Teen Angst Essay Example


Teen angst is often discussed yet rarely understood. Throughout the years and all over the globe, experts have been seeking to learn the facts of adolescent angst, scientists have explored from brain anatomy to various case studies. Adolescence is a developmental phase between childhood and adulthood, where teenagers undergo psychological shifts that trigger unique patterns such as the inability to identify emotions, the disparity in sleeping habits, and impulsive decisions.

Research has shown by the time teens are introduced to a broader range of social conditions; their minds begin undergoing impermanent remodeling. According to scientists, neurological behavior in an adolescent brain is so severe that it is difficult to process and comprehend basic information. Puberty is marked by sudden increases in the connectivity of nerves in parts of the brain, as children enter puberty their capacity to easily identify other people's feelings plummets. A study involving almost 300 people between the ages of 10 and 22 were shown photographs with faces or words or a mixture of both. The researchers asked them to identify emotions felt, such as anger, satisfaction, sadness, or neutrality (Source 3, 5). The results of this study revealed that the pace at which people could recognize emotions had fallen by up to 20% at the age of 11. The response time improved steadily for each subsequent year but only returned to normal at 18 (Source 3, 6). This study shows that when experiencing anguish, the brain is stimulated by various feelings, producing a different perspective and looking at things.

It has been said by scientists that in puberty, sleep offers an opportunity for the brain to undergo reorganization. A study by Russell Foster, chairman of the Circadian Neuroscience Brasenose College, indicates that students perform better in the afternoon because their "body clocks" – mechanisms that regulate our desire to sleep and get up – are programmed for adolescents two hours later than for the rest of the population (Source 1, 1). The shift in adolescent bodies and adult bodies are unknown however, David Bainbridge argues that this rerouting of the brain could mean that the teenage body clock is operating more slowly than the adult clock, making their days feel like 26-hours long for example 8 a.m. feels more like 6 a.m. Teens have the tendency of sleeping a lot and relatively late, this may be because sleep is important for memory and learning, dealing with emotions, and repair and recuperation and during the teenage years a lot of these events occur. Although this somewhat explains the reasoning for an increase in sleep it does not explain the change in the timing of sleep.

When it comes to impulsive decisions, researchers have found that teenagers have a propensity to take chances. In other words, teenagers will do things that adults relatively would not, for example partying all night knowing you have an exam the next morning. Dr. Sarah says parts of the brain that regulate feelings and rewards are developing faster than other areas in teenagers (Source 2, 6). To demonstrate an example, the part of your mind that tells you to drive the car very fast. This explains why teens are most likely to take risks. When discussing brain anatomy, the frontal part of the brain would usually try to slow down what we might like to do on the first impulse, this minimizes risky behavior. In teens there are numerous emotions, it can be suggested that since there is such a large amount of emotion there isn’t enough room for the cortex, this is most likely the reasoning behind teens taking so big risks with things. 

Numerous structures outline in detail the base of teen angst, although there is still much to be told, so much has already been explored and discovered. It is important to continue to research this topic in more depth to get a better understanding of why changes in the brain influences behavior, but for now we can stick to what we do know. During this stage of life, the mind is very occupied, the body is preparing the individual for life on its own.

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