The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

by Frances E Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt

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Overview

A New York Times Bestseller

Renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen offers a revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers, dispelling myths and offering practical advice for teens, parents and teachers.

Dr. Frances E. Jensen is chair of the department of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. As a mother, teacher, researcher, clinician, and frequent lecturer to parents and teens, she is in a unique position to explain to readers the workings of the teen brain. In The Teenage Brain, Dr. Jensen brings to readers the astonishing findings that previously remained buried in academic journals.

The root myth scientists believed for years was that the adolescent brain was essentially an adult one, only with fewer miles on it. Over the last decade, however, the scientific community has learned that the teen years encompass vitally important stages of brain development.  Samples of some of the most recent findings include:

  • Teens are better learners than adults because their brain cells more readily "build" memories. But this heightened adaptability can be hijacked by addiction, and the adolescent brain can become addicted more strongly and for a longer duration than the adult brain.
  • Studies show that girls' brains are a full two years more mature than boys' brains in the mid-teens, possibly explaining differences seen in the classroom and in social behavior.
  • Adolescents may not be as resilient to the effects of drugs as we thought. Recent experimental and human studies show that the occasional use of marijuana, for instance, can cause lingering memory problems even days after smoking, and that long-term use of pot impacts later adulthood IQ.
  • Multi-tasking causes divided attention and has been shown to reduce learning ability in the teenage brain. Multi-tasking also has some addictive qualities, which may result in habitual short attention in teenagers.
  • Emotionally stressful situations may impact the adolescent more than it would affect the adult: stress can have permanent effects on mental health and can to lead to higher risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression.

Dr. Jensen gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain function, wiring, and capacity and explains the science in the contexts of everyday learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making.  In this groundbreaking yet accessible book, these findings also yield practical suggestions that will help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent development.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062067852
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 33,043
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Frances E. Jensen, MD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She was Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Translational Neuroscience and Director of Epilepsy Research at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Senior Neurologist at Boston Children’s and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. She lectures widely about the teen brain at science museums, TEDMED, and high schools.


Amy Ellis Nutt is a science journalist at the Washington Post and the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. Her most recent book is Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Introduction: Being Teen 1

1 Entering the Teen Years 14

2 Building a Brain 24

3 Under the Microscope 47

4 Learning: A Job for the Teen Brain 65

5 Sleep 86

6 Taking Risks 103

7 Tobacco 115

8 Alcohol 125

9 Pot 141

10 Hard-Core Drugs 159

11 Stress 170

12 Mental Illness 183

13 The Digital Invasion of the Teenage Brain 205

14 Gender Matters 226

15 Sports and Concussions 238

16 Crime and Punishment 254

17 Beyond Adolescence: It's Not Over Yet 278

Postscript: Final Thoughts 289

Acknowledgments 295

Glossary 297

Notes 301

Selected Bibliography 319

Resources 341

Index 343

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The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book and thought in was so insightful into how a teenager brain works that I bought more copies to give to my children. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of why a teenager does dangerous, stupid things.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago