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CHYS 1F90 Lecture Notes - National Sleep Foundation, Steinburg, Omar Khadr

Child and Youth Studies
Course Code
Rebecca Raby

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CHYS 1F90 Lecture 5
Adolescence: Traditional Ways we Think About Teens
Increased risk taking
o Alcohol
o Drugs
o Delinquency
o Etc
Highly emotional
Decision making
Struggle with parents
13,000 adolescents deaths each year
o 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% have had sex
o 34% had unprotected sex
Results from the 2005 National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) show that adolescents
engage in behaviours that increase their likelihood of death by:
o Driving a vehicle after drinking or without a seat belt
o Carrying weapons
o Using illegal substances
o 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
Water polo
Straight A
Went to the seventh game of the playoffs riot
o Caught on tape -> setting a cop car on fire, blows it up
o Got caught because it was on youtube -> got charged
For reason I can’t explain … I engaged in this behaviour
The Case of Omar Khadr
Got involved in Afghanistan and got into a situation where he was working with a terrorist
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CHYS 1F90 Lecture 5
Built and launched an IED into a truck killing an American soldier
He was 15
Arrested and detained at Guantanamo since then
Interrogated and 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
Structures in our brain that allow us to process -> thinking part of our brain
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
Frontal Lobe
Executive functions
o Planning
o Decision making
o Self-regulation
o Consequences
Not developed fully until early 20s
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 [middle of the brain towards the brain stem]
o Adolescents make decisions use emotional decisions rather than critical thinking
Living on the Edge! Brain Chemicals
Serotonin and Dopamine are fluctuating and peaking
o Serotonin has a “calming effect” that controls impulse levels
o Dopamine has a “feel good” effect that can inhibit decision making
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