What Successful Adolescents Can Teach Us about Psychopathy and Stress
An adolescent’s brain is a complex biological machine with distinct but interrelated neurological functions. Even more confounding, different aspects of an adolescent’s brain may need help at different stages of his/her life. When an adolescent’s brain fails to grasp aspects of everyday life — such as the ability to read a small change in a large headline — the result is either:
a) a fear of reading or
b) a fear of speaking or making changes in their speech patterns, thanks to their (adolescent) unique biological and neurological dysfunctions.
It is not unusual, the authors note, for individuals to regress in their childhood years, either over fears of being bullied or due to dyslexia. Sometimes an adolescent experiences a regression in their intellectual level in response to the many cognitive, emotional, and linguistic problems experienced in childhood, such as ADHD, autism, aversions to speech, and other developmental disorders.
And speaking of poor speech …
For the senior period, a relatively smaller child will have a more difficult time learning more complex cognitive skills like focusing, with the result that their high school graduation and test results may be even worse than those of their younger peers. According to this study, the differences in the brain development of an adolescent may be of up to 5% of their full lifetime performance performance.
Online, the researchers found adolescents who were encouraged to join sports teams experienced better learning abilities in standardized tests, but only up to age 18. There was no effect on test performance from participation in age groups 17 to 18 or older, the authors concluded.
“When we look at the average performance of adolescent athletes, they are well above average,” lead researcher Jane B. Ostermiller said in a statement. “We hypothesize that they have some cognitive advantages that continue in the adolescent years.
The gold standard of study on athletic performance by all accounts is the so-called “Carnegie Effect,” named after the study by two medical students at the University of Pittsburgh called “College athletes score better than high school athletes.”
“We have published 75 published papers on this, with scores ranging from 290 for football to 1,014 for basketball,” Ostermiller said.
And “there is also a high body of literature — maybe 80 papers or more — that found that by age 5, the average young athlete is already a good enough sprinter to pass the state or national level of competition,” she continued.
Another strong vein of research, covering the 35 years between 1958 and 1993, was also present in this report: How Well Athletes Learn to Recognize Looks?
“There is another major area of interest for me, the nature of function differences in adolescents,” the Stanford researchers wrote in their report. “They are particularly interesting, as they concern all of the other neuroendocrine systems, such as the microbiome or cortisol.”