Does the Adolescent Brain Make Risk Taking Inevitable?

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Does the Adolescent Brain Make Risk Taking Inevitable? Adolescence College students and adolescents are more daring in taking risks than adults and children as evidenced by data and statistics on binge drinking, automobile crashes, crime and contraceptive use. However, trying to understand why adolescents take such risks than in any other developmental stage has been a challenge for psychologists for decades. Several theories to explain the adolescents more involvement in riskier behaviors have been developed, but only a few of them withstood empirical scrutiny (Harding, 2007). One of such theories is by Laurence Steinberg, who holds that brain science demonstrates that the adolescents’ brain plays a big role in influencing adolescents undertake riskier behaviors. Over the years, there have been stereotypes that adolescents are irrational persons who believe that they are not vulnerable and unaware of the risks behaviors and are unconcerned and inattentive to the possible consequences of their risky behaviors. The facts, however, are that the logical reasoning of a 15years adolescent is similar to those of adults when perceiving risks. The difference comes in when reasoning about the consequences of the risky behaviors. The adolescents do not take time to critically think about the consequence of the risky behaviors. Adults, on the other hand, take time to evaluate the consequences of such behaviors, and this explains why only a few adults engage in risky behaviors. Since adults and adolescents think and reason about risk in the same way, psychologists believe that the age differences in getting involved in risky behaviors is a result of the information differences adults and adolescents use in making decisions. Efforts to minimize adolescents’ risk taking aimed at altering their attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, have not been successful. However, providing

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