Teens Can't Seem to Avoid Danger

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-11_2a000513c4.jpgIngram Publishing/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Teens are drawn to trouble like moths to a flame. Perhaps it’s because they can’t help themselves. Kristina Caudle of Weill Cornell Medical College looked at why adolescents react more impulsively to danger than other age groups. As a result, they’re also more likely to engage in criminal activity.

What Caudle found most curious was that even though teens’ brains are more developed than younger children, pre-teens aren’t as inclined to get caught up in risky behavior. More than 80 participants ages 6 to 29 took part in an experiment where they were told to press a button when they saw a photo of a neutral face, but to hold back when a threatening face appeared. Invariably, teenagers hit the button more often when a threatening face popped up.  Of those who didn’t, there was more activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for impulse control. Therefore, Caudle surmised that a teen’s prefrontal cortex is still in the process of change, possibly explaining why adolescents just can’t seem to control their impulses at times.

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