The Teen’s Brain

Today’s teenagers have been stereotyped as adventurous and harebrained individuals.  They are generally fond of experimenting with things until they get in touch with drugs, sex, guns, alcohol among others. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, 16,000 young adults die each year from unintentional injuries and accidents.  The most common justification for teenagers’ care-free attitude is that their brains just aren’t developed enough to know better. However, recent research shows that in some cases the fact is just the opposite, the brain matures not too slowly but perhaps, too quickly.

According to a psychiatrist, an adolescent who engages in more dangerous activities have white-matter pathways that seem to be more mature than those of risk-averse youths.  White-matter is the brain’s wiring, the neutral pathways that connect the various gray-matter regions of the cerebrum that are independent of one another.  Having a mature white-matter is necessary because it allows faster brain processing speed.  Nerve impulses also travel faster in mature white-matter. Experiments also reveal that the more mature the look of the brain, the more adventurous the teenager tended to be.

Another possible explanation is that some teenagers whose brains develop more rapidly than others become uncomfortable and a little confused owing to the gap between their biological capabilities and the social norms they must follow as kids. Precocious development of these neural tracts may make some adolescents more susceptible to engage in behaviors that society considers too adult in nature for their chronological age. It is also a common notion that teens make dumb decisions because their brains are immature. In other words, having a more mature brain may actually motivate some teens to try out new and potentially harmful experiences.

For now, these theories are mere speculation, and the researchers concede that the interaction of white and gray matter is so complex that hard conclusions remain elusive. The results of the study are relatively bare and by no means conclusive. The human brain is so intricate in nature, and one has to consider the fact that there are other factors that come into play such as the environment and certain genetic predispositions that are equally complex to study.

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