Brain Science (精神科学)

Brain science studies the architecture of our brain and maps it against the function of each neuron. Brain scientists use technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see how the brain works, and help them understand how neurons respond to stimuli.

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Neurons are related to learning. They hold the secrets of the mind. Neurons communicate with the body and strike “conversations” all over the brain. Their job is to coordinate ideas, feelings, and thoughts. They work at a very high speed which is why we find adolescents are quite fast in their actions and reactions. This helps us to understand that adolescents are fast learners and the impact of the environment around them is deep on their brains.

Hence, we can see that adolescents growing in troubled families under abusive parenting learn to abuse verbally and physically. The converse is true. Adolescents growing in nurturing and empowering families learn to empathize, connect and engage in more prosocial ways.

At the same time, experts have compared MRI scans of adolescents and adults, and what they found were how cognitive development does not happen at the same time with emotional development in adolescents. Both the cognitive and emotional developments are not parallel in the physical maturation rates, specifically in the brain.

When the images of adults’ brain were taken in the condition of fear, both the limbic area of the brain – emotion centre, and the prefrontal cortex – judgment and reasoning centre, were equally enhanced. Meanwhile in the adolescents’ brain, the same images displayed the limbic area enhanced, with prefrontal cortex showing no activity. This suggests early development of emotions.

As a result, there is this what I call the “clash of the mind and heart” phenomenon during the adolescence period.

The “clash” is a natural part of our growing up, and it is very challenging to go through it, especially for parents. You can imagine both the limbic and the prefrontal cortex area of the brain are equally enhanced on the MRI scanners for the parents, when they see their teenager jumping off a ledge almost two-storey high, as part of a parkour maneuver. However, this was something that the adolescent gladly take on for fun and maybe even to challenge himself on more difficult obstacles subsequently.

Despite discouraging the child umpteen times to take on less risky sports or activities, amongst many other strategies used and tried, parents grow more anxious and fearful each passing day.

Here comes the ultimate, the more parents inform the child of all the possible consequences, with every available information – the pros and cons, the less likely the child would inch.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

It seemed like a losing battle right from the outset. This is the “clash” I am talking about. And to make a claim that this is a natural part of growing up, might be unsettling from some parents. This seemed like every effort made is going to be futile.

Let me put it out there now, it is not futile at all. In fact, it is only the beginning.

For now, know for a fact that there is nothing personal when a “clash” happens. However, it usually takes the parents to know that different parts of the adolescent’s brain are receiving and learning the information. It is less likely for the adolescent to know and appreciate this fact.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Therefore, a parent wants to undertake a different strategy to communicate or engage with the adolescent more effectively. To expect the child to modify her strategy to communicate with the parent is unrealistic, unless, it has been repeatedly taught and practiced.

It has to be a strategy that is typically not used by an adult. Yes, you read that correct! Typically Not Used By An Adult.

Otherwise, learning and receiving of the message from the adult would not be understood effectively. If you like to know more, you can read my flipbook, or purchase the full book here.

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