The Social Brain in Adolescence
The brain has evolved to understand and interact with other people. This talk focuses on how the social brain, that is the network of brain regions involved in understanding others, develops during adolescence. Adolescence is a time characterised by change - hormonally, physically, psychologically and socially. Yet until fairly recently, this period of life was neglected by neuroscience. In the past decade, research has shown that the brain develops both structurally and functionally during adolescence. Large-scale structural brain imaging studies have demonstrated development during adolescence in white matter and grey matter volumes in regions within the social brain. Activity in some social brain regions also shows changes between adolescence and adulthood during social cognition tasks. Evidence from behavioural studies suggests that the ability to take another person’s perspective is still developing late in adolescence. Together these studies reveal that the social brain undergoes profound transition during human adolescence.