Why Do Teenagers Act and Think The Way They Do?!?

Statistics show that teenageers are much more likely to get into a car accident than adults. This is often because they drive more recklessly then adults, and the accidents tend to be more fatal.

This reckless behavior doesnt just apply to teenagers when they are driving, this applies to actions that they do in everyday life, (ie: procrastination).

So, what is it in the brain that makes teenagers act and think differently?

According to this article, it is the development of the Frontal Lobe that makes teenagers act and think they way they do.

This is because  the Frontal Lobe, also known as the Cerebral Cortex, is the part of the brain that controls most aspects of human behavior. This includes emotional impulsivity, problem-solving, judgment, and sexual behavior.


This part of the brain is less developed in teenagers due to the lack of Myelin coating, also known as "white matter", on the nerve cells in this area.

Myeline helps conduct the signals in the nerves better. Having Myelin helps your think things through more because it helps conduct signals between the nerve cells in the brain. Essentially, the more Myelin coating you have on the nerve cells in the brain, the more likely you are to think things through. Teenagers lack this coating in the brain, so ideas that adults consider stupid might sound completely rational to a teenager because they lack the inherent ability to think through the possible consequences of their actions.

So what does this mean?

-This mean that you can't entirely blame teenagers for what they do, because they lack the biological mechanism to properly determine the possible negative outcomes of a certain action. Yes, they are the ones actually performing the action, but often times they do so because their brain cannot properly judge the situation.

Sources; And for more info!:





Older people always tell teenagers and even kids that they act the way they do because they do not have the experience. When a teenager drives a car recklessly they feel invisible because they are not sure of the consequences since they have not experienced them. Parents, however, witnessed many more treacherous things than their kids. I feel like the frontal lobe in teenagers may not have the biological mechanism to properly determine the possible negative outcomes, but also I feel like experience has a lot to do with it as well.

I agree with Stephen. Although I'm sure the development of the frontal lobe plays a key part in the maturity of how we think, I think experience also plays a large role. Another theory I found is that teenagers often act irresponsibly because another teen is watching and they want to show off. In an article for the Wall Street Journal, the reporter writes of a study in which teenagers were put in a simulator that observed their driving habits. Most drove responsibly until they thought another teen was watching, in the eye of their peer they tried more risky maneuvers. Maybe as with many other things, any sense of responsibility vanishes because of peer pressure.
Here is a link to the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203806504577181351486558984.html

I learned last year in AP Psych that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until about the age of 21. That is why drinking alcohol has more of an effect on teenagers because they are still growing and developing. So, I agree with this article when it is talking about how we cannot control our actions as teenagers as well as full developed adults can. One of the problems is also that teenagers think that they are invincible and can do whatever they want, but as people mature they realize that is not true.

So does this mean that the development of the frontal lobe is related to maturity? People who have a less developed frontal lobe are less mature, and people who are more mature at a younger age have a faster developing frontal lobe? This makes sense to me. When I researched, I could only find information about the biological majority of people (which as Hannah said occurs around 21 years old). If we are not biologically mature until we are 21 years old, I wonder why the age to get arrested and go to jail (instead of juvi) is only 18. Shouldn't this be 21 years old too, since we can't make fully rational decisions until then?

Our brain is constantly developing, both neurologically as you mentioned, and because of experience as some of our classmates have mentioned. However, I don't think either of these is solely responsible for our actions. My biggest question after reading this is, what about the adults who act irrationally? There are plenty of adults who have a developed cerebral cortex and years of life experience but are still poor drivers. I think there are a lot of other factors that are responsible for the way that we act: how we were raised, the relationships that we have with our parents and authority figures, the value of our reputation, our morals, and several more. In my opinion, I don't think that the lack of a developed cerebral cortex really plays a great role in anyone's decision-making.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Everyone has heard of them as being the best car out there, mainly cause of gas prices. Hybrids are sweeping…
People everywhere are breaking up, just in time for the holidays. And the more couples I see parting ways, the…
Pregnancy Tests
While browsing Andrew's blog and looking to see all of the posts that I missed (I'm pretty sure I haven't…

Old Contributions