Are Risky Teens Really Just Horny Little Adults?

What's the matter with them today? A new study suggests that, contrary to popular opinion, the brains of risk-taking teens might be more mature and adult-like than those of teens who are less cool likely to engage in such behavior. It also raises the possibility that we might actually be evaluating risk-taking behavior through the prism of ageism.

If valid, the study has important implications for interpreting risk-taking in teens. It suggests that the brains of many teens who behave dangerously are maturing early: Reckless behavior might in fact be a sign of adultness. Some adults do risky things (speeding, drinking, having unprotected sex) quite commonly without causing great alarm. Automatically considering such behaviors to be more objectionable just because someone is young runs into what the researchers call in their paper “a conundrum of defining risk (or dangerousness) based not on the objective attributes of the activity but on the person engaging in them.”

Surely, none of you can relate to that, right?