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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: neuroscience

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January 16, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Teens’ brains are not fully wired but plenty capable of self-control

Illustration by Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

True or false: Adolescents’ brains aren’t wired for responsible behavior until they’re well into their 20s, so parents and teachers should give them a free pass.

False.

The idea that teenagers lack the ability to control their impulses is “Neuromyth #4″ on a list published online this month by the Dana Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes a greater public understanding of brain research.

Like most neuromyths that sometimes show up in education discussions, this one is based on a grain of truth — risky and impulsive behavior spikes during the teen years and subsides in early adulthood.

It’s also true that the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is associated with “executive” tasks such as controlling emotions, weighing risks, solving problems and making plans, isn’t fully wired until at least the mid-20s.

But it’s too simplistic to chalk up bad decisions in the teen years to immature frontal lobes.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: neuroscience, self-control

September 26, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Leading researchers to speak on neuroscience, learning disabilities

Most experts in brain science and education warn that the distance between the laboratory and the classroom is too vast for scientists to tell teachers how to do their jobs.

But that doesn’t mean neuroscience has nothing to contribute to education.

For example, neuroscientists and educators are working together to better understand biologically-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

They hope to find ways to diagnose those problems sooner and adjust teaching to eliminate or at least soften their impact.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Dyslexia, learning disabilities, neuroscience