Essay: Decision Making, Impulse Control

Pages: 4 (1449 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] In many cases, risk taking is a result of competition between the cognitive system and socio-emotional network (National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2013). At teenage years, the socio-emotional system is stronger and assertive than the cognitive system. Teenagers have the cognitive ability to regulate their impulses and risky behaviors; however, the socio-emotional system becomes active enough during emotional excitement to be able to lower the regulatory effect of the cognitive-control network.

Some research associate juvenile delinquency with their development. It would be easy for teenagers to make risky decisions because their emotions control most of their decisions (Aronson, 2007). Moreover, the system of the brain that regulates the processing of rewards, emotions, and social information undergoes quick arousal during the teenage years. Thus, a teenager can easily commit a crime or violate someone else's right because he or she is not competitive in their decision-making. However, since children learn from their interaction with the environment, some of them can make better decisions.

Most research shows that there is enough evidence that allow the constitution to punish teenagers in a lenient manner. This is because teenage years make teenagers susceptible to delinquent behaviors (Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 2000). Many argue that teenagers have poorly developed impulse system, they are highly irritable, unable to anticipate consequences, and they have inadequate perception on societal cues. Aronson's article argues that most people consider teenagers as having little intellectual, biological, and emotional maturity to be culpable for their violent acts. Currently, courts consider children's cognitive development in creating juvenile codes. They view it as unfair to make a child pay the price because of emotions he or she cannot control. The 1999 shootings in Columbine High School revealed the insufficiency of the brain of a teenager in making decisions (Rutherford, Leone, Osher & Poirier, 2005). Although cognitive development studies do not apply to finding justice in courts, most people use them to prove that teenagers are unable to make responsible decisions. Therefore, courts tend to consider the arguments of these studies in seeking justice in courts.

The burning of the death penalty, on teenagers in 2005 shows that cognitive development studies are crucial in juvenile codes. It is crucial to the law to evaluate the intellectual, emotional, and cognitive abilities of juveniles (Aronson, 2007). For instance, in a case between Thomson and Oklahoma in 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was brutal and unnecessary to execute a 15-year-old offender for committing a crime. There has been widespread agreement for a long time that mentally incapable people and juveniles should not undergo execution. This is because it goes against researches done on cognitive development and reasoning.


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