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Ever since I grew up I wondered how come I was so insensitive to other people’s feelings and lives when I was a teenager and I often blamed myself and my bad character for such behaviour and thought I was the only one. I finally found some explanation by reading this story and this new founding about teenagers not using the higher-level thinking brain areas.

It seems that teenagers are simply not capable of caring about other people’s feelings and that they shouldn’t be blamed for it. The explanation should come as a relief but it doesn’t actually.

Researchers separated teenagers and adults in two study groups, asked them the same questions and monitored their brain activities. Both teenagers and adults answered similarly to a question about how they would react in a certain situation but the brain activities differed. The medial prefrontal cortex, located in front of the brain, is associated with higher-level thinking, empathy, and guilt. This brain area didn’t activate in teenagers as much as it did in adults.

While adults thought about how their actions would affect themselves and other people, teenage thinking didn’t go that far.

It was thought previously that children start noticing other people’s feelings at the age of five, the new research shows that this ability develops much later. It was determined that besides going through massive hormonal changes in puberty, teens undergo neural changes as well that do not occur gradually but suddenly in puberty.

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I put little stock in these so called studies because most of the time they cannot be duplicated which makes them not scientific.

I think that seeing people in distress and seeing others act upon their distress teaches teens empathy and "builds" pathways in the brain.

Everything is environment.
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