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Child and Youth Studies
Lauren Mc Namara

Child and Youth Studies CHYS 1F90 Dr. J. McNamara Fall/Winter 2011 Mid-term assignment  Posted Thursday Oct 13 before lecture th  Due Friday Oct 21 in lecture  Submit to (Print receipt and attach it to last page of assignment)  Instructions for completing and submitting will be posted on Sakai  Create profile  Course ID: 4435695  Course Password: CHYS1F90 No Seminars Next Week Adolescence Traditional ways we think about teens  Increased risk taking – Alcohol – Drugs – Delinquency – Etc.  Highly emotional  Decision making  Struggle with parents Stats  13,000 adolescent deaths each year – 70% of these are motor vehicle, accidental, homicide, etc.  72% of teens have used alcohol  44% have tried smoking  10% have tried illicit drugs  13% have driven under the influence  46% had sex – 34% had unprotected sex Stats Cont’s  Results from the 2005 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that adolescents engage in behaviors that increase their likelihood of death by: – driving a vehicle after drinking or without a seat belt, – carrying weapons, – using illegal substances, and – engaging in unprotected sex resulting in unintended pregnancies and STDs, including HIV infection  Looking toward the short-term benefits rather than the long term consequences Why does this occur? Increased Emotional Reactivity Nathan Kotylak: Nathan was an all canadian student, straight A’s, Canadian national water polo team. Nathan went to the final stanley cup playoff game between Bruins & Canucks. Nathan set a police car on fire, and it was recorded on YouTube and Nathan got arrested. Nathan then apologized publicly. Nathan’s Explanation “For Reasons I Can’t Explain…” Don’t worry Nathan, we can explain them… The Case of Omar Khadr  Built and launched an IED killing an American soldier  He was 15  Arrested and detained at Guantanamo since then  Interrogated repeatedly for years The Boys’ Defence Council  Were these boys criminally culpable at the time of the event? Look to the Science of Adolescence Saving the Best for Last  The Cortex makes up 85% of our brain  Cortex is responsible for decision making, reasoning, etc.  Massive development between 13 and 20  Not fully developed until early 20s Doesn’t have the neuro connections of an adult cortex. Frontal Lobe  Executive functions – Planning – Decision making – Self regulation – Consequences Why all the “Drama”  Adults use their pre-frontal cortex when making decisions (fMRI)  Teens’ pre-frontal cortex is not yet developed  So, teen brains use the “amygdala” when making decisions (fMRI)  The amygdala controls emotions  Teens are using the emotional part of their brains to make non-emotional decisions. Grey matter: Grey brains mean full maturity. Brains are not fully developed or “grey” until 20 years or older. Living on the Edge!  Seratonin and Dopamine are fluctuating and peaking – Seratonin has a “calming effect” that controls impulse levels – Dopamine has a “feel good” effect that can inhibit decision making Levels of Dopamine are usually high in adolescents but the levels of seratonin are low. That is why teens feel more depressed, and why they take thrill seeking risks. Myelination  Fatty tissue covering axons of neurons  Strengthens neural connections  Neurons in frontal lobe are not fully myelinated until late adolescence Messages traveling through the brain as a teen are not as strong as in adults.
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