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Neuroscience Shows 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Update Date: Oct 01, 2014 09:08 AM EDT

If a teenagers sighs and rolls their eyes upon being warned of the consequences of risky behavior, their brain anatomy should be blamed, according to a new study. 

"I think teenage behavior is probably the most misunderstood of any age group - not only by parents but by teenagers themselves," said Pradeep Bhide, a Florida State University College of Medicine neuroscientist and director of the Center for Brain Repair, in the press release.

"It's a critical time in life, and a very stressful one, when they are going through so many changes at the same time that their brains are changing. The teen years are actually a very busy time for brain development."

The study found that unlike children or adults, teenage boys show enhanced activity in the part of the brain responsible for emotions when confronted with a threat, making a threat more difficult to ignore. 

Researchers said in the past decade, the technological advances have started shedding light on what goes on inside our heads more. It is not possible to watch an individual's brain in action as it responds to various stimuli. 

"This field has exploded," Bhide said. "Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, neuroscientists, criminal-justice professionals and parents are engaged in a daily struggle to understand and solve the enigma of teenage risky behaviors. Such behaviors impact not only the teenagers, who obviously put themselves at serious and lasting risk, but also families and societies in general."

Findings of the new study were published in the journal Developmental Neuroscience. 

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