Applied Psychology - Risk-taking in Adolescence

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What is the ventral striatum?
It controls decision-making and rewards addiction.
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What is the limbic system?
It regulates emotions and behaviour.
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What is the pre-frontal cortex?
It regulates planning, decision-making, judgement and problem-solving.
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How might the order of brain maturation impact risk-taking?
The ventral striatum and limbic system mature before the pre-frontal cortex.
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What biological changes in adolescence impact risk-taking behaviour?
Adolescent brains are still developing - there is a peak volume of grey matter and synaptic pruning occurs. There is also an increase in hormones because of puberty.
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What environmental changes in adolescence impact risk-taking behaviour?
Moving schools, exams and school stress, introduction to work, care for younger siblings, newfound independence and social struggles can lead to risky behaviour.
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How might risk-taking in adolescence be positive?
This may be an adaptive time as adolescents are at a time of heightened risk but great opportunity for developing new strengths and independence.
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What are the basics of Barkley-Levenson's study?
A = Whether teens attach more value to reward than adults do (neural/behavioural). Each ppts was given $20 and carried out a gambling task; fMRI was used to observe neural activation.
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What do we find through Barkley-Levenson's study?
Behavioural = High EV had a larger impact on teens. Low EV meant teens/adults acted the same. Neural = activity in the VS when given a gamble with high EV.
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What debates are linked to the risk-taking topic?
Nature/Nurture. Determinism/Freewill. Usefulness. Psych as a science.
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What is the GDL?
Since statistically adolescents are more likely to die/be involved in a car accident, restrictions have been put in place to try and help limit this. (Steinberg = education does not work; there needs to be a practical intervention.)
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What is synaptic pruning?
In early brain development, synaptic connections are made (skills). In adolescent brain development, synaptic pruning occurs until early/mid-20s; connections/skills that are not used are eliminated and the ones that are used are strengthened.
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How does this research make a contribution to the economy?
Adolescents are more likely to be profited from (insurance is higher, etc.) because of the consequences of their risk-taking. Loss of life and the damage of property can be detrimental to the economy.
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What is the limbic system?

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It regulates emotions and behaviour.

Card 3

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What is the pre-frontal cortex?

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Card 4

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How might the order of brain maturation impact risk-taking?

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Card 5

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What biological changes in adolescence impact risk-taking behaviour?

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