Brain Development (Biological)

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  • Pre-Adult brain development (biological)
    • The brain continues to change up until 25 yrs old.
    • Brain development is linked to behavioural development.
    • Brain imaging techniques allow us to see specific areas of the brain working while carrying out tasks.
    • Risk-taking behaviour of adolescents is seen as important in helping us understand why young adults are willing to take risks for what seems like little gain.
    • Brain Development
      • The development of the structure of the nervous system can be studied and correlated with the emergence of specific behaviours.
        • Due to individual differences this can be flawed as people can develop differently.
      • There appears to be a biological determinism of brain development
      • environmental influences can impact behaviour.
      • The inability to manipulate brain development restricts research as scientists can only observe.
      • Another method is studying brain development and behavioural development to compare brain abnormalities and behavioural disorders.
      • Brain plasticity in younger brains means brain damage to a young brain disrupts the organisation of the brain itself.
      • The brain can develop quicker during irregular periods of growth e.g. ages 2-4 and 6-8.
      • Grey and White Matter
        • volumes of grey matter tend to begin to decline around 6-7 years of age whereas
        • white matter volumes increase over the same time frame.
        • Grey matter is made up of nerve cell bodies and makes about 40% of the adult brain.
        • White matter is made up of neurons with long axons that carry messages to and from grey matter areas.

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