Teens fail to see the consequences of their actions


Regular Member
Reaction score
mushroom forest
This may account for the rash of illogical violence these days?c.
although, when I was a teen, I knew the consequences of my actions, so it must mean that these teens these days aren't brought up proper.... LOL

Teenagers fail to see the consequences
• 04 December 2004
• Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
• Helen Phillips
Juveniles may find it harder than adults to foresee the consequences of their actions. The finding may explain why teenagers act compulsively and take more risks. It has been seized on by campaigners who want to ban the death penalty for under-18s in the US.
We know teenagers can be a bit gawky while they are still learning to coordinate their bodies, says Abigail Baird, a cognitive scientist from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, US. ?gWe mustn?ft forget that cognition is doing the same.?h Teenagers take more risks, because they do not foresee the consequences as adults do, she says.
Several bodies, including the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, have submitted evidence in a test case before the US Supreme Court arguing against the death penalty for juveniles, and including some of Baird?fs ideas. While 31 states ban the execution of juvenile offenders, 23 under-18s have been executed to date, more than half of them in Texas.
The test case concerns Christopher Simmons, who was sentenced to death for a murder he committed when he was 17. In August 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned his sentence on the grounds that it violated the Eighth Amendment?fs ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In July 2004, Simmons?fs lawyers asked the US Supreme Court to uphold the lower court?fs decision.
Swimming with sharks
In Baird?fs experiment, carried out with colleague Jonathan Fugelsang, teenagers and adults were shown scenarios on a computer screen, such as eating a salad or swimming with sharks. The subjects had to judge whether each was safe or dangerous. Both groups took longer to decide a scenario was dangerous, but this difference was greater in teenagers. Adults took 1.6 seconds longer to reach a decision while teenagers took 1.75 seconds more.
Brain scans taken during the test show that the prefrontal cortex was more active in the teens, suggesting they were making a greater effort to judge the results of each situation. The adults had more basal ganglia activity, pointing to a more automatic response, Baird told a meeting on Law and the Brain at the Institute of Advanced Legal studies, part of University College London, UK, this week.
In light of Baird?fs studies, US district judge Morris Hoffman from Colorado described two cases he had presided over involving a 16 and a 17-year-old, both had received mandatory life sentences for killing with no opportunity for parole. ?gI ask myself, should our responses have been different??h he says, ?gI?fm embarrassed to say that I?fm not sure I know.?h
Although the Simmons case specifically addresses under-18s, Baird says there is a grey area in the late teens to early 20s. There can be big disagreements about how mature, say, an 18 to 21-year-old is. ?gThere is no way to know where a kid falls on this chart,?h she says.
Journal reference: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (vol 359, p 1659)
Related Articles
• Indian teens have world's highest suicide rate
• 02 April 2004

• Teen brains show low motivation
• 25 February 2004

• Teen angst rooted in busy brain
• 16 October 2002

Web Links
• Abigail Baird, Dartmouth College
• Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London
• Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
Why does it not surprise me, that the cognitive motion of a teen's mind is different than that of an adult. The funny thing for me is, when I was a teenager I wasn't outta control, didn't do drugs or have pre-martial sex.

Yet, all the ones I know, are absolutely horrible. I think, alot of it still has to do with the pop culture they absorb. Being a teen means, fitting in and be noticed, so it's quite apparent that they want to get noticed.
Ah, how history repeats itself. Here you guys are, not even out of your twenties yet, saying how all teenagers are bad "these days". People have been saying that forever and will continue to for the rest of time. It just comes from being disconnected with being a teen and getting all your information about them from the news or some other source rather than getting it first hand when you were a teen. There are plenty of teens now who are very well behaved, but they're not the ones making news and getting attention. It's just funny to me how this kind of thinking is so self-perpetuating.

This thread has been viewed 6428 times.