A group of researchers that includes two Berkeley scientists is running a long-term neuroscience study hoping to change the law when it comes to the punishment of minors.

According to the researchers, one of the reasons teenagers do really, really dumb things is an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, which is heavily involved in making difficult decisions. (Do I join this cult or not? How many jars am I willing to open to make a PB and J sandwich?)

Therefore, an inability to fully consider the possible consequences of a course of action is reason to go easy on young’uns who, frankly speaking, don’t know any better—at least in the black-and-white, self-righteous and outraged sense many people have when they read crime stories concerning minors.

Unfortunately, the results of the study won’t come for a few years. In the meantime, just try to keep from accidentally saying you hug people. That’s a no-no.

Image Source: orangeacid under Creative Commons
This is your brain on adolescence [Berkeleyan]


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