Brain growth is the process tracked through different ages. Some regions of human brain grow in childhood and later during the adolescent and adult years. The examination of the adolescent brain shows that prefrontal cortex, in particular, develops. Prefrontal cortex is the part of brain responsible for reasoning and impulse control. What earlier was alarming due to the parental experience, nowadays is backed by the scientific evidence – “adolescence is a time of roiling emotions” (Benes, 1998, p.1489).
Francine M. Benes, M.D., PH.D. provided a visual support of the progressive increase in the myelination of the superior medullary lamina (SML) in the parahippocampal gyrus on the example of six ages. The author implies that pure cognitive development is already shaped in midadolescence. However, the emotional element of cognition and behaviour extends to the adulthood. This results in anxiety, affection, and sociability in the discussed age. In addition, adolescence is the age when different genders have certain peculiarities. Female adolescents have higher language skills. Male representatives become more vulnerable that may result in psychopathology. Moreover, some studies establish the “correlation between a peak in aggression during adolescence in males and a peak in testosterone levels” (Sapolsky, 2005, p.43).
A film series The Secret Life of the Brain (2002) reveals the tricky facts about human body, brain, behaviour, cognition, etc (“The Secret Life of the Brain : Episode 3”). The third episode focuses on the teenage brain, which refers to adolescence. The bottom line of the message is that the given age shows the stage of development of brain that refers to a mature personality. The main clash of parents and society in relationships with adolescents is that they view the latter as children, while adolescents are more like mature adults. This raises several risks for teenagers and responsibilities for the “opposing” group. Apart from other threats, schizophrenia poses particular threats.
All sorts of misunderstandings and tension affect the personality and may result in multiple negative effects. Parents must establish trustworthy relationships and treat their adolescent children seriously. The society might reconsider the limits that restrict the free will of personalities with mature aspirations.
- Benes, F. M. (1998, November). Brain Development, VII: Human Brain Growth Spans Decades. American Journal of Psychiatry, 155(11), 1489-1489. doi:10.1176/ajp.155.11.1489
- Sapolsky, R. (2005). Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality 2nd Edition Part I [PDF]. The Teaching Company.
- The Secret Life of the Brain : Episode 3. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/episode3/index.html