Research On Adolescent Brain Development Essay

623 words - 2 pages

Adolescence is a time when many teenagers are struggling to determine where they fit in the world. No longer a child, but not yet an adult, issues surrounding the decisions and rights of adolescents prove to be a difficult subject to tackle. Adolescents are gradually awarded various privileges such as the right to drive, smoke, and drink, meaning there is no clear defining moment when an adolescent is fully considered an adult. Because of this, research on adolescent brain development should be heavily considered when resolving issues surrounding the well being of adolescents.
One major change to the brain during adolescence is that which affects an adolescents’ need for sensation seeking. Because of the changes in dopaminergic activity, rewards may seem even more rewarding to adolescents (Steinberg, 2009). This mixed with the idea of the personal fable can result in dangerous outcomes for the individual (Steinberg, 2011, p. 62). The addition of peers to a vehicle while driving significantly increases the risk of an automobile accident. Considering this along with the research regarding brain development and risk activity, the age at which an adolescent can get their drivers license should be raised. Figure 2.7 in Adolescence shows that between the ages of seventeen and nineteen, the number of crashes with three passengers in the car drops considerably (Steinberg, 2011, p. 85). If something as simple as raising the driving age can keep adolescents safer, then why, other than for the convenience of parents, has the driving age not been raised?
Another change in brain structure revolves around the connectivity between regions in the brain that are important for the regulation of emotion. Because these changes continue into late adolescence, adolescents have a harder time coordinating emotion and cognition, making them seem more emotional than adults (Steinberg, 2009). This, along with the previous points made about changes in adolescents brain structures, should be...

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