This is the teenager’s brain on peer pressure | Science News

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This is the teenager’s brain on peer pressure

Highlights from day four of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting

4:20pm, November 18, 2008

WASHINGTON — Tuesday, November 18, 2008, was the fourth day of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, and topics remained diverse: What happens in the brain when teenagers feel peer pressure, a study in mice suggesting a new way to treat depression, the best way to relearn walking after a stroke, and the long lasting effects of disrupted sleep.

Peer pressure on the brain

All too often, teenagers act recklessly and even dangerously around their friends. A new study suggests that this rash behavior feeds off the teen brain’s sensitivity to social and emotional influences, which is substantially unbridled because a cognitive and behavioral control network is not yet mature.

The brain’s control network doesn’t coalesce until the early 20s, a change that enables the network to communicate better with neural pathways that handle social and emotional responses, propose Jason Chein of Temple University in Philadelp
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