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How risk-taking changes a teenager's brain | Kashfia Rahman

How risk-taking changes a teenager's brain | Kashfia Rahman

Updated on June 24
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Rahman noticed from her peers that the more teenagers exposed themselves to harmful risks, the easier it became for them to continue taking risks.

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Rahman conducted her study with 86 students that were required to wear electroencephalogram headsets (EEG) and had them take a simulation test regarding alcohol use, drug use, and gambling 12 times over 3 days to mimic risk exposures. The controls on the EEG headset measured and rated their emotional responses, which gave Rahman her data.

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Habituation can change a teen’s brain by altering their emotional levels, which causes greater risk taking. Emotions that were normally associated with risks are what prevented teens from taking risks. More exposure lessened the brain’s natural instincts of caution and fear. Due to the underdeveloped brain at this age, teenagers became more interested and enticed with thrill-seeking behaviors.

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They lacked self-control for logical decision-making, took greater risks, and made more harmful choices.

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These results should be a wakeup call for teens because it showed that the natural and necessary fear and guilt that protected teens from unsafe situations became numb when they repeatedly choose risky behaviors.

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