Research Paper: Teenager's Brain a Teenagers

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[. . .] VII. Deleterious Effects of Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain

Also playing a role is that of hormones which are stated to provide encouragement for "…novelty seeking and promote social competitiveness. The revved-up hormonal production of adolescence may promote drug use to the extent that it represents a novel experience to the youth who is also seeking social approval from peers during the experience." (Winters and McLellan, 2008) It is reported by the National Institute of Health that testosterone, which is a male hormone and which has the most dramatic effect on the body is "closely associated with aggressiveness" and as well, that it is known to "be associated with aggression" increasing "tenfold in adolescent boys. (Juvenile Justice Center, 2008) It is reported that Chris Mallett, Public Policy Director at Bellefaire Jewish Children's Bureau in Ohio, recently completed the most comprehensive study of traumatic experiences in the lives of death row juveniles offenders to date" and states the following findings:

74% experienced family dysfunction

60% were victims of abuse and/or neglect

43% had a diagnosed psychiatric disorder

38% suffered from substance addictions

38% lived in poverty (Juvenile Justice Center, 2004)

Some research indicates that the developing brain "…is prone to the deleterious effects of alcohol. Adolescent rats exposed to various amounts of alcohol have significantly more brain damage in their frontal cortex than their adult counterparts." (Winters and McLellan, 2008) It is related that in human studies alcohol use disorders in adolescents resulted in the adolescents having "…nearly 10% smaller volume in the hippocampus (the primary structure for memory) which led to greater memory retrieval deficits than comparisons." (Winters and McLellan, 2008)

It is reported that findings from emerging science "suggests deeper consequences -- possible brain damage- as well as a greater vulnerability than faced by adults."(Winters and McLellan, 2008) It is reported by the Juvenile Justice Center (2004) in the work entitled "Adolescence, Brain Development and Legal Culpability" that scientists are now using advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to "…create and study three-dimensional images of the brain without the use of radiation" and that this enables scientist to "safety scan children over many years, tracking the development of their brains." (2004 )

The work of Gill (2009) reports that recent scientific studies that were conducted in clinic and laboratory settings have changed beliefs of how the human brain develops. Teenage brains have been found to "…undergo periods throughout the teen years when the cerebellum keeps getting bigger and better. Teen brains experience periods of exuberance each followed by a rapid reduction to their final set adult brain level. Periods of exuberance likely continue into the early twenties. There are indications that the teen brain continues to develop in a number of ways." Gill reports that these findings serve to "raise the question of what environmental elements influence what happens to the teen brain during these period of exuberance and refinement." (Gill,2009) According to Gill, it is generally believed that since the teen brain is "more malleable than formerly believed there is greater potential for damage from environmental causes: drugs, poor nutrition, and lack of use." (Gill, 2009)

Summary & Conclusion

This work has examined the teenage brain and has found that contrary to previously held beliefs and scientific reports that the teenage brain continues to develop and in fact, the brain develops until sometime in the 20s. The teenage brain is very susceptible to dependence on alcohol and drugs and is heavily influenced by environmental factors such as drugs, nutrition, and other known environmental influences. Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology is enabling researchers to better view and understand the development of the brain.


Edmonds, M. (2010) Are Teenage Brains Really Different From Adult Brains? Discovery Health. Brain and Central Nervous System. Retrieved from:

Adolescent Brain Development (2002) ACT for Youth -- Upstate Center of Excellence. Cornell University, University of Rochester and the NYS Center for School Safety. May 2002. Research Facts and Findings. Retrieved from:

Sohn, Emily (2005) Teen Brains, Under Construction. Science News. 28 Sept 2005. Retrieved from:

Winters, KC and McLellan, AT (2008) Adolescent Brain Development and Drug Abuse. Jan 2008. TRI Science Addiction… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Teenager's Brain a Teenagers.  (2010, December 10).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Teenager's Brain a Teenagers."  10 December 2010.  Web.  17 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Teenager's Brain a Teenagers."  December 10, 2010.  Accessed July 17, 2019.