4 out of 5 stars

The very nerve centre of the human body is the brain. Its input is our senses, the memory helps us to learn from mistakes and controls the reactions that are needed. For hundreds of years, the brain has been a mystery to all that studied it, but only in the past few decades have we begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities. Even that is unravelling; those that thought as puberty begun, the human brain was developed have been proved wrong. The brain continues to change and adapt all through the teenage years and into adulthood.

In this excellent book on why the teenage brain is different, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, professor in cognitive neuroscience at University College London takes us into the untidy spaces within their heads to share the latest details of what is going on. From her experiments that her team have in researching the brain we will learn about why they take risks, why some friendships can be so intense, why some behave badly and others won’t talk. This time of our lives is when we can enormously creative and also destructive, a lot of mental health issues raise their head for the first time ever in teenagers.

As the father of two teenage daughters and one almost teenage son, there are a lot of things that I can relate to that she talks about in here. The brain is at a critical point in its development in teenage years and is susceptible to all sort of external stresses. Some of these can be positive, but there are a lot that have negative implications. Like all good science books it makes you think and even though this is about our most complex organ, the prose sparkles with energy and is written with clarity. Well worth reading and a worthy winner of the Royal Science Award.


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