WASHINGTON — Parents often complain that their teenagers just don’t listen.
Now, researchers are looking deeper into the adolescent brain.
Analysts from the University of Pittsburgh, University of California, Berkeley
and Harvard conducted brain
scans on 32 teens and preteens. They listened to 30-second sound clips of
the children’s mothers speaking with them about their messy rooms and leaving
things lying around.
Not surprisingly, the scans showed increased activity in areas of the brain
involved with negative emotions. The researchers also found reduced activity in
parts of the brain that help teenagers understand their guardian’s point of
In the study, the researchers focused on three particular networks in the
teenagers’ brains. They compared activity in those areas as the teens listened
to their mom’s criticism, to activity while their mothers spoke about mundane
things like grocery shopping.
The results were published in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience journal.