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Why do teens sometimes act recklessly?

During the teen years, under the influence of massive new hormonal messages, as well as current needs and experiences, the teenager’s brain is being reshaped, and reconstructed. One part of the teen brain that is undeveloped until the mid-twenties is called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This part of the brain, when fully developed, is in a constant dialogue with the emotional brain (the limbic brain). In the adult, the PFC and the limbic brain are in balance, each one inhibiting the other. So when an adult has an emotional reaction to being cut off by a speeding car, the PFC part of the brain says “Hey, stop, and think about your desire to go speeding after that car. You might get a ticket, you might cause an accident, your insurance rates will go up.” For the teen, however, the PFC is undeveloped, and the emotional brain (including the amygdala mentioned above) rules the moment, until the PFC is developed in the mid-twenties. The teen thinks: “This is going to be exciting!" if he thinks at all. Auto insurance companies figured this one out long ago.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.