Friday, 27 July 2012

Adolescent Male Brains

When I was still in academia, there was an elderly woman among the Lonerganians (devotees of the theologian-philosopher Bernard Lonergan, S.J.) who loved to show slides of the adolescent male brain. While he is driving a car, for example, the teenage boy has a lot of stuff going on in his brain that is not going on, necessarily, in the brain of a teenage girl driving a car.

So today when I was thinking about the erratic, moody, quixotic and downright confusing behaviour of some young men, it occurred to me to google "adolescent male brains."

And behold. And behold.

The point to take away, dear poppets, is that full adult brain development in men can be delayed into their mid-twenties.

This is not a value judgment. This is not man-bashing. (I dislike man-bashing on principle.) This is a statement of fact. And it is very interesting, both to students of epistemology and to women who love young men. It might be a comfort to young men, too, to know why they act and feel the way they do.

It also speaks to my sincere belief that we should not be marrying men under the age of 25 unless it is quite obvious that the frontal lobes of their brains have already fully connected.


Charming Disarray said...

I don't know why, but this makes me uncomfortable. It certainly seems to make sense considering a lot of the things I've seen, but on the other hand there are teenage boys and men in their twenties who can and do act like adults. It doesn't seem fair to lump all under-25 guys as hopelessly immature, and the ones who are mature often seem to be that way because of their circumstances, experience, and upbringing. I don't know the slightest thing about neuroscience or brains but I wonder if this is a cause and effect thing. Like, in different societies where men (and women, obviously) either needed or were expected to grow up faster, their brains developed sooner and wouldn't have shown the same results as more current research shows. To some extent, maybe men's brains are developing more slowly during those years because in too many cases so little is expected from them that their brains are just languishingly uselessly, possibly through no fault of their own but just owing to how society is.

Seraphic said...

I don't know why some frontal lobes connect faster than others. But I bet mine took an unusually long time. And it wasn't because I was terribly lazy or anything.

I don't know if you can blame anyone for their brains just not joining up on schedule. All you can do is surmise that theirs haven't and be patient, charitable and careful.

Seraphic said...

But yes society may be to blame.

Alisha said...

I agree with Charming Disarray. I really think it has to do with what you expect of your teens. If you have high expectations, and teach them to reason, reasoning capabilities will develop just like any other skill. They will be in the habit of thinking. Get your kids in the habit of thinking, I say.