Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED


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What were you like as a teenager?

At TEDGlobal 2012 Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explained her research, which shows that the human brain doesn't stop developing in childhood — but continues changing throughout adolescence. In other words: the teenage brain is actually different from the adult brain. In your teens, the prefrontal cortex — the area of the brain involved in decision-making, planning, social interaction and self-awareness — is still developing, making teens more prone to both risk-taking and embarrassment.

This research certainly makes my teenage years make a lot more sense. And it got me thinking — what were YOU like as a teenager? How did you dress, what did you listen to, and how did you relate to adults? What's a decision you made then that you would never make now?

Answer here, and you may well see your answer on the TED Blog on Monday.

And read more about Blakemore's work here:


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    Sep 15 2012: As a teenager I thought adults were dumb and boring; I argued with my parents almost everyday. I thought I've got the world all figured out.
    My thoughts of love were shaped by the lyrics of Westlife, Spice Girls, BoysIImen, Backstreet Boys, and Celine Dion.
    I was curious about girls.
    I read philosophy books, wrote love songs and short stories, and loved the piano.
    I was sure that I will be in the film/media industry; but I just had the exaggerated impression of my talent, and underestimated the hard work and persistence that would be needed.
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      Sep 15 2012: Good one! Especially the first one, I still got that feeling sometimes... Guess I haven't grown up yet.
  • Sep 15 2012: The world was just opening up to me. I was a nerd, athlete and thought teachers were the greatest people. IQ test revealed 168 in the 9th grade hid it and just tried to fit in with (what I thought) was the cool group. Overall High School was great. Now I like to take walks and have talks with my kids to find out who they are and where their at in their thoughts on social issues.
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    Sep 15 2012: Aha memories.

    Once I read your question I went to the storage cave and got out some of my stone carvings of my school days. My graduation loin cloth and my ole trusty hunting club.

    Those were the days.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Sep 15 2012: rofl

      Welcome to the 21st century, Bob.
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        Sep 15 2012: What is so great about the 21st century. I got busted for clubbing a wild beast and dragging it home to feed the family. The farmer wants paid for his cow.
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    Sep 15 2012: Unhappy !!
  • Sep 15 2012: I'm only just a teenager now, but you can say I'm an obsessive computer/math nerd with rarely any need for social aspects in life.
  • Sep 15 2012: Wait I'm still an child.
  • Sep 15 2012: Troublemaker...
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    Sep 14 2012: I wore the then ubiquitous outfit of t-shirt or tie-dye and jeans, very long hair, bare feet, rock 'n roll and oldies. Youth at that time embraced comfortable and casual. My hair is shorter now but anyone would recognize me, as my current choices are not so different.

    There were physical risks I took then of various kinds that I would no longer take once I had children who were dependent on me to be safe and in one piece.

    I was wary of some but not all adults, specifically those with big and irrational tempers that seemed to consume them. I remain wary of the same sorts of people.
    I was independent minded then and now.
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    Sep 14 2012: When I was a teenager, I needed a lot of attention. This meant having bright blue hair and wearing the most outlandish things I could find -- bonus points if it was sparkly. I once found a very '80s wedding dress in a thrift shop ... and wore it to school. It definitely took me until my 20s to realized I shined for being an interesting, smart, kind person rather than becoming a caricature.
  • Sep 14 2012: Well, as a teenager I was quite a guy.

    I had no idea how brain works, all I wanted to know is how I could influence other and their decisions to sell my stuff to them. this means, I was a salesperson since I was quite young. I dressed classic most of the time, looked like a professional salesperson. I wish I could make that fearless decisions now too...

    the older I got things got widen up and the risk got higher too, so there the BRAIN started to work to make calculated decisions... this led me to be (in my early 20s) the guy in blue jeans who was investing in property market.

    then the brain start to pursue the happiness!

    I call the Evolution of Brain, it happens every 5 years
    and I started to study Behavioural and Influential Psychology to find out more about power and flexibility of human capacity and its vulnerability.