Is The Human Brain Undergoes Its Most Crucial Stage Of Development During Adolescence?

Is The Human Brain Undergoes Its Most Crucial Stage Of Development During Adolescence?

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The human brain undergoes its most crucial stage of development during adolescence which places it in a very vulnerable position. There are two types of tissues that the brain is composed of: grey matter and white matter. Grey matter serves as the foundation of the brain, for it is comprised of neurons which are responsible for processing information. White matter, on the other hand, refers to the wiring between brain cells which is in charge of circulating this information across the brain. Through further examination of these tissues, neurologists have discovered that the composition of a teenager’s brain is vastly different in comparison to their adult counterpart. Studies show that while the development of grey matter is complete by the age of six, white matter continues to develop well into one’s twenties. By the age of eighteen, only 80% of this wiring is complete. Specifically, it is the prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain which controls judgment and social cognition that is the last to obtain these white matter connections. In addition to having an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, teens are also undergoing myelination, a process which coats the neural strands that form white matter with myelin. This protective fatty substance acts as a form of insulation which accelerates the rate at which information is transferred; however, since white matter is still developing at this stage, insulation is incomplete as well, resulting in slower transmissions of brain signals in adolescents. Ultimately, due to the highly impressionable state of the brain throughout adolescence, teenagers are more influenced by addiction, social deviance, and gender roles than other age groups.
Teenagers are more prone to falling victim to addic...


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...gers who associate themselves with delinquents are more prone to becoming deviants as well. Their minds are more susceptible, so they learn that deviant behaviour is acceptable. To counteract the poor decision making skills young people have, there is a separate judicial system designed just for them. Juvenile court ensures that children and adolescents who commit crimes will have less severe punishments and are treated differently than an adult who commits the same crime. This is because the mind of an adult operates differently than one of a teen. They are more acutely aware of the repercussions of their actions and think things through more thoroughly before acting. Despite the offenses that reckless youth may commit, they have a greater capacity for change and can still become responsible adults in the future as they become less impetuous as their brains mature.

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