The recent spate of criminal activity involving marauding bands of young people has a lot of greater Milwaukee residents wondering what is going on inside the heads of today’s teenagers and young adults.
The answer, according to current brain research, is a lot. It turns out that the adolescent brain is not fully mature, as previously believed, but is actually in a period of intense growth until children reach their late teens or early 20s. One of the last areas of the brain to mature is the prefrontal cortex.
In a nutshell, the prefrontal cortex governs impulse control. The hormonal surges of puberty kick up heightened emotional responses at a time when the brain is least equipped to regulate emotional urges, thus creating the perfect storm for poor choices.