New research out of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk-taking behavior. They found that Antisocial or risk-seeking behavior may be associated with an imbalance in the emotional-regulation network that exists to govern emotions and influence decision-making. They found that risk-taking teens exhibit hyperconnectivity between the amygdala, a center responsible for emotional reactivity, and specific areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with emotion regulation and critical thinking skills. The researchers also found increased activity between areas of the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens, a center for reward sensitivity that is often implicated in addiction research.

Florida State University College of Medicine Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide brought together some of the world’s foremost researchers in a quest to explain why teenagers—boys, in particular—often behave erratically.The result is a series of 19 studies that approached the question from multiple scientific domains, including psychology, neurochemistry, brain imaging, clinical neuroscience and neurobiology. The studies are published in a special volume of Developmental Neuroscience, “Teenage Brains: Think Different?”

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