When is the Brain “Mature”?

In the New York state budget just passed by Albany, legislators will raise the age to be tried as an adult from 16 to 18 years. New York was one of only two states left in the US that prosecuted youth as adults when they turned 16–now North Carolina stands on its own.

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In the US, law and policy have struggled to determine an accurate age to judge people mature and accountable, but new scientific findings regarding the brain, adolescence, and neurodevelopment counter the idea that we can pinpoint one age for everyone.

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Report on Progress: What Were You Thinking?!

“What Were You Thinking?!” is the title of the latest Report on Progress, where Marisa Silveri, Ph.D., gives insight into the teenage brain.

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Sleep, Learning, and Memory

Two recently published studies tease out some links among sleep, learning, and memory. In the journal Child Development, researchers from UCLA’s Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior reported on the importance of sleep for academic performance. According to the LA Times, the investigators tracked the sleep patterns of 535 high school teenagers and found that “a student who gives up sleep for extra study time will have trouble the next day understanding material in class and be more likely to struggle with an assignment or test–the opposite of the student’s intent.”

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Inside the Teenage Brain

If I could turn back time and re-live certain years of my life, I wouldn’t choose my teenage years. Asking my parents’ permission for everything, trying to fit in with my peers, and going through various awkward stages? Yeah, I think once was enough.

According to a recent LiveScience article, adolescence is one of the times when the most growth happens in the brain. Not only is puberty taking place, which is already an awkward stage, but the brain also plays a role in the random tantrums, indecisiveness, and uncertainty that sometimes takes place at this point in a teen’s life.

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