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Adolescence in Today's Society: The brain, cognition and social development

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Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The brain has evolved to understand and interact with other people. We are increasingly learning more about the neurophysiological basis of social cognition and what is known as the social brain. In this talk I will focus on how the social brain develops during adolescence. Adolescence is a time characterised by change – hormonally, physically, psychologically and socially. Yet until recently this period of life was neglected by cognitive neuroscience. In the past decade, research has shown that the social brain develops both structurally and functionally during adolescence.

Dr John Coleman: In this talk I will take as my starting point the low level of understanding of adolescence that exists in society generally. I will argue that this is a serious problem that urgently needs addressing. I will consider some of the major influences on young people’s development, looking especially at the school and the family. I will outline some of the recent social changes which have had a profound impact on young people, and I will explore the way in which both biology and the social construction of adolescence can contribute to a better understanding of young people’s development.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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