Insight into the Teenage Brain and The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain

The adolescent stage has been found to be a period in human development that is marked by rapid and greatest development (Fuhrmann, Knoll & Blakemore, 2015). Other than secondary sex characteristics or the physical signs that shows maturity, the most important aspect of growth during the adolescence occurs in the brain. According to (Boyd & Bee, 2014) adolescent brain development is nearly complete and is as developed as 95% of that of an adult. The video clips “Insight into the Teenage Brain” and “The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain” provides important neuroscientific explanations of development of teenage brain during adolescence.

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            Although I found the two video clips to be very informative and reinforcing of the content learned about adolescent, there are some aspects that were surprising. One aspect that I found to be so surprising was the development of reward system among the adolescents. In the video clip “Insight into the Teenage Brain” I was surprised to find out that functional MRI on adolescent brain found that the teenage groups have exaggerated sensitivity to rewards (Galván, 2013). When it was compared to the sensitivity of the adults, the teenagers showed high magnitude of activation towards sugar. The other aspect that was found to be surprising was when I watched “The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain”.  I was surprised to find out that though the prefrontal cortex is so active during the adolescence there is decrease in social cognition tasks during this developmental stage.  

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            The early studies done over thirty years ago considered human brain to be fixed and immutable after its final development in childhood. However, the developments in the last decades have allowed neuroscientists to study the brain through imaging processes (Choudhury, 2010). This has led to a breakthrough in the study of the development of brain. One way in which the neuroscientists can employ the study on brain development is in the understanding of adolescent identity development. One of the most critical processes in adolescence is the development of stable and strong sense of self. It is during this period that the teenagers start to have a feeling of how identity could affect their lives. Through neuroscience using developments such as structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, the brain development during the period of adolescence can be studied. This can provide invaluable information towards understanding how identity development occurs during this period of human development.

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            The videos provided invaluable information regarding how the brain development during adolescence affects social interactions and response to rewards. I learned that my identity development started to shape during my adolescence. It was during this period that I started to define myself and started to develop a sense of belonging and self-esteem. This showed that although I had experienced the greatest identity development during my adulthood, it all started during my adolescence.

            The advances in neurosciences are helpful in understanding the brain development in humans, which has many implications. These studies are of great help to teachers and parents since by having a better understanding of how brain development occurs; they can develop better strategies to help the children. Teachers can know the better periods when there is increased brain activity and sensitivity to stimuli and device better methods of instruction. Parents and other agencies can use the information from these advances to develop better strategies for helping adolescents during this period as it is during this period that most adolescents engage in unprotected sex, alcoholism and drugs.

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