Abstract and Keywords
Brain research has informed many recent studies of adolescent development either through direct measures of brain structure and activity in neuroimaging studies or through behavioral studies where laboratory tasks are selected on the basis of their links to brain function. This body of work has led to a popular understanding of adolescence as a time period when risk-taking behavior escalates to extreme levels due to brain-based immaturities. This article considers neurobehavioral studies that allow us to conclude about executive functions in adolescence, studies of brain development that indicate about the status of the adolescent brain, and then, importantly, if these research domains cohere. The article analyses that brain-based substrates clearly underlie the immaturities in executive function observed in adolescence. The practical and ethical implications of these findings are discussed using legal decisions as a prominent example.
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