Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brain Development

The brain is so incredibly complex and fascinating. How cool is it that our brain is constantly creating new pathways throughout our lives. Neuroplasticity is the a term that describes that ability to create new pathways and heal after trauma. Our environment and behavior have a strong influence on our brain's development.

As we learned in adolescent development, the average brain is not fully developed until the age of 25.

Our brain develops from the back to the front. The cerebellum, in the back, controls our motor movement, balance and muscle control. While the prefrontal cortex controls our inhibition, reaction to impulses, and the ability to plan and organize behavior. That's why it totally makes sense that a teenager will act impulsively, or selfish, and take risks that us older folk think is silly.

The amygdala is the cool part of our brain that controls our fight or flight instinct. I had a professor in grad school that referred to this area as your "lizard brain". She used to say that a good way to help others is to ask them if they are working from their lizard brain or from their frontal cortex. Are you reacting to react or are you thinking about how you react?

Click here for more on adolescent brain development

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