Scientists have suggested that teenagers could be stroppy and anti-social simply because their brains are not working properly.
The team at Yale University, in the U.S, found that during adolescence, the process that creates new brain cells is interrupted, with dramatic consequences, the Daily Mail reported.
AdvertisementAs well as leading to problem behaviour, it could even cause mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, when the person matures into adulthood.
Experiments on mice revealed that they became 'profoundly anti-social' if the smooth development of brain cells was halted.
No such effect was observed if the same block occurred during adulthood, giving the researchers important clues into how personality can be formed.
The team focused on 'neurogenesis', a process in which cells are created in specific areas of the brain after birth.
It occurs at a much faster rate during childhood and adolescence but most other research has focused on adulthood.
"Intriguingly, schizophrenics have a deficit in generating neurons in the hippocampus, one of the brain areas where new neurons are created.
"Given that symptoms emerge in adolescence, it is possible that deficits in generating new neurons during adolescence or even childhood holds new insights," said lead author Professor Arie Kaffman.
The findings were published in the journal Neuroscience.