Decision Making, Impulse Control, and Cognitive Development

The Frontline episode “Inside the Teenage Brain” offers an important glimpse into how brain development and behavior are linked in adolescence. As you learned from the film, the brain’s neocortex and prefrontal cortex, which control reasoning and abstract thinking, do not fully develop until about age 25. Therefore, teens are making decisions before the parts of the brain that can think abstractly?and that consider consequences of behavior?are fully developed. Teens are primarily using the limbic system, which is the emotional part of the brain. It is no wonder, then, that adolescents’ impulse control is strained.

If you add this information to your knowledge of cognitive development theories, particularly those of Piaget and Vygotsky, you will have a basic understanding of adolescent cognitions and behavior.

To prepare for this assignment:
Review “Inside the Teenage Brain” and consider the impact of making decisions before the frontal lobe of the brain is fully developed. Think about how immature thinking abilities could contribute to delinquent behavior.
Review the film Harm’s Way: The Lessons of Youth Violence. Reflect on the anger evident in many of the depicted youth and think about how this anger affects their impulse control.
Review and compare (similarities and differences) Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories on cognitive development. Consider how each theory informs your understanding of adolescent decisionmaking and impulse control abilities.
Review the Steinberg & Scott (2003) article and consider adolescent cognitive abilities, decisionmaking skills, and juvenile delinquency.
Review the “Adolescent Brain Development & Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet” from the ACT 4 Juvenile Justice website. Think about how this information helps explain adolescent cognitive abilities.
Review the NCJJ website to research the juvenile codes/statutes in your state or locale. Evaluate whether there is any consideration of adolescent cognitive development in their composition.
The assignment (4?6 pages):
Analyze the similarities and differences between the Piaget and Vygotsky theories of cognitive development.
Evaluate the insights and/or conclusions you can make regarding adolescent cognitive development and possible links to delinquent behavior.
Evaluate and explain if adolescent cognitive development is reflected in the composition of juvenile codes and case law in your state or locale. Cite your resources.

Support your with specific references to a minimum of two resources provided.