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Why the Teen brain is drawn to Risk?



This report tries to summarize the article “Why the Teen Brain Is Drawn to Risk” written by Maia Szalavitz from The author here mainly gives a caution to parents of a teenager to protect them from their own misjudgements. Szalavitz says that the brain of teen is wired and some of those are nothing but the senseless choices that arises due to the biological tendencies. She, in this article analyses the risks perception among the teenagers and says that it is riotously overestimated. She says that the notorious risks taken by the adolescents are due to the unknown risks which have greater tolerance to ambiguity and uncertainty instead of the known risks. Saying this she highlights the viewpoint of Agnieszka Tymula, one of the leading authors in this study that teens connect more with unknown risks than the adults. To support this, a research was conducted by engaging the 33 teens and 30 adults in a gambling game and was found that adults were more involved in gambling compared to teens (Szalavitz).

 Szalavitz also highlights the point of Valerie Reyna, professor of human development and psychology at Cornell University, that adolescent has different information processing style. They generally get lost with particular risks and mostly emphasize on possible rewards, ignoring the ultimate consequences of a problem. Teens use quantitative thinking and take about twice the length adults do before reacting, while adults promptly have a negative response to risks. Reyna suggest that instructing gist-based thinking can help adolescents stay away from hazardous decisions. Tymula proposes that permitting adolescents chances to safely try experiments could likewise help them create expertises that underlie gist-based thinking. Therefore, more prominent resilience for vulnerability and the obscure and an expanded interest for and concentrate on rewards can presumably helps teenage (Szalavitz).


This summary of teen’s brain can be linked with the assertions of Havighurst’s Developmental Tasks Theory. According to Havighurst, development is continuous all through the whole lifespan, happening in every stage of human being. He says that psychological components that rise up out of the developing identity and psyche of an individual are encapsulated in personal objectives and values. These objectives and values are another source of few developmental tasks, for example, securing one's self-idea, creating associations with companions ( He finds that teenage achieve new and more develop relations with both genders of their ages, procures values sets and a moral framework as a manual for guide their own behaviour; build up ideology, accomplish emotional independence different grown-ups and also their parents, achieve a social role may be as male or female, accepting one's physique and utilize the body viably furthermore attaining to socially responsible behaviour (Manning). These tasks develop as a feature of the life cycle and make distinctive requests on the teens. Hence, to encourage improvement, teachers need to acquaint understudies with these basic tasks at the ideal time (Adler-Tapia).

In conclusion, it can be said that teenagers are more inclined towards the unknown risks than the adults. As per the theory of Havighurst, every human undergo stages and every stage has different task. Similarly, adolescent have different task which they like. These likes and dislikes can be improved by teaching gist-based thinking. The teachers need develop this framework at the right time.



Adler-Tapia, Robbie. Child Psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2012. Print.

Manning, M. Lee. 'Havighurst's Developmental Tasks, Young Adolescents, And Diversity'. The Clearing House 76.2 (2002): 75-78. Web.,. 'Havighurst’S Developmental Tasks Theory'. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

Szalavitz, Maia. 'Adolescents' Risk-Taking Behavior Is Driven By Tolerance To Ambiguity'. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.42 (2012): 17135-17140. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.


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