Monday, May 3, 2010

Adolescent risk taking

One school of thought for why adolescents take crazy risks is "late maturation of brain functions known as executive cognitive functions, which control impulsivity. One of these functions, called working memory, does not fully mature until the third decade of life."

This study looked at working memory and impulsiveness and found that kids scoring high on impulsiveness were more likely to take risks like fighting, gambling, and using alcohol than kids who scored low, but the type of impulsiveness varied. Kids with better working memory (smart kids) "exhibited more sensation-seeking behavior, while those with poor working memory scored higher on measures of acting without thinking."

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