Underdeveloped brains and slow maturation of the cognitive-control system are to blame for adolescents' propensity towards risky behavior, a study published by the Washington-based Association for Psychological Science argues.
Because risky behavior is neurologically based, educational initiatives designed to discourage risk-taking behavior in teenagers are largely ineffective, according to the study. Rather, raising the price of cigarettes, enforcing alcohol-purchasing laws, expanding access to contraceptives, and raising the driving age are more effective ways of controlling such behavior, the report suggests. Laurence Steinberg, the author of the report and a psychology professor at Temple University, in Philadelphia, reviewed more than 10 years of research for the study.
An article about the report appears in the April issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.