Fascinating article from Scientific American Mind about the development of the adolescent brain (in the US). "When teenagers perform certain tasks, their prefrontal cortex, which handles decision making, is working much harder than the same region in adults facing the same circumstances. The teen brain also makes less use of other regions that could help out. Under challenging conditions, adolescents may assess and react less efficiently than adults."
Not quite sure when the teen brain starts to better balance the decision-making load; "Full maturation of executive function occurs only as a completely integrated, collaborative brain system emerges, in the late teens and even in the early 20s, according to psychologists."
What are the implications for parents? For librarians serving YAs and college students?
Note that critics "say there is no such thing as a teen brain ... Adolescents in certain cultures are not racked with the turmoil off American teens, indicating that environment, not inherent brain development, may underlie troubled behavior."
The Teen Brain, Hard at Work // Under challenging conditions, adolescents may assess and react less efficiently than adults (entire issue available for $5)
Scientific American Mind, August 2006 (supposed to be in Academic Search Premier, but not yet there ...)