Helping Teens Make Decisions

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Psychology

Investigation Helping Teens Make Decisions (Part 1 of 3)

For this three-part investigation, you’ll apply concepts of brain function and development to the issue of teen decision making.

3 Personality and Human Development / Page 3.17 Investigation: Helping Teens Make Decisions (Part 1 of 3) On this page: 10 of 10 attempted (100%) | 10 of 10 correct (100%) You can no longer reset the questions on this page. Objective: Determine how adolescent brain development affects decision making.

Teenagers are capable of much more higher-order thinking than children, but their brains still lag behind adults’ in their ability to make good decisions, like what media to watch.

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How Can We Help Teens Make Good Decisions?

If your teenage daughter attends a party, will you know how to help her navigate the decisions she’ll need to make? How do a complex social environment and the development of the teenage brain influence her ability to consider risks? In this three- part investigation, we’ll bring together the concepts from the last three chapters and determine how to use them to help teens make good decisions. You’ll also have an

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opportunity to practice your decision making by examining a problem and determining evidence-based solutions—important parts of your problem solving skill.

In addition, you’ll learn why it’s often difficult for developing teenagers to make good decisions. This knowledge will improve your self and social awareness, especially when you’re interacting with teenagers.

Part 1: We’ll begin by reviewing psychological concepts from the last three chapters and then gather more information about adolescent brain development and how it affects decision making. Part 2: On the next page, we’ll take a closer look at how teens’ social environment and desire to take risks influence their decisions. Part 3: On the last page, we’ll use all of this information to determine how to help the teens in our lives make good decisions.

Take a Look Back

In this section, you will check your understanding of the psychological concepts referenced in this investigation.

You’ve learned quite a lot in the first three chapters of this webtext. In Chapter 1, you read about how psychologists think and how they study the mind and behavior. In Chapter 2, you learned about the structure and function of the brain and neurons. And in this chapter, you read about personality and development over the life span. You’ve also come to understand how these concepts affect your problem solving skill and your self and social awareness.

Over the next two pages, we will investigate how the concepts from these three chapters can be applied to understand how teenagers make decisions. Before we do so, let’s check your understanding of a few of these key concepts. If you’re unsure of the answer to any of the following five questions, go back and review the page noted in the question.

Multiple-Choice Question

What substance forms around the axons of neurons and results in faster communication among brain regions? (Review page 2.2.)

lobes testosterone myelin

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dopamine

Correct. The development of myelin, a fatty tissue that surrounds and insulates axons, allows for faster communication among brain cells and regions and is an integral part of “brain development.”

Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

Which area of the brain is linked to emotions such as fear or pleasure? (Review pages 2.5–2.10.)

brainstem parietal lobes limbic system cerebral cortex

Correct. The limbic system includes the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and amygdala and is associated with the processing of emotions.

Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

Someone who studies how social media use affects teenagers’ brain activity is working from which perspective? (Review page 1.3.)

the psychodynamic perspective the neuroscience perspective the evolutionary perspective the behavioral perspective

Correct. Because the neuroscience perspective studies how different parts of the brain process information and produce reactions or behaviors, it would help someone understand the brain activity of teenagers who use social media.

Last saved 2 months ago.

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Multiple-Choice Question

The social-cognitive perspective emphasizes how our behaviors result from interactions between our personality traits and which of the following? (Review page 3.15.)

biology cerebral cortex situations limbic system

Correct. According to the social-cognitive theory of personality, our personality traits and situations have reciprocal influences on our behavior and on each other.

Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

Sixteen-year-old Brenda questions her parents’ values but does not fully accept her friends’ standards either. According to Erikson’s stages of development, Brenda’s confusion about what she really wants and values in life suggests that she is struggling with which of the following issues? (Review pages 3.4–3.6.)

integrity autonomy initiative identity

Correct. Identity development is the main issue of adolescent emotional development, according to Erikson. Adolescents must consider their different roles and eventually determine their own identity.

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The Teenage Brain

In this section, you will learn about the biology of adolescent brain development. Preview the questions and then use the information in the video clips to answer them.

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The following video clips, taken from a longer TED Talk, offer insight into the biology of the teenage brain. Thanks to powerful brain imaging technology that developed in the last two decades, neuroscientists can now see the brain as it develops throughout adolescence and can compare teen brain activity to adult brain activity. The speaker, Dr. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, will use terms you learned in Chapters 2 and 3 as she discusses specific areas of the brain that are still developing well into adolescence.

The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain (Clip 1 of 2)

YouTube video clip (1:39–4:17). https://youtu.be/6zVS8HIPUng. Uploaded September 17, 2012, by TED. To activate captions, first click the play button and then click the CC

button in the embedded player. For a text transcript, follow the link below.

Read Text Transcript

Multiple-Choice Question

What kind of processing primarily occurs in the prefrontal cortex of the brain?

planning and decision making sensory touch movement control vision

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent brSarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent br……

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Correct. The prefrontal cortex is considered the CEO of the brain and is responsible for executive functions such as organization, planning, and decision making.

Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

What happens to the prefrontal cortex in early adolescence?

Neural communication slows. Gray matter peaks in volume. “Pruning” becomes impaired. Gray matter is reduced.

Correct. Just before puberty, the volume of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex peaks.

Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

Which term describes the process by which unused or unwanted neurons and synapses are eliminated?

synaptic pruning neural reduction limbic maturation synaptic termination

Correct. Synaptic pruning is the process by which unused neurons and synapses are eliminated.

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Now watch another clip from the same speaker. In this clip, she describes an experiment designed to study how adolescents and adults make decisions that involve another person. This insight into social decision making, along with information presented in Part 2 of this investigation, will help us understand why teens often make poor decisions when they’re with their friends. Remember to preview the questions and rewatch the clip as many times as you need to ensure you understand the experiment described by the speaker.

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The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain (Clip 2 of 2)

YouTube video clip (6:52–10:12). https://youtu.be/6zVS8HIPUng. Uploaded September 17, 2012, by TED. To activate captions, first click the play button and then click the CC

button in the embedded player. For a text transcript, follow the link below.

Read Text Transcript

Multiple-Choice Question

Which of the following conclusions BEST interprets the data in the bar graph titled “Percentage Errors in Director and No-Director Tasks”?

Adolescents make significantly fewer errors than adults when they have to keep the “director’s” perspective in mind. Adolescents do not differ at all from adults in the ability to take someone else’s perspective. Adolescents make significantly more errors than adults when they have to keep the “director’s” perspective in mind. Adolescents make errors approximately 50 percent of the time, regardless of the “director” or “no-direction” condition.

Correct. Although adolescents do better than 7- to 9-year-olds on this task, they still make far more errors than adults do when required to take someone else’s perspective.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent brSarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent br……

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Last saved 2 months ago. Multiple-Choice Question

In the “no-director” condition of the experiment, adolescents can remember the rule to not move objects with a dark gray background just as well as adults can. What does Dr. Blakemore conclude about this fact?

Adolescents choose to ignore the rule when it is imposed by an authority figure, such as in the “director” condition. Adolescents’ ability to take other people’s perspectives into account does not improve after age 13. Adolescents are capable of knowing a rule, but they still struggle to make decisions that require considering someone else’s perspective. Adolescents are too distracted by the rule when they try to make decisions that require considering someone else’s perspective.

Correct. While a 16-year-old will be better at considering another perspective than a 9- year-old will be, teenagers make more errors than adults do when they view a problem from someone else’s perspective.

Last saved 2 months ago. close

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