Teenage dating web site
It was already known that an earlier growth of grey matter in the womb was followed by a pruning back in the first few years of life.
Now it became apparent that there was a second wave of growth and pruning during and after puberty.
Brooding, bad-tempered adolescents have often been forgiven because their bodies are going through the dramatic shift from immature child to sexually potent adult.
But can this physical change brought on by a surge in sex hormones really explain, and perhaps forgive, the aberrant behaviour of teenagers? "In looking at teenager behaviour, you not only have to deal with hormonal changes and changes in social life, you also have to take into account changes within the brain," says Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, who studies teenage brain development.
This re-shaping of the brain's connections mirrors an earlier occurrence of "synaptic pruning" in the first few years of life and is considered a critical part of intellectual maturity.
Of course teenage angst is not the only feature of adolescent brain development.
Teenagers are not very good at this, or at least they seem to be not very good. When taking part in psychological tests young teenagers are notoriously bad at detecting fear in the faces of others. In early adolescence, teenagers use a part of the brain called the amygdala to interpret fear in a facial expression.Even more interesting was the discovery that this was focussed primarily on the brain's pre-frontal cortex, the part of the outer cortex responsible for "higher" functions such as decision-making, planning, the control of emotions, empathy and the understanding of other people's facial expressions.This provided one of the first clues that could explain the physical changes that might be behind some typical teenage behaviour.Defending the Earth has become a mundane chore, and she would rather do more exciting things like go to high school and be allowed to drive the family car.My Life as a Teenage Robot, a spin-off from Nickelodeon's hit Oh Yeah!