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The adolescent brain and the seek for reward

“During adolescence there is an increase in the activity of the neural circuits utilizing dopamine, a neurotransmitter central in creating our drive for reward. Starting in adolescence and picking midway through, these enhanced dopamine release causes adolescents to gravitate toward thrilling experiences and exhilarating sensations. Research even suggests that the baseline level of dopamine is lower- ┬ábut its release in response to experience is higher - which can explain why teens may report a feeling of being "bored” unless they are engaging in some stimulating and novel activities. This enhanced natural dopamine release can give adolescents a powerful sense of being alive when they are engaged in life. It can also lead them to focus solely on the positive rewards they are sure are in store for them, while failing to notice or give value to the potential risks and downsides"(p.67)

Reference: Brainstorm by Dan Siegel, M.D.(2013) Penguin, New York

Posted 237 weeks ago