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We should not equate adolescence-with negative perceptions. it is fundamental to who we are. The adolescent brain isn’t a dysfunctional or a defective adult brain. Adolescence is a formative period of life, when neural pathways are malleable, and passion and creativity run high.


  • The first psychologist to study adolescence as a period of development was Stanley Hall, who at the beginning of the twentieth century defined adolescence as starting at puberty, around 12 or 13 years, and ending between 22 and 25 years.
  • Many researchers today define adolescence as the interval between the biological changes of puberty and the point at which an individual attains a stable, independent role in society.
  • In some cultures, things are very different, and children are expected to become financially and socially independent as soon as they reach puberty.
Why is the adolescents stage of human development exceptional?
  • Adolescents behave differently from adults.
  • Many take risks.
  • Many become self- conscious.
  • Their habits and attitudes often leave much to be desired.
  • They relate to their friends differently.
  • They often question the status quo
What is it that makes adolescents behave in a recognizably ‘adolescent’ way?

I. Adolescents have long been blamed for their apparently errant ways; some have put their behaviour down to changes in hormones at puberty; others attribute it to social changes following on from puberty and the new importance of peer relationships, or associated with the shift from small primary schools to large secondary schools in early adolescence. Now, though, armed with new knowledge from brain scans and experimental studies, we can try to understand adolescent-typical behaviour in terms of the underlying changes in the brain that happen during these years. Studying changes in brain structure and function reveals a huge amount about why teenagers do what they do, and more broadly about how the architecture of the brain relates to the behaviour we display, and how brain development - as well as hormones and the social environment- shapes who we become as we emerge into adulthood.



II.A large cross sectional study led by Laurence Steinberg from temple University in Pennsylvania, and involving scientists from around the world, investigated sensation- seeking and self - regulation in more than five thousand young people from eleven different countries (China, Colombia, Cyprus, India, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the United States). Participants aged between 10 and 30 years completed a number of experimental tasks and filled in questionnaires. Two tasks were combined with a questionnaire to provide a measure of sensation- seeking, the desire to seek out novel experiences, which often involves risk-taking. A measure of self -regulation was also taken - that is, the ability to control yourself and make decisions. Not all cultures showed identical developmental trajectories, but there was remarkable similarity across them. Sensation-seeking increased between age 10 and the late teens (Peaking at age 19), and then fell again during the twenties. In contrast, self - regulation increased steadily between 10 and the mid-twenties, after which it leveled out. So, while societal expectations differ between cultures, adolescent- typical behaviours can be seen across cultures.

At Vimhans young adults get specific attention in mental health with professionals specially experienced & qualified to deal with their issues.

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