Home » Our News » Teenage Brain Lacks Empathy

Teenage Brain Lacks Empathy
16 September 2008

Area of brain associated with higher-level thinking underused in youth

If you ever sense teenagers are not taking your feelings into account, it's probably because they're just incapable of doing so.

The area of the brain associated with higher-level thinking, empathy, and guilt is underused by teenagers, reports a new study. When considering an action, the teenage medial prefrontal cortex, located in front of the brain, doesn't get as much action as adults.

"Thinking strategies change with age," said Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.  "As you get older you use more or less the same brain network to make decisions about your actions as you did when you were a teenager, but the crucial difference is that the distribution of that brain activity shifts from the back of the brain (when you are a teenager) to the front (when you are an adult)."