The teenage brain
Until recently, little was known about how the human brain develops. In the past 15 years, new technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have enabled us to gain insights into how the human brain changes across the lifespan. Research has demonstrated that brain development is much more protracted than previously thought, continuing in some regions throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Some parts of the brain undergo a period of reorganisation during the teenage years, both in terms of structure, function and related behaviour. These new insights into neurocognitive development suggest that adolescence is a period of profound change and opportunity.
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. She is Leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her group's research focuses on brain development in human adolescence. Sarah-Jayne studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and then did her PhD (1996-2000) at UCL, with Chris Frith and Daniel Wolpert, investigating the self-monitoring of action in healthy individuals and people with schizophrenia. Sarah-Jayne has an interest in the links between neuroscience and education. She co-authored a book with Uta Frith called The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education. Last year she was on the Royal Society BrainWaves working group for neuroscience, education and lifelong learning, and she is currently a member of the Royal Society Vision for Science and Mathematics Education Committee.
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