Adolecent dating research
Adolecent dating research - getting out there dating
The reason why most adolescent brain research hasn’t look at individual differences yet is partly because the field is only about 20 years-old, and new research areas need to start with the basics – the averages – before they attempt to understand the nuance. Brain imaging technology to date has not been good enough to map exactly how specific factors like peer relationships might affect brain development.
1 During adolescence, the body undergoes significant developmental changes, most notably puberty, the bodily changes of sexual maturation, and the formation of sexual identity. Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing: Levels and Trends in Developed Countries.
The kind of relationships that adolescents have with their classmates also affects brain activity.
Adolescents with a history of being bullied, for example, show different patterns of brain activation to certain social information – their brains appear to be more sensitive to the experience of being left out.
2 Achieving reproductive and sexual health requires more than preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, it includes developing the ability to form and maintain meaningful relationships with others and with one’s own body.
Psychological, social, educational, environmental, and economic factors, among others, all play a role.
From now on, adolescent brain research needs to give more attention to these important variations between teenagers – what is known in the field as “individual differences”.
Besides documenting that all teenagers are different, we also need to start understanding why this is the case.
If, for example, the way in which adolescents learn is dependent on their specific pattern of brain development, then educational strategies that are based on averages will only have limited use.
Similarly, advertising campaigns for things like sexual health, if based on the studies that are averaged across participants, will work for some adolescents but not others.
But the obvious cost is that these general findings don’t apply to everyone.
In a recent paper, my colleagues and I argue that this needs to change.
There’s just one problem with this: plenty of teenagers don’t fit the stereotypes.