Zoom Science to the Rescue - the Science of Adolescence

Science to the Rescue - the Science of Adolescence


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Adolescence is a time when cute children suddenly become rebellious teenagers. The latest scientific research suggests this is deeply related to a “special mechanism” uniquely acquired during evolution; the troubling adolescent behavior is actually a part of human brain development. In this era of rapidly shifting social environments, the special workings of the adolescent brain are putting our children under enormous pressure, sometimes causing depression, bullying, and even suicide. Through scientific experiments and evolutionary anthropology, this program uncovers the secrets of the sensitive adolescent mind.

Length: 50 minutes


Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

Introduction: Science of Adolescence (04:13)
Young people gather at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Adolescents exhibit a wide range of behaviors that parents find frustrating. This program reveals the latest science regarding the development of young brains, putting it into the bigger context of human evolution.

Is My Child OK? (04:11)
A Japanese government survey indicates that 93% of parents are concerned about their adolescent children. Reasons for concern include teen violence, online bullying, and children reaching puberty earlier than in the past. Sachiko worries about her volatile son, Takeshi.

Is My Child OK?: Part Two (03:30)
Megumi’s daughter, Misaki, is normally cheerful. She returns home in a sour mood, retreating to her room without eating lunch; her sudden disappearances are becoming more frequent. Many adolescents are prone to emotional outbursts that even they do not understand.

Is My Child OK?: Part Three (04:26)
Studies help explain the mercurial behavior of adolescents. The amygdala in teen research subjects is more sensitive to emotional stimuli than in adults. This is related to the release of sex hormones and can trigger a variety of impulsive behaviors.

Is My Child OK?: Part Four (03:50)
Experiments illustrate adolescent sensitivity. In one test, junior high students are much quicker to identify a man’s expression as angry than a group of adults. Another test suggests adolescent brains evolve to show stronger emotional attachment to love interests and friends than parents.

Internet and the Adolescent Brain (04:47)
The number of teen test subjects that cannot go without the Internet for a full day shocks Susan Moeller. Research suggests this is connected to how young brains develop. Adolescents become addicted to the Internet partly because of their fear of social isolation.

Internet and the Adolescent Brain: Part Two (05:06)
A pair of experiments reveals how adolescents react to negative online stimuli. Students are asked to exchange text messages; fast-paced, faceless interactions lead to bullying. Other teens are hooked up to brain activity sensors as they receive negative text messages.

Internet and the Adolescent Brain: Part Three (02:03)
A Japanese survey indicates that 37% of teens suffer from psychological problems, and 20% say life has no meaning. How well teens cope with stress may depend on how many people they and their mothers can turn to for support.

Emotional Outbursts and Memory (05:40)
Male Maasai teens live apart from the rest of the tribe, preparing for adulthood. Strong emotions sparked by the amygdala stimulate the hippocampus, improving memory. Emotional eruptions may play a role in boosting a teen’s ability to learn.

Emotional Outbursts and Memory: Part Two (01:32)
Elderly people talk about an episode from their lives that they clearly remember. They can recall episodes from their adolescence as if they happened yesterday.

Adolescence: An Evolutionary Gift (03:06)
Adolescents take risks at twice the rate as adults. Parts of their brains associated with pleasure become extremely active when they engage in reckless behavior. Young Maasai warriors and other fearless adolescents drive survival during challenging times.

Adolescence: An Evolutionary Gift—Part Two (03:21)
Jay Giedd is the first neuroscientist to map how the adolescent brain develops. It matures from the rear to the front, with the prefrontal cortex developing last. This serves an evolutionary purpose, allowing adolescents to capitalize on their increased learning ability and adventurous spirit.

Adolescence: An Evolutionary Gift—Part Three (02:54)
Maasais gather for a traditional coming-of-age celebration. Humans have flourished, in part, because of the spirit of adolescents. Misaki takes part in a parenting circle; she wants to be a childcare worker. Takeshi talks to his father about the future.



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Science to the Rescue - the Science of Adolescence



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