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Social & Emotional Behaviour – teens

Adolescence – what is changing in the brain?

Adolescence is a time of great change. This includes pubertal changes including physical growth and emotional upheaval. In addition to this there have more recently been noted changes in the brain itself, specifically one area known as the prefrontal cortex has been seen to undergo major changes. The prefrontal cortex sits just behind the forehead. It has been called the “CEO of the brain”, and has a major role in controlling planning, working memory, organisation, and modulating mood and impulsivity. As the prefrontal cortex matures, it has been seen that teenagers are able to make more reasoned decisions and gain more control over their impulses. They are able to plan and determine their actions.

During teens the brain “prunes” some of the “ unused” neurones. However if the wrong ones are being used, such as those being stimulated by nicotine, alcohol or other drugs this could have major implications for the future working of the brain.

About the adolescent brain:

You tube: Jay Giedd interview :

Interview by Dr Richard Falzone :