Book Details

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PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award - Longlisted

About the Book

Renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen offers a revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers, dispelling myths and offering practical advice for teens, parents and teachers.

Dr. Frances E. Jensen is chair of the department of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and an internationally known expert in neurology and the teenage brain. As a mother, teacher, researcher, clinician and frequent lecturer to parents and teens, she is in a unique position to explain to readers the mystery and magic of the teen brain. In The Teenage Brain, Dr. Jensen will bring to readers the new, sometimes astonishing findings that remain buried in academic journals. Along the way, she will explore a few myths about adolescent behaviour and offer pointers and practical suggestions on how to negotiate this difficult and dynamic life stage for parents, teachers and even teens themselves.

The Teenage Brain is one of the first books to focus exclusively on the mind development of adolescents and will dispel the many widespread misunderstandings about teenage brains. Samples of some of the most recent findings that will be discussed in the book include:

  • Teens are better learners than adults because their brain cells more readily "build" memories than adults. But this special gift has a downside: their heightened adaptability can be hijacked by addiction, and the adolescent brain can become addicted more strongly and for a longer duration than the adult brain.
  • Venus and Mars really emerge in adolescence. In fact, studies show that girls' brains are a full two years more mature than boys' brains in the mid-teens, possibly explaining differences seen in the classroom, as well as in their social behaviour.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, adolescents may not be as resilient to the effects of drugs as we think they are. Recent experimental and human studies show that occasional use of marijuana, for instance, can cause lingering memory problems, even days after smoking, and that long-term use of pot impacts later adulthood IQ.
  • Multi-tasking causes divided attention and has been shown to reduce learning ability in the teenage brain. Multi-tasking also has some addictive qualities, which may result in habitual short attention in teenagers.
  • Emotionally stressful situations may impact the adolescent more than the adult: stress in these years can have permanent effects on mental health and has been reported to lead to higher risk of developing certain neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression.

The book will present hard data intermingled with accessible and relatable anecdotes drawn from Dr. Jensen's experiences as a parent, clinician and public speaker. Finally, The Teenage Brain will offer practical suggestions for how parents, teens, schools and even the legal system can better deal with adolescents on their journey into adulthood.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Why’s your child so self-absorbed? Give him time, writes neurologist Jensen: Empathy comes with age.” —Good Housekeeping

“This well-written, accessible work surveys recent research into the adolescent brain, a subject relatively unexplored until just this past decade. . . . Speaking as one parent to another, she offers support and a way for parents to understand and relate to their own soon-to-be-adult offspring.” —Publishers Weekly

“A captivating chapter, ‘The Digital Invasion of the Teenage Brain,’ calls attention to computer craving and adolescent addiction to the Internet. . . . [A] sensible, scientific, and stimulating book.” —Booklist

“A valuable resource for parents, youth workers, educators, and anyone involved with teens in any way. The book is engaging, understandable, and extremely informative.” —New York Journal of Books

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443406222
  • ISBN 10: 1443406228
  • Imprint: Collins
  • On Sale: 01/06/2015
  • Pages: 384
  • List Price: 32.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: PSYCHOLOGY / General

The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt

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