Teens more receptive to rewards than adults

Teenagers may be impulsive and more likely to take risks, making them more responsive to rewards, but new research says this behavior helps them transition into adulthood.

In a recent study published in the journal Neuron, researchers looked at 41 teens between ages 13 and 17 and 31 adults aged 20 to 30. The teens performed better on a computer game that allowed them to learn from correct guesses, a kind of learning was facilitated by two areas of the brain working together.

When the subjects’ brains were imaged with fMRI, it was revealed that the hippocampus, an area of the brain where memory is vital, was more active during gameplay for the teens. The area was also working in tandem with a reward-related area called the striatum, which showed that those areas of the brain have different roles in a teenage brain compared with an adult brain.

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