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What is the nucleus accumbens?

The nucleus accumbens is the area of the brain that seeks pleasure and reward. That part of a teenager's brain is fairly well-developed early on.

In imaging studies that compared brain activity among children, teenagers and adults showed that teenagers showed exaggerated responses to medium and large rewards, compared to children and adults, while hardly showing any response to small rewards-unlike children and adults.

A combination of an undeveloped prefrontal cortex along with a strong desire for reward goes a long way toward explaining stereotypical teen behavior.

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