Teenage dating age appropriate
But as we move through adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network and wiring upgrade.
For starters, the brain's axons—the long nerve fibers that neurons use to send signals to other neurons—become gradually more insulated with a fatty substance called myelin (the brain's white matter), eventually boosting the axons' transmission speed up to a hundred times.
You view a screen on which the red crosshairs at the center occasionally disappear just as a light flickers elsewhere on the screen.
Your instructions are to not look at the light and instead to look in the opposite direction. It's a tough assignment, since flickering lights naturally draw our attention.
"Well," I huffed, sensing an opportunity to finally yell at him, "what would you call it? " 'Reckless' sounds like you're not paying attention. I made a deliberate point of doing this on an empty stretch of dry interstate, in broad daylight, with good sight lines and no traffic. —and revealed an answer that surprised almost everyone.
Imaging work done since the 1990s shows that these physical changes move in a slow wave from the brain's rear to its front, from areas close to the brain stem that look after older and more behaviorally basic functions, such as vision, movement, and fundamental processing, to the evolutionarily newer and more complicated thinking areas up front.
This let the adults use a variety of brain resources and better resist temptation, while the teens used those areas less often and more readily gave in to the impulse to look at the flickering light—just as they're more likely to look away from the road to read a text message.
If offered an extra reward, however, teens showed they could push those executive regions to work harder, improving their scores.
Meanwhile, dendrites, the branchlike extensions that neurons use to receive signals from nearby axons, grow twiggier, and the most heavily used synapses—the little chemical junctures across which axons and dendrites pass notes—grow richer and stronger.
At the same time, synapses that see little use begin to wither.