Swartzwelder, a professor of psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience, joins former Duke colleague and current National Institutes of Health faculty member Aaron White in reviewing the latest developments in adolescent brain research on teen behavior. The scientists illuminate the complexities of issues such as school, driving, social networking, video games and mental health in kids whose crucial brain connections are just coming online.
Adolescence has long been characterized as the “storm and stress” years, and with recent developments in digital communication, it seems today’s teens are in for a more complicated journey than ever before. Even the most sympathetic, “in-touch” parents might throw their hands up in frustration at their teen’s unpredictable and risky behavior and ask “what are they thinking?!” It turns out that the thrill-seeking activities of teens and their quest for independence aren’t just the result of raging hormones, but rather typical effects of the unique structure and development of the adolescent brain.