Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do You Have a Teenager?

This extract from Gary Marcus's Kluge will not give you any solution, but will certainly help you understand your teenager.

Teenagers as a species seem almost pathologically driven by short-term rewards. They make unrealistic estimates of the attendant risks and pay little attention to long-term costs. Why? According to one recent study, the nucleus accumbens, which assesses reward, matures before the orbital frontal cortex, which guides long term planning and deliberate reasoning. Thus teenagers may have an adult capacity to appreciate short-term gain, but only a child's capacity to recognize long-term risk.

Hmmm.... Does the human orbital frontal cortex ever mature? Think rain forest, environment, financial meltdown, wars, nuclear arsenal ... I rest my case.

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