Adolescence can be a challenging time (just ask most parents). Teenagers often express intense emotions, may engage in more risky behavior, and are sometimes more impulsive. However, many teens emerge from adolescence with few problems. Neuroscience has begun to shed some light on these changes and differences by charting how the brain is developing during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Tools such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have allowed scientists to more precisely track the growth of the brain and to investigate the connections between brain function, development and behavior. In this Science Café, cognitive neuroscientist Jamie Hanson will discuss how neuroscientists study the developing brain, as well as detailing what we do and do not know about “the teenage brain.”
About Our Speaker
Jamie Hanson is a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying how early life stress impacts brain development. Dr. Hanson received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a degree program that integrated developmental psychology, the neuroscience of emotion, public policy and biostatistics. His research focuses on what neural circuitry children and adolescents use to learn about different aspects of their environment, how such circuits are shaped by social experiences, and why neural changes due to social experiences confer risks for children.