The brain shapes "what's the matter with kids today," says the Harvard Mental Health Letter

Published: July, 2005

There are plenty of explanations for teenage turmoil. The newest theory is that uneven brain development may be responsible for the changeable moods and unsettling behavior of adolescence, reports the July issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Although many teens have fairly advanced intellectual and reasoning ability, recent research has shown that human brain circuitry is not mature until the early 20s. Among the last connections to be fully established are the links between the prefrontal cortex — the seat of judgment and problem-solving — and the emotional centers of the brain. These links are crucial to emotional learning and high-level self-regulation, explains the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

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