Evolutionary theories

Evolutionary models emphasise that though we may see some adolescent behaviours as destructive or ‘under-developed’, they actually reflect important adaptive qualities, and that successful intervention will rely on working with rather than against adolescent motivations. Adolescence is an important time in development, and during this period individuals face very specific challenges. In most species, adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, from pre-reproductive to reproductive, and individuals leave their parents to start new social groups. An individual’s resources are therefore re-oriented towards developing the physical and social competencies needed to successfully reproduce. Exploratory behaviours such as novelty-seeking and sensation-seeking are therefore important for promoting independence. Risk-taking tends to promote social status, and in animals, those that take more risks and bigger risks hold higher status, and are more likely to live longer and have more children.


Click on the topics below to find out more about the science in the film.

Sleep      ***      Hormonal Changes      ***      Prefrontal Changes
Inhibitory Control      ***      Mental Time Travel      ***      Limbic Changes
Sensation Seeking       ***       Risk taking       ***       Social Development
Theories of Adolescence      ***     Evolution      ***      Mental Health
Neuroconstructivism      ***     Educational Neuroscience


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