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The Adolescent Brain: What’s Going on in There? October 12, 2012 Nebraska Association for Middle Level Education Google Images.

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Presentation on theme: "The Adolescent Brain: What’s Going on in There? October 12, 2012 Nebraska Association for Middle Level Education Google Images."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Adolescent Brain: What’s Going on in There? October 12, 2012 Nebraska Association for Middle Level Education Google Images

2 30 seconds: Fill the box with words to describe adolescents.

3 ZITS by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman

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5 How the Brain Works

6 Tan’s Brain

7 How do we know what we know about the adolescent brain? Dr. Jay GieddPhineas Gage These two men have played key roles…

8 Google image source : Phineas Gage Image source: Smithsonian magazine, January 2010

9 Google image source: Phineas Gage: September 1848 Age 26 Died: 1861

10 Before the accident… After the accident… Hard-working Respected Personable Efficient Effective Responsible Unreliable Irrational Impulsive Disagreeable Difficult to get along with Overly emotional Indecisive Foul-mouthed Anti-social Irresponsible

11 Plan for the future Make decisions Control impulses Assess riskSet goals & priorities Make sound judgments Reason Plan & organize multiple tasks Control emotions The Frontal Lobes

12 What could the story of Phineas Gage possibly have to do with the adolescent brain? Image source: Smithsonian magazine, January 2010

13 Dr. Jay Giedd PET Scan CT Scan MRI fMRI DTI Google image source: Brain Imaging Technologies

14 A thickening of the brain’s gray matter… caused by an overproduction of connections between neurons Exuberance… Pruning… Google image source: A systematic pruning away of unused connections … between neurons

15 Myelination… …the developmental process in which neurons are coated with a fatty, waxy substance… that insulates and speeds signals as they pass through one brain cell and on to another… Myelin sheath

16 Plan for the future Make decisions Control impulses Assess riskSet goals & priorities Make sound judgments Reason Plan & organize multiple tasks Control emotions The Frontal Lobes

17 is the act of making and strengthening connections between neurons… LEARNING …

18 …and adolescence is a critical window of opportunity for this “sculpting” of brains!

19 The brains of adolescents are fundamentally different from the brains of children and of adults. Exuberance Pruning Myelination

20 Sleep: Many adolescents… struggle to get up in the morning claim they’re not tired at bedtime sleep late & nap on weekends go to school each day in a “fog” struggle to concentrate in early morning classes have difficulty remembering the content in early classes feel drowsy & irritable by mid-afternoon

21 So… Just how much sleep do adolescents need? Permission granted: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, hours

22 What do we know about adolescent sleep patterns? They are regulated by “circadian rhythms.” (the brain’s natural “body clock”) They differ from those of younger children and those of adults. The circadian rhythms of adolescents “program” them to stay awake later into the night, and to wake-up later into the morning. Microsoft Office Clip Art, 2011

23 Why does this matter? Without adequate sleep, adolescents… have a more difficult time holding a focus on the task at hand (class activities & lessons) have more difficulty in thinking creatively and solving problems are more prone to errors are more irritable; less patient may be more impulsive engage in more risky behaviors

24 Why does this matter? Without adequate sleep, adolescents… iCLIPART for Schools, 2011 miss out on the consolidation of learning that takes place during sleep CONSOLIDATION: a complex brain process that occurs during specific phases of sleep (REM Sleep- Rapid Eye Movement); the continued processing of information and experiences that occurred throughout the day, while the body and brain are asleep; processing that facilitates the transfer of short term memories- into the long term memory system within the brain, allowing for retrieval later on

25 Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Brain’s Natural Reward Center VTA, Dopamine

26 Research suggests that adolescents… become addicted more strongly… have a more difficult time quitting… are more susceptible to “drug-cue associations”… are more susceptible to relapse, once they have quit…

27 What about multitasking? The Cocktail Party Effect Toggling (task-switching) Quality decreases on both (or all) tasks attempted Time to complete tasks increases when attempting to multitask Paying “continuous partial attention” In some situations, multitasking is dangerous!

28 Risk-Taking: Adolescents… are “hard-wired to take risks (as are all humans) are highly sensitive to rewards associated with risk tend to be more impulsive than most adults weigh the benefits more heavily than the risks often overestimate the risk in a given situation often think too rationally when it comes to risk

29 Fundamental Differences Multi-tasking (?) Exposure to violence… media & video games Screen-time… Immediacy- fast-paced world- constant connectivity, social- networking- reduced face- to-face communication

30 What IS going on inside the adolescent brain? the better able we’ll be to understand our students, and to design learning opportunities that meet the needs of their still-developing brains. And the more knowledgeable educators become… Exuberance Pruning Myelination Circadian Rhythms Effects of technology Dopamine Hyper-sensitivity to rewards Phase Delay Effects of violence in media Emotional System Autonomy

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32 Julie Crotty Thanks for attending!


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