The prefrontal cortex is the last part of the brain to fully develop so teenagers can struggle making rational decisions.
The amygdala leads to more emotional decisions being made in teenagers.
The cerebellum is at the back of the brain and is the first part of the brain to fully develop. It is responsible for motor control & balance. It doesn't change much during adulthood.
The cerebellum is not fully developed until the age of twenty, so it continues to grow and change during childhood and adolescence
Adults have both a fully developed amygdala and prefrontal cortex, allowing them to be more experienced with logic and also emotion/empathy, making decisions easier to make and have a better understanding of the consequences and risk involved.
Gray Matter is the tissue found in regions of the brain responsible for muscle control, sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. Studies show that gray matter density peaks at around 10-14 years, then begins to decline.
That's how long it takes your brain to fully mature and develop.
By the age of six, children's brains are already about 90-95% of adult size
Social reward is the high you get after pleasing or being accepted by those you associate with.
Your brain uses 20% of all your energy. Thats 1 in every 5 meals you eat
Proliferation is the rapid growth of neural connections in the brain, which is peaked around the age of 10. You can think of it like the growing branches on a tree.
Pruning is the cutting back of unneded or unused neural pathways in the brain. This is why adolescence is crucial in altering your brain as synaptic pruning does not occur much in adulthood.
Dopamine is a chemical that is responsible for transmitting signals between the nerve cells of the brain. Dopamine is known as the ‘feel good hormone’. It is associated with feelings of happiness and social reward.
Myelination is the protection of neural pathways that often get used. The protective layer is called a myelin sheath and it also improves connections in the brain.
The brain’s reward centre is involved with basic survival. It is a group of structures that are activated by rewarding stimuli. It is made up of the cerebral cortex, the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus.
There are about 100 billion neurons in an average human brain. Thats more than 13 times the human population!
ASK A TRUSTED ADULT
Getting help from an adult you know can be really helpful, as they have been through the same stage as you and can give you support and help you make mature desicions.
Take a breath
Taking a deep breath can really help you think about what you're about to do as it calms your body and gives you a moment to make a rational decision.
Think about the consequences
Look at the possible outcomes of the situation and think about the consequences and risks involved so you can work out the best desicion for the circumstances involved.
Headspace, formally the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is an Australian non-profit organisation for youth mental health established by the Australian government in 2006. It is a great organisation for supporting people between the age of 12-25 years, who are struggling mentally or are having issues in life.
Kids Helpline is a free to use, private phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Professional counsellors receive your call and help support you with your issue. It is a great outlet for those who are not sure what to do about their problem and are unsure who to talk to.
SOURCES: Raising Children Network. (2019). Brain development: teenagers. [online] Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/development/understanding-your-pre-teen/brain-development-teens [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].
First Things First. (2019). Brain Development - First Things First. [online] Available at: https://www.firstthingsfirst.org/early-childhood-matters/brain-development/ [Accessed 25 Mar. 2019].
Spinks, S. (2019). Work In Progress - Adolescent Brains Are A Work In Progress | Inside The Teenage Brain | FRONTLINE | PBS. [online] Pbs.org. Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/work/adolescent.html [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].
Hypertextbook.com. (2019). Power of a Human Brain - The Physics Factbook. [online] Available at: https://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/JacquelineLing.shtml [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].
ScienceDaily. (2019). Gray matter density increases during adolescence, study finds: Study reveals new methods of characterizing differences between youth and adult, male and female brains. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170526084524.htm [Accessed 28 Mar. 2019].
Kids Helpline. (2019). About KHL. [online] Available at: https://kidshelpline.com.au/about/about-khl [Accessed 28 Mar. 2019].
Adolescent vs adult brain and desicion making
An infographic on how the brain functions in teenagers and adults as well as information on decision making.