is this explained and how does brain development explain how and what we learn? In a PBS documentary “Inside the Teenage Brain” by Sarah Sparks this is explained in a great amount of information.

Did you know that during the teenage years, this is when the most development occurs? People often wonder why it seems like their teens have been invaded by another body or why their baby suddenly wants to be separate from them. A study done by Dr. Jay Giedd who ran a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) on his own son shows some of the difference. An MRI is a magnetic field used to excite the atoms in the body and the energy emitted by these atoms is used to construct a computer-generated picture of the brain. (Pastorino) The MRI was used to show stages of the brain over time from early childhood into the teen years and comparing that with images from an adult brain to show what the differences were.

One of the biggest finds in the brain development of the teenage years was the fact that that frontal cortex of the brain takes on the image of a babies brain right before a child turns to their teenage years. This sort of “growth spurt” is responsible for a wave of over-thinking mainly due to the level of thickness in the gray matter or thinking part of the brain. (Sparks) As humans age the gray matter thickens and the executive part of the brain is formed during the teenage years. This is due to the neural connections in the frontal cortex of the brain as they are larger in a teen’s brain than in the normal adult. This also is where the stages of pruning begin. This gives the brain shape for future strengths of what is learned. For example if...
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