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Developmental Brown Bag: Adolescent Neurodevelopment in a Social and Policy Context

Daniel Keating, Professor of Psychology

Keating Keating
Recent advances in the study of adolescent neurodevelopment have sparked both scientific and policy debates. “Drilling down” approaches have uncovered complexities within the “developmental maturity mismatch” (DMM) hypothesis that contrasts a rapidly developing, hyper-activated arousal/reward/incentive network and a more gradually developing prefrontal system. Current work focuses on integration across these networks, and with other circuits, challenging an overly simplistic “hot” system as a sole source of problematic risk behavior, and a “cold” system as the sole source of self-regulated behavior. “Ramping up” approaches take note of robust, convergent population findings evincing the similarity of key patterns: DMM (and its corollary of enhanced neuroplasticity up to about age 25 years); self-reported risk behavior (such as sensation seeking); and population level trends (such as the waxing and waning of behavioral misadventure, and the age-crime curve). The social and policy implications for adolescents of these developmental trajectories are profound: the excess mortality and morbidity resulting from health risk behavior/behavioral misadventure; justice system sanctions for juveniles, prominently in the Miller and Montgomery Supreme Court decisions regarding juvenile life without parole (JLWOP); early life and concurrent stress and adversity as they “get under the skin,” impacting a wide array of developmental health outcomes, including stress dysregulation, achievement, and mental and physical health. This talk focuses on the tension between convergent “ramping up” evidence and the drive for precision in neurodevelopmental models through “drilling down” – population science meets neuroscience – and how interpretations of that tension speak to choices in policy and prevention.
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When and Where

Map East Hall - 4464

March 2019

12:00pm - 1:00pm

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