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Are The Brains Of Reckless Teens More Mature Than Those Of Their Prudent Peers? Essay

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Overview of the Main Topic In the article, “Are the Brains of Reckless Teens More Mature Than Those of Their Prudent Peers?”, Epstein and Ong (2009) investigated the relationship between brain maturity and adolescent risk-taking. They challenged the traditional view that adolescent risk-takers had underdeveloped brains. Contrary to the traditional view, recent brain-imaging data showed white matter that resembled those of adults. This provided support for the new claim that adolescent risk-takers exhibited mature brains. This paper will review the traditional view, current research findings, and will analyze criticisms and support for the research question.
Review of Key Findings The authors explored the traditional view, focusing on structural and functional studies of grey matter and developmental differences in frontal lobe and emotion-related brain areas. They provided two explanations that weakened this view. First, biological factors were primarily responsible for predisposing risk tendencies. This made it difficult to account for cross-cultural differences. Second, because the brain was responsive to environmental stressors and was able to change accordingly, it was not known whether structural changes reflected those stressors. Subsequent research conducted by neuroscientists at Emory University suggested an association between adolescent risk-taking and mature brain development. Ninety-one adolescents were assessed using the Adolescent Risk-Taking Questionnaire
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