According to a study, teens tend to react more impetuously to danger than children or adults, which explains their involvement in crime and vulnerability to suicide.
The lead author Kristina Caudle, of Weill Cornell Medical College, said in a Society for Neuroscience news release, Crimes are often committed in emotionally charged or threatening situations, which push all the wrong buttons for reasoned decision-making in the adolescent brain.
The responses we are seeing in the laboratory are on the order of milliseconds, Doctor BJ Casey, director of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell, said in a statement. Even teaching teens strategies to take a deep breath before acting could have potential implications for their safety.
Around 83 participants, aged 6 to 29, underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They were provided with pictures of faces with threatening or neutral expressions. They were instructed to press a button when they saw a neutral face and to hold back pressing when they saw a threatening face.
It was observed by the researchers that teenagers had a hardship in keeping themselves from pressing the button when presented with a threatening face.
The teens had more active response in the prefrontal cortex. It is the part of the brain that is responsible for monitoring personality and impulse control. In adults, this brain section helps in regulating responses to emotional situations, but its in a state of change in teenagers.
When compared with the females, males were also more likely to make a greater number of false alarm indications and showed greater activation of the orbitofrontal cortex. It is the region that is associated with contentious behavior.
The researchers concluded the teens proclivity for danger was unique to their age group.
The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.