Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Do Peers Make Teens Stupid?

posted by Linda Mintle

Why do teens do things with their friends that they would never do by themselves?

A part of the answer might have to do with the developing brain of a teen. Specifically, adolescents are wired in ways that lend to risk taking when in the presence of their friends.

Researchers at Temple University tested the brains of adults and teens by attaching them to brain scan machines while simulating a driving game. What they found was that when teens were not observed by friends, they drove basically the same as the adults in the study. However, when teens had friends observing them, something interesting happened. A part of the brain associated with reward lit up and the teens took more risks. They had more crashes and reckless driving behavior.

This study lends credence to the idea of teens doing stupid things together that they would not do alone. The psychologist who ran the experiment, Laurence Steinberg, a national expert on adolescent development, thinks this finding may be applied to other areas of teen life like bullying. Maybe, the peer approval and possible social advancement associated with bullying is enough to light up the reward centers in the brains of teens who bully. He suggests that the short-term pleasure of the moment with peers may override judgement. This also means that giving teens more information on bullying or any other negative behavior is not going to prevent much. In these cases, knowledge is not power. It takes maturation to make good decisions.

Instead, it would be better to limit opportunities for immature judgement that could harm others. For example, I didn’t allow my teens to drive with other teens in the car when they first started driving. I limited the opportunity, knowing that the risk taking increases when other teens are present. In the case of bullying, working on the peer group to approach bullying as a negative and not a peer enhancing activity would change the context. When teens come together to advance kindness and empathy, we may have an effective strategy. And those values are usually taught at home.

 

Source: Steinberg, L. (2007). Risk-taking in adolescence: New perspectives from brain and behavioral science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), pp. 55-59.



  • http://christianlouboutinnewa.10001mb.com rouraNimi

    It is challenging to acquire knowledgeable individuals on this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    [url=http://coolchristianlouboutina.2kool4u.net]christian louboutin for women[/url]

Previous Posts

Fatal Attraction: What You Found Attractive May Now Bother You
When John dated Katie, he was attracted to how book smart she was and how much she loved to learn new things. He is the first to tell you, he's not cut out for academics and loves to play instead of learn. As someone who needed to play more, Katie was attracted to John's outgoing and fun personality

posted 6:00:02am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Would You Rather Be Shocked Than Bored?
I can remember so many times when my kids would say to me, "I'm bored!" And they didn't like my response, "That's a good thing. Maybe you can listen to your thoughts or think creatively." Truth is, most of us don't like to be bored. At least not in this wired age. Our typical boredom trainers are

posted 6:00:54am Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Kardashian Catwalk Controversy: A Little Sibling Rivalry?
Think drama! NO, think mindless drama. Now who comes to mind? The Kardashians of course. If there is a way to keep their names in the news, they find it. And so it goes with the latest "controversy." Apparently, 18- year- old Kendall Jenner banned sister Kim Kardashian from attending her fashi

posted 7:55:46am Sep. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Lifestyle Changes Now May Prevent Alzheimer's Later
I remember when my grandmother began to have memory loss in her early 80s. It was hard to watch because she knew she was losing it. Eventually, Alzheimer's took its hold on her mind and she ended up in a nursing home not knowing who we were. If you, like me, have a family member who suffers with

posted 6:00:32am Sep. 24, 2014 | read full post »

What is Bipolar Depression?
When academy award winning actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones announced that she suffered from Bipolar II Disorder and checked into a mental health facility for a brief stay in 2011, it made celebrity news. People wondered. What is Bipolar Disorder and how does that differ from depression? The Nat

posted 6:00:15am Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.