From: The Wall Street Journal

Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood

The Wall Street Journal:

New studies on peer pressure suggest that teens—who often seem to follow each other like lemmings—may do so because their brains derive more pleasure from social acceptance than adult brains, and not because teens are less capable of making rational decisions.

And scientists say facing the influence of friends represents an important developmental step for teens on their way to becoming independent-thinking adults.

“It is adaptive to have a [biological] system that encourages you to start exploring outside the home, to start making your new own peer circles,” says Beatriz Luna, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who studies peer influence and the adolescent brain.

In years past, people thought teens didn’t have fully developed frontal lobes, the part of the brain critical for decision-making and other more complex cognitive tasks. But a growing body of work seems to show that teens are able to make decisions as well as adults when they are not emotionally worked up.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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