The Valley of the Teenagers: My new brain column for Discover

By Carl Zimmer | March 25, 2011 11:37 am

When you’re a teenager, it seems like nobody understands you. And once you’re finished being a teenager and get to observe them as an adult, you have to wonder what on Earth is going through their heads. In my new column for Discover, I gingerly step into the teenage mind, exploring what neuroscientists are learning about how their brains work. Teenagers may do things that seem crazy and/or stupid, but that doesn’t mean they themselves are crazy or stupid. The teen years turn out to be a unique phase of mental life, when we tally up the rewards and costs of our choices with a kind of math that you won’t find in the heads of children or grownups. Check it out.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Brains, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (3)

  1. MethodSkeptic

    I have been interested in this research ever since I noticed my own behaviors changing once I hit that 24-25 year mark, and realizing that I did some astonishingly poor decision making when I was younger. These days I still marvel at my ability to delay gratification and prioritize, when my inner 18-year-old says “WANT” and my adult self analyzes the impulse until it pouts, goes to its room and yells “you never let me do ANYTHING!”

    I’ve always thought that this cognitive gap coinciding with the onset of fertility was no accident, either. Thankfully I dodged that particular bullet ;-P


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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