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Study Finds Why Teens Can't Concentrate

by Kathy Jones on June 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM
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 Study Finds Why Teens Can't Concentrate

A scientific explanation as to why teenagers can't concentrate has been given by researchers.

According to scientists, teenagers' brains continue developing far longer into adulthood than previously thought. Moreover, adolescents may look like young adults but their brain structure resembles that of much younger children, the Journal of Neuroscience study claimed.

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"It is not always easy for adolescents to pay attention in class without letting their minds wander, or to ignore distractions from their younger sibling when trying to solve a maths problem," said Dr Iroise Dumontheil of University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, one of the authors of the research. "But it's not the fault of teenagers that they can't concentrate and are easily distracted. It's to do with the structure of their brains. Adolescents simply don't have the same mental capacities as an adult."

To come up with the finding, scientists used MRI scans and monitored the brain activity of adolescents, reports The Guardian.

The scans revealed an unexpected level of activity in the prefrontal cortex, a large region at the front of the brain involved in decision-making and multitasking. This indicated that the brain was working less effectively than that of an adult.
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"We knew that the prefrontal cortex of young children functioned in this chaotic way but we didn't realize it continued until the late 20s or early 30s," said Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who led the study.

"What we discovered was that the part of the brain needed to complete this sort of process is still very much developing throughout adolescence. This means it continues to do a lot of needless work when making these sorts of decisions."

Source: ANI
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