Problems of Teenagers May Result From Poor Impulse Control

By Staff Writer

Teenagers are prone to making risky decisions. In many cases, this leads to substance abuse and addiction that requires treatment at a drug rehab program. A new study suggests that their propensity for dangerous choices may be linked to impulse control issues.

For the investigation, researchers from Temple University asked a group of participants ranging in age from 10 to 30 to play a computerized game that required them to solve problems that demanded planning and reasoning skills.

The results of these tests showed that younger participants showed signs of having just as strong reasoning skills as older individuals. However, they tended to act more quickly, at times making moves in the game before they had a chance to exercise their reasoning skills.

These findings could have important implications for the manner in which young people are treated in the criminal justice system, the researchers said. Additionally, this could contribute to an improved understanding of the adolescent brain, making it easier for educators to design more targeted lessons to their students.

Either way, the researchers said that their findings show that problem solving skills are not so much a matter of brain power, rather they are dependent on patience.