Sarah-Jayne Blakemore studies the social brain — the network of brain regions involved in understanding other people — and how it develops in adolescents.

Why you should listen

Remember being a teenager? Rocked internally with hormones, outwardly with social pressures, you sometimes wondered what was going on in your head. So does Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. And what she and others in her field are finding is: The adolescent brain really is different.

New brain imaging research and clever experiments are revealing how the cortex develops -- the executive part of the brain that handles things like planning, self-awareness, analysis of consequences and behavioral choices. It turns out that these regions develop more slowly during adolescence, and in fascinating ways that relate to risk-taking, peer pressure and learning.

Which leads to a bigger question: How can we better target education to speak to teenagers' growing, changing brains?

What others say

“Sarah-Jayne Blakemore emphasises that learning must be seen as a life-long process.” —

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

In Brief

Curing cancer one nanoparticle at a time, and more news from TED speakers

June 29, 2018

As usual, the TED community is hard at work — here are some highlights: A new drug-delivering nanoparticle. Paula Hammond, the head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT, is part of a research team that has developed a new nanoparticle designed to treat a kind of brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme. The nanoparticles […]

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You answer: What were you like as a teenager?

September 17, 2012

Teenagers can sometimes feel like a different species. According to neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who gave this fascinating talk at TEDGlobal 2012, this isn’t a coincidence. While 15 years ago it was assumed that brain development was completed in childhood, scientists now know that the brain continues to develop through a person’s 20s and 30s. The […]

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A close-up look at the adolescent brain: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at TEDGlobal2012

June 27, 2012

“Fifteen years ago, it was widely assumed that the vast majority of brain development takes place in the first few years of life,” says professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who heads up the Developmental Group at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. “Back then we didn’t have the ability to look inside the living human brain and track development […]

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