Teens' Selfishness Linked To Learning Faster Than Adults: Brain Study

First Posted: Oct 08, 2016 04:20 AM EDT

Studies often depict teens as selfish and links it to their desire for instant gratification. Findings say that numerous life scenarios in their lives lead to having such trait. But here's good news to parents and young people: A new study suggested that the tendency to be selfish may have an association to better learning. The results of the brain study conducted suggest that it may even be the reason why teens learn faster than adults.

According to i4U News, the study involved 41 teens and 31 adults. Initially, the researchers focused on striatum, a part of the brain linked to coordination of various aspects of higher brain function. They used a combination of brain imaging and learning tasks wherein they determined adolescents' brain activity patterns that support learning.

According to Daily Mail, experts have found that the brains of teens and adults are wired differently. This explains the young people's ability to memorize and wild behavior that are likewise different from those of the older people. Dr. Juliet Davidow from Harvard University said that the adolescent brain is actually adapted and not broken. Davidow is a psychology researcher and co-author of the study.

Furthermore, Davidow explained that reinforcement learning, which happens a lot to younger people, is about guessing due to being told whether you are right or wrong. Adolescents use such information in making a better guess, which may lead to them earning positive feedback and reinforcing their choice. This is a reward signal that helps them to keep on doing successful choices. The young people's reward-seeking behavior makes them more inclined to reinforcement learning.

While the researchers hypothesized that a hyperactive striatum causes the young people's superior abilities, they have found that the difference between young and older people actually lie in the hippocampus. The memory of objects linked to reinforcement learning, and this observation has an association to the connectivity between striatum and hippocampus.

The findings from this study may start a different depiction of teens. It is surprising to know that the negative traits associated to these young people likewise link to them learning faster than adults.

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