Essay on Myth of the Teen Brain: An Article Review

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Introduction In 2007, Scientific American Mind published an article by Robert Epstein. In his article, Epstein raised the question of whether the teenage brain caused turmoil, or if turmoil shaped the brain. The author began by explaining a discredited theory that haunts teenagers today. It began in 1904 with G. Stanley Hall’s observation of adolescents who were left on the streets due to mass migration and immigration during the industrial revolution. Hall attributed the turmoil he observed to recapitulation, a biological theory in which adolescence mirrors the "savage, pigmoid" stage of evolutionary development (Epstein 2007).
Further, brain imaging studies noted differences in scans of adolescents and adults while performing
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Theoretical Value
From a developmental perspective, the brain tends to have a reciprocal relationship with the energy/resources going in and out of it. Brain function affects mood, cognition and behavior via neurotransmission. Neurotransmission has also been linked to normal developmental processing and disorders (Robbins, Chatterjee & Canda 2006). At the same token, ingesting substances such as drugs (legal and illegal) can permanently change the brain’s chemistry, and ultimately, its functioning (National Institute on Drug Abuse 2011). In such case, it is important to note that the action of using a substance (environment) alters the brain, instead of the brain causing the substance use, as would be deducted from the brain scans.
While most Western cultures do not celebrate adolescence, perhaps the change from childhood to adolescence is marked by some change in functioning that would account for the behaviors attributed to teens: “hazing, tattooing, dieting, dress, and beautification rituals” (McCarter 2011). As discussed previously, however, the “teenage behavior,” is not universal, although it is widespread in the West. As Bynum and Thompson (2007) explained, regulating the social status, role and legal treatment of adolescents caused marginality and had negative consequences (494), which correlated with Epstein’s theory that the restrictions on teens contribute to turmoil.
The research and theories proposed in the article are

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