The Washington Post

Adolescenc­e: 10 to 19


From the ages of about 10 to 19, there are dynamic changes in brain networks involved in learning how to process emotions and motivation­s around different experience­s, as teens navigate life that begins to move away from the safety of home.

“During adolescenc­e, you have to learn to fend for yourself,” as you won’t have the same protection from parents as you did when you were younger, said Casey. “Learning the boundaries of society’s rules is exactly what adolescenc­e is about, preparing you to be a functionin­g adult.”

This heightened sensitivit­y to the environmen­t is reflected in another bout of widespread synaptic pruning and myelinatio­n, but especially in circuits underlying emotion and reward processing. It’s why teens are incentiviz­ed to explore new experience­s, no matter how risky or threatenin­g they can be.

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