From: The New York Times

Can Teenage Defiance Be Manipulated for Good?

The New York Times:

Since there have been teenagers, there have been adults trying to control them. The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the Stubborn Child Law in 1646, allowing parents to have their defiant teenage sons put to death. The Bible suggests stoning them to death. But what if adolescent defiance is not a demon to be exorcised, but a power to be harnessed?

The brains of adolescents are notoriously more receptive to short-term rewards and peer approval, which can lead to risky behavior. But researchers and educators are noticing that young people are also more sensitive to notions of social justice and autonomy. Teenage rebellion can be virtuous — even wholesome — depending on the situation.

Another group read an exposé of cynical practices by some food companies, such as reformulating food to make it more addictive and labeling unhealthy products to make them appear healthy.

“We cast the executives behind food marketing as controlling adult authority figures, and framed the avoidance of junk food as a way to rebel against their control,” explained the researchers, led by Christopher Bryan at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and David Yeager at the University of Texas at Austin.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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