Brain and age have different development levels, so is your brain as good as your age?
Our brain doesn’t develop as many believe. It is complicated. A recent report by a Harvard neuroscientist, Leah H. Somerville while studying the complexities of brain came up with few theories to ascertain how brain works. So is your brain as good as your age?
In the recent years, Dr. Somervillehas developed a picture of thedeficiencies in the already drawn picture by the policy makers.
While talking about her experience during the research, Dr. Leah said, “Oftentimes, the very first question I get at the end of a presentation is, O.K., that’s all very nice, but when is the brain finished? When is it done developing? And I give a very non-satisfying answer.”
A normal human brain reaches its adult volume by the mere age of 10 years.
The neurons yet continue to change over the years. The connections between neighboring neurons get pruned back, as new links emerge between more widely separated areas of the brain.
A sign a brain’s maturing is when the reshaping slows down. The rate of reshaping is different in each part of the brain.
The pruning in the occipital lobe, at the back of the brain, tapers off by age 20. In the frontal lobe, in the front of the brain, new links are still forming at age 30, if not beyond.
With the change in brain’s structure, its activity changes as well. Neighboring regions tend to work together in a child’s brain whereas in adulthood, distant regions start acting in concert. As per the Neuroscientists, this long-distance harmony lets the adult brain work more efficiently and process more information.
Development of these networks is mysterious. Although, it is not clear how the behavior is influenced by that. Researchers have found that some children have neural networks that look as if they belong to an adult which is not true.
Research by Dr. Somerville focuses on how the changes in the maturing brain affect how people think.
If adolescents are feeling strong emotions, scores in their cognition tests can plummet. The problem seems to be that teenagers have not yet developed a strong brain system that keeps emotions under control.
According to a published study, That system may take a surprisingly long time to mature.
Researchers asked a group of 18- to 21-year-olds to lie in an MRI scanner and look at a monitor. They were instructed to press a button each time they were shown faces with a certain expression on them — happy in some trials, scared or neutral in others.
In some cases, the participants knew that they might hear a loud, jarring noise at the end of the trial.
In the trials without the noise, the subjects did just as well as people in their mid-20s. But when they were expecting the noise, they did worse on the test.
Brain scans revealed that the regions of their brains in which emotion is processed were unusually active, while areas dedicated to keeping those emotions under control were weak.
Dr. Laurence Steinberg who is a psychologist at Temple University agreed with Dr. Somerville that the maturing of the brain was proving to be a long, complicated process without obvious milestones. Nevertheless, he thinks recent studies hold some important lessons for policy makers.
“Sixteen-year-olds are just as good at logical reasoning as older people are,” Dr. Steinberg said.